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imperialism & war

Why There's No Strategy to End This War

My local town of Eureka in northwest California had a pretty good peace rally on March 18, to mark the third anniversary of the U.S. attack on Iraq. They've put them on every year, including a big one just before the war started. It was a total local affair. An ad hoc group called Communities for Peace worked for eight weeks and, with the help of Veterans for Peace, pulled 2,000 people into the municipal auditorium on F street. There were plenty of young people and the crowd sat a bit restlessly through three speeches before hitting the streets. There were four marching bands.
They headed down to the square in Old Town, next to the rehabbed waterfront, where your CounterPunch co-editor was the designated final speaker. I cheered them all up by telling them no one present should ever look in the mirror and tell themselves they're not smart enough to run the country. They are. The country is being run by morons.

I read out some of the more spectacular moron predictions from 2003, finishing up with Chris Mathews on MSNBC: "We're all neo-cons now." and Vanity Fair's answer to Clausewitz, Christopher Hitchens: "This will be no war -- there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention.... The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling.... It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on."

I told them that two out of three Americans now opposed the war in contrast to maybe one out of 100 elected politicians. The problem is not in the heartland. The problem is at the national level. As popular opposition to the war across the country has mounted, the demonstrations have got smaller! There is no visible national strategy to end the war and bring the troops home. I attribute this in considerable part to the disastrous fealty of the leadership of some of the big organizations to the Democrats. This explains why United for Peace and Justice, for example, was missing in action for most of 2004. It didn't want to rock the Kerry boat, even as Captain Kerry was drilling holes in its hull.

Defenders of UPFJ said it register an antiwar presence at the Democratic convention in Boston, and anyway, it couldn't get too far ahead of the general mood of its base, which of course raises the question of how much of a left exists in the country these days. As your CounterPunch editors pointed out last week, If it wasn't for Cindy Sheehan and Jack Murtha the antiwar movement in this country would have all but disappeared as a presence on the national political agenda, from the late summer of 2005 on.

Even while I was speaking, the weekend news shows were detailing the latest attack plan of the Congressional Democrats. It's called "Real Security". And no, "security" here doesn't mean a living wage, a pension, a health plan, and no Stop Loss order for your kid to stay in Iraq. It means guns and cops and lots of flag-wagging.

"Real Security" calls for Democrats to hinge the 2006 fall campaign on how the Republicans have failed us on the issue of national security. Harry Reid says Democrats should wrap themselves in the flag, use tanks as backdrop and then try to outflank the Republicans from the right with demands for increased military funding, a better fought war, tighter borders, and ports run by white American-born Christians, preferably free of radical organizers from the ILWU.

As reported in the Washington Times, Reid's strategy memo advises: "Ensure that you have the proper U.S. and state flags at the event, and consider finding someone to sing the national anthem and lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the event." Next up was Joe Biden, standing between two gold-fringed flags, and probably with Old Glory underwear, telling the press that " to the extent that Bush fails in Iraq, American interests are seriously damaged, and I'm rooting for his success, not his failure." This is the man who explained his 30-minute opening speech at the Alito hearings by saying he wanted to put the nominee at his ease.

So what are we looking down the road towards, across the next year or two? A bunch of national Democrats like Hillary Clinton screaming about illegal immigrants and voting for funding for a wall running from Corpus Christi to San Diego, staffed by Israeli death squads. If the war gets mentioned at all, it'll be back to the old winning Kerry formula: We'll fight it better. They'll be drawing up Patriot Act 3, plus new national ID cards and street cameras on every street corner, just like they're installing in the UK.

Faced with this sort of challenge the Republicans will probably win again. Good luck to them. Who wants Democrats to get in, just to run a better police state, the way Blair and New Labor have in Britain where, last time I looked, the government was planning to gas every badger, from Lands End to Cape Wrath.

Who wants Democrats to get in, to run a "better" Empire? In the Bush years , Latin America is seeing a new dawn, with Hugo Chavez publicly deriding our Commander in Chief as a drunk and sending cheap heating oil to the poor in the North East. In the Bush years two professors, from the University of Chicago and the Kennedy School (which is now rapidly distancing itself), have published a 80-page paper outlining exactly why slavish deference to the Israel lobby is hurting America. I don't think that would have happened in Clinton time.

A couple of days after the Eureka rally I heard from David Simpson who, with his wife Jane Lapiner, was one of the organizers, that there'd been some grumbling from Democrats in the march at my attack on the ghastly performance of their party. They evidently felt that I should have held my tongue out of respect for unity that day. But how can one possibly avoid commenting on the elephant in the room, namely the fact that there is no credible opposition in Washington! The Democrats in Congress have caved on everything. They caved on the war, on immigration, on trade, on the Patriot Act, on the NSA eavesdropping program, on the bankruptcy laws, on Roberts and on Alito, and most recently on Feingold's motion of censure of Bush, a president who's using the Bill of Rights to clean up after his dog.

That doesn't mean there aren't Democrats in every county (or at least those counties where the Democrats still exist) fighting the good fight. David Simpson described going that same weekend to a hall in Ferndale, 15 miles down the road from Eureka, where Mike Thompson, our local US rep for California's first congressional district, was having a meeting with Humboldt county constituents. Thompson was arrogant and impatient with critics from his left. When someone asked what the Democrats were offering by way of a program for the fall campaign, Thompson said brusquely, We're working on that. Then a fellow got up and said that Democrats of Humboldt country were working on a program to, and ticked off a pretty radical list, starting with demands for impeachment.

The trouble is that there's no earthly prospect of such a program getting any traction inside the Democratic Party. It's as if some Prussian regional branch of the NSDAP in 1938 kept virtuously passing motions calling on the national party to condemn anti-Semitism and forswear territorial expansion. The Humboldt Dems can pass terrific resolutions and draw up wonderful plans and Rahm Emanuel will throw them in the trash, along with all the advisories from Howard Dean. Look at what they did to Christine Cegelis in Illinois, who narrowly lost last week in the sixth congressional district primary to Tammy Duckworth, parachuted into the district by Emanuel.

In the First District here Thompson is immune to pressure from the left. As he comfortably informed his Ferndale audience, Karl Rove could give his opponent a million dollars and it would make no difference.

The national Democratic Party long since abandoned even the pretense that the quadrennial national party convention is there to formulate a party platform responsive to the demands and programs of the party's base membership. Any talk about resuscitating the Democratic Party has to address this issue.

Just look ahead. Russ Feingold will make a great showing in the early primaries, then get creamed by the Democratic machine. He'll give a powerful speech at the convention, pledging allegiance to the candidate. And what will that candidate be pledging? Here's a omen: "Let's be clear about the threat we face now. A nuclear Iran is a danger to Israel, to its neighbors and beyond. The regime's pro-terrorist, anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric only underscores the urgency of the threat it poses. U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot and should not-must not-permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons." Yup, HRC, the same woman - as Justin Raimondo recently reminded us -- who told Bill to bomb Belgrade, shouting at him down the phone, "What do we have NATO for if not to defend our way of life?"

Rosanne Cash on the War

'Compounding the problem was her public opposition to the war in Iraq, which angered many of her father's admirers. "I got so much hate mail," Rosanne Cash says in an interview with Rolling Stone. "Invariably, they would say, 'Your father's a real American, and you should go sleep with Saddam.'" Ironically, Johnny Cash himself was adamantly against the war. "It broke his heart, it really did," she asserts, claiming that her father was "addicted" to war coverage on CNN during his last months. "We talked about it in every single conversation we had," she says. "He was almost a Quaker in his pacifism. He thought there was never a reason for war -- and he had felt that way, he told me, since the Vietnam War."'

Very simple! 25.Mar.2006 12:46

lone wolf

Wall Street, wall street, wall street and dick heads buddies laughing all the way to thier banks to deposit all the money from killing people of color, that's why!

Also notice this... 25.Mar.2006 13:20

Fred Bauer

Although Bush claims to have a plan to end the war, he will not reveal the details. The plan is is another secret if it exists at all. As if it were possible to keep what's going on in Iraq, covered by global news media, a secret.

Let's assume that Bush is telling the truth and has been telling the truth all along. That would mean that the stratagy to end the war came from the same place as the "Weapons of Mass Distruction", the "Patroit Act" and the economic stratagy that has left us 9 trillion dollars in debt even according to their own figures using Enron style calculation.

We would be better off without any more Bush "plans".

Why There's No Strategy to End This War 25.Mar.2006 13:21


For obvious reasons, we cannot end this war until we gain a foothold in the region. We are not leaving! Why is this so difficult for "liberals" to understand this? The democrat-republican-corporate rulers know this. They know that we need permanent military bases in Iraq in order to guarantee our control of the region. They also know that we must protect our 51st state (Israel) from harm.

The majority of Americans even know this - regardless of the polls showing that they are against this war. We need the fucking oil! It's that simple. We're not making any headway toward establishing off-shore drilling or constructing more pipelines in Alaska. Chavez has oil, but he doesn't like our ruling parties. So where are we going to get OUR oil?

OIL are US. Biofuels are not the solution to our automobile addiction. TV, newspaper, magazine, and Internet ads will ensure that we remain addicted to our cars and trucks. And TV, in general, will continue to shape us according to the needs of our democrat-republican-corporate rulers.

Who or what is going to shake us out of this sorry state of affairs? A messiah? The supernova (a sign from god) of a nearby star? ET intervention? Nuclear war?

I think that most of us agree that 'we all need to wake up'. But how are we going to wake up when we have the constant drone of TVs and organized religions -- lulling us back to sleep? The mass consumption of entheogens (psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, etc.) is my choice for awakening the masses (along with our selves). Who needs the Green Party or the leaders of the anti-war movement telling us what to do? We already know what we need to do. We just need that extra push to get us all going!




"The mainstream of Western thought ceased to be refreshed by the gnosis of the boundary-dissolving plant hallucinogens long before the close of the Minoan Era, circa 850 B.C. In Crete, and in nearby Greece, awareness of the vegetable Logos continued as an esoteric and diminished presence until the Eleusianian mysteries were finally suppressed by enthusiastic Christian barbarians in A.D. 268. The consequence of that severed connection is the modern world -- a planet dying under moral anesthesia."

Terence McKenna in Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge, 1992.

/ 26.Mar.2006 10:45


The democratic Party does not want to end the war, and the progressive arm of the party stupidly continues to channel people into a party that they have no hope of swaying to their position. The decent people in the party need to get out and work together in a fresh start. They are just being used.

soit 27.Mar.2006 09:43


There is no strategy because there is little will. Liberals are opposed to it in a general sense, but are not affected much, benefit from the imperialist system that necessitates war. They will only take what actions do not threaten their cushy positions, which means feel good marches and rallies.

It is very obvious. The people who got a bit more gumption, are led down a deadend path by anti-war leadership which is controlled by the democratic party. The U.S. anti-war movement is impotent because there is no will to do anything meaningful.

But this is nonsense 27.Mar.2006 15:35

Fredric L. Rice frice@skeptictank.org

The whole idea that there's a "Republican Party" and a "Democratic Party" is complete bullshit, pardon my French. The whol notion that one can point at either and say "these groups of ideologies are different from each other" is an absurdity predicated upon how many years of directly observed evidence? At least 250 years.

Suggesting one should rely on the Democratic Party to re-instate the U. S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and our rights, liberties, and freedoms is absurd since in stark reality, the "Democratic Party" _is_ the "Republican Party." Playing pretend that they're different, that one holds ideologies of freedom dear while the other exhibits the stark fascism (the Bush regime) is wrong.

They're both the same. All politicians who have adopted the label "Republican" or "Democrat" are working for their corporate sponsors, few of which give one rat's ass about Democracy, rights, freedom, liberty, or the Rule of Law. They care about making as much profit as possible, and over a quarter of a million raped or dead brown people in Iraq who worship the "wrong" gods isn't even a consideration to this country's corporate masters.

This elitist bullshit which proclaims that electing Democrats will some how restore the United States back to a Constitutional Republic, if anyone still labors under such quaint delusions, they're not paying attention.

My opinions only and only my opinions.