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"I Don't Understand These People!": So You Thought They'd End the War

Welcome to the Show, kid.

The Democrats have "surrendered" on Iraq. Liberals are "shocked." And all the innocents who didn't know any better, didn't see it coming, feel "betrayed."

Poor Duncan Black, better known as "Atrios," is nearly at a loss for words: "People hate Bush, hate Republicans, and hate this war," he protests, and yet the Democrats caved!

"I don't understand these people," he wails.

Keith Olbermann, using the same tone of humorless, near-postal anger he uses in every commentary, no matter the topic, calls the Democratic rollover a "Neville Chamberlain moment."

I prefer to think of it as a teachable moment.

At a time when even conservatives have come to loathe Bush, when people who thought he was going to round up all the "illegal aliens" and deport them are so upset, they think impeachment's too good for him, the Democrats labor to craft legislation "acceptable" to him.

Liberals have already spent six and a half years loathing Bush -- longer if they live in Texas, a state whose statutes are said to recognize two classes of persons: Fuckors and Fuckees.

(Republicans and Democrats, the big shots, belong to the former class. You and I belong to the latter.)

There is nothing particularly wrong with loathing Bush. It only becomes a problem when it prevents progressives from finally figuring out that the people they're really going to end up having to fight are the Democrats.

As Big Walter the Thunderbird used to say, "Sho' is tough."

Right now, both major parties are playing dodge ball with the planet, trying to avoid "ownership" of Iraq. The only way at this point to "own" the war is to stop it, and there is no serious move afoot to make that happen.

Having used antiwar sentiment, and disgust over Katrina, to regain control of Congress, the Democrats have no intention of relinquishing power. They all "support the troops," who are being asked to "lay down their lives for America" in far Mesopotamia -- but you didn't expect these people you elected to lay down their political careers for the good of the country ... did you?

Of course not. Already Michael Tomasky is praising the Dems for practicing "smart politics," as though winning the White House in 2008 were far more important than "merely" ending the war in Iraq.

How quickly "put us into power and we'll change things" becomes "put us into power and watch it change us."

For the corporate powers behind the candidates, the rule is as it ever was: from time to time, things have to change in order to stay the same.

But (someone protests), can't you at least admit that the Democrats are better than the Republicans? And if you love the country, or care about the world, aren't you obligated to support the lesser of two evils, even if it's only slightly less evil?

To which I reply: What's really evil is being forced to choose between people on the one hand who support the war, and accuse anyone who questions it of "helping the terrorists" -- and people on the other who oppose the war, criticize the war, pledge to the end the war, and then vote to keep it going.

Or being asked to choose between the village idiot and someone who's consistently outsmarted by him.

Once upon a time, Bill Clinton filled the Interior Department with "environmentalists." Bush filled it with oil company hacks. Who was more honest?

Lo and behold, when they cut down the old growth forest, it didn't make much difference to the trees and the rivers and the critters, whether oil company insiders or professional environmentalists were sitting at the desks in Washington. Eight years of Clinton-Gore, two terms of Bush-Cheney: the toxic dumps remain, and only the rhetoric has changed, to protect the na´ve.

Demonstrably now, it makes no difference to the war whether Republicans or Democrats control Congress. Do you suppose the shooting will end, on the day when a refined, well-spoken Democrat, who reads poetry perhaps and scorns the religious right, and who doesn't embarrass us when receiving foreign dignitaries, succeeds the bumbling oaf Bush?

Think so? Or do you suspect people will soon be wailing, "I don't understand these people! They control Congress, the White house, and the military! Why don't they stop the war?"

Perhaps apologists will go on CNN to reassure us: "The president wants to stop the war, really. But first she has to form a consensus, and set her legislative agenda in Congress, and build up her political capital. And when, not if, she wins re-election, then in that second term she'll be free to act, and she'll have that mandate, and I think you'll start to see some movement on ending this war."

Sound about right?

Look. Millions of people marched in the streets trying to prevent the invasion of Iraq, long before Bush sent a cruise missile into a Baghdad neighborhood trying to "take out" Saddam Hussein with one wild lunge, like the man who shot Liberty Valance. Without result, in either case.

People marched and listened to speeches and then went home. The opinion of the multitudes counted for nothing. No one in power saw the slightest need to pay attention to them. They're still not paying attention. Why would they, as long as those bags of money keep coming in through the transom?

The system is broken. It can't be fixed. As long as the Fuckors run it, it will continue to be utterly unresponsive to the will of the Fuckees.

The system tolerates, even welcomes antiwar people, but it co-opts them if it can. Just as the oil companies co-opted Earth Day, and just as the nuclear power industry hopes to turn global warming into a wholly-owned subsidiary.

In one party, if you're antiwar, you can get a job as Rudy Giuliani's foil.

In the other one ... well, if you still "don't understand these people," what's it going to take?

As the great working class poet Charlie Musselwhite says in "Black Water," the devastating post-Katrina anthem from his CD Delta Hardware:

"Hello America -- are you ready for more?"

David Vest can be reached through his web site at www.rebelangel.com.

hmmm 25.May.2007 10:37


Yeah, this just makes me pull my hair out in frustration. How people can still be amazed at the Democrats 'sellout', or be shocked at their actions is just unbelievable. The people in high political office, get there by being backed by the power elite. And in exchange, they do what the power elite want.

The fundamental issue of the time is not the war in Iraq, but corporate dominance. The anti-globalization movement was on the right track. As long as corporate power has near complete control of peoples lives, what they eat, what they see, how they act, those powers will continue to be able to launch wars when they wish.

Excellent article. Thanks for posting it.

liked this line best: 25.May.2007 12:10


"The system tolerates, even welcomes antiwar people, but it co-opts them if it can. Just as the oil companies co-opted Earth Day, and just as the nuclear power industry hopes to turn global warming into a wholly-owned subsidiary."

the solution then?

Change the system!

in order to do this, one must

1) study what is meant by the 'system'
2) study the history of alternatives to capitalism.
3) invest your energy in what course of action makes most sense.

There Are Easy Solutions! 25.May.2007 13:14


There are easy solutions! Just give every citizen over 16 vouchers to buy political news and information (validated by LOCAL independent randomly selected juries) (cut out the SPONSORS!). Just give every citizen over 16 vouchers to donate to political campaigns (validated by LOCAL independent randomly selected juries).

Then mandate LOCALLY CONTROLLED (by LOCAL independent randomly selected juries) Consecutive Runoff Approval Voting. It is the only simple voting system that works. (NOT like IRV, which requires centralized control, since every bit of ballot information must be gathered into one central location for the method to work. (with all reasonably practical forms of IRV) With Consecutive Runoff Approval Voting, the votes can be tallied independently at each polling place.) See:


with two parties, you can polish the black boots faster 26.May.2007 06:39

art young reprint

requires little explanation:

(and with more parties, you just might make democracy work. Currently, the U.S. is not a democracy, it is a fascist occult state with a discourse for the proles that it is a democracy.)

I know. This is just outrageous. 26.May.2007 17:36

Jody Paulson

And we're not seeing the outrage because the press won't cover it, and if people don't see that others are just as outraged, they don't think to get organized. It's like they have to see others speak out before they even think to do it themselves. Remember the Kitty Genovese story?  http://www.newsday.com/community/guide/lihistory/ny-history-hs818a,0,7944135.story

I agree with one of the comments that *election reform* is the most direct way to deal with this sickening spinelessness (most probably due to massive corruption or blackmail). But then we have to seriously reform the media. A good start would be to repeal the media-oligarchy-supporting Telecommunications Act of 1996:  http://www.fcc.gov/telecom.html .

"Where the hell is our outrage?" -- Iacocca: Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

What appears to be really happening here, is that the United States has every intention of attacking Iran, probably after a false flag operation that will be blamed on Iranian terrorists:

Nine US Warships Enter Gulf in Show of Force

Bush Anoints Himself as the Ensurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency

Why else increase troop force so much?