Bush, Democrats and the War that Won’t End

Posted October 24, 2007

Bush, Democrats and the War that Won’t End:


Download a copy of this statement in .pdf format

In November 2006 the U.S. electorate repudiated the Bush regime’s war in Iraq and put the Democrats in control of Congress, with a clear mandate to bring this disastrous imperial adventure to an end. A year later it is clear that Congress under the Democratic leadership could – but won’t – end the war. It’s even becoming apparent that the leading Democratic presidential candidates – for all their deceptive Bush-bashing rhetoric – don’t even intend to do so after the 2008 election.

Every week in Iraq, the chaos and carnage and “ethnic cleansing” get worse. U.S. mercenary “contractors” mow down Iraqi civilians. Four million Iraqi citizens are now refugees outside their country, or “internally displaced” living in misery – proportionally, that’s the equivalent of 40 million Americans – all while Petraeus- Crocker tell us that “the level of violence is decreasing” and “progress is being made.”

Because the Democratic Party depends absolutely on the antiwar vote, they have to look like they’re trying to force Bush to begin withdrawing from Iraq. But are they serious? Initially, the Democratic leadership hid behind the pretext that their thin majority could not muster the votes to defeat a Republican filibuster of “timetable for withdrawal” legislation. In fact, Congress could cut off money for the war by simple majority – as a small minority of Democratic legislators demanded – simply by not passing Bush’s semi-annual request for hundreds of billions in off-budget “supplemental” funds.

Instead, a worthless “bipartisan consensus” emerged for funding the war and setting “benchmarks for the Iraqi government.” These “benchmarks” include the demand for Iraq to turn over its oil resources for multinational corporate exploitation – making a mockery of any claim that the United States respects Iraq’s sovereignty. (The Iraqi government isn’t even allowed to kick out U.S. mercenary “contractor” firms who gun down Iraqi civilians.) But if the U.S. Congress wants to find a “dysfunctional government and legislature” that can’t meet basic benchmarks or the most immediate needs of the people, all they need to do is look in the mirror.

As Republican Senators pull back from their promises to join Democratic resolutions (e.g. for soldiers to have as much time at home as they’ve spent in Iraq), the Democrats have a new excuse for their failure to accomplish anything: “We don’t have the votes, you have to elect more of us.”

As people’s hope for action in Congress declines, some become more willing to give the “surge” and Bush’s myth of “progress” a chance. That’s not because very many people really believe these lies, but mainly because no serious answer is on the table for their real question: “How do we get out of this mess?”

Only One Way Out: OUT!

The actual intentions of the Democratic Party are emerging in the statements of frontrunning candidate Hillary Clinton. Her line that leaving Iraq will be “very complicated” is a barely disguised admission that she and the Democratic leadership plan to leave U.S. troops in Iraq and the region for many years. The Clinton strategy is to win the presidential election by campaigning against the Bush regime’s “incompetent handling of the war” and making enough people believe she will end it.

So the real Democratic plan isn’t much different than Bush’s scheme for having the U.S. occupation of Iraq last forever – like U.S. troops and bases in Korea. But why?

The key to understanding the Democrats is that they, like the Republicans, are a pro-corporate, imperialist party. The Democrats were not deceived by the Bush regime’s “Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction” or the “Saddam Hussein-Osama bin Laden connection” frauds. They are deeply cynical but not stupid. The Democrats support the strategic goals of the invasion of Iraq, although most have correctly realized that serious tactical errors were made.

The goals of the war are : (a) to ensure U.S. control of Iraqi and Middle East oil resources, and (b) to establish, with Israeli support, overwhelming U.S. military and political domination of the Middle East against any potential nationalist powers or global rivals. The Democrats’ critique of the war is based on its failure to achieve these objectives – not that they are immoral or criminal in the first place.

The Democrats are confident that the Bush gang’s blunders will throw the 2008 election to them, so all they need to do is point to these failures. But the Democrats have refused to make any pledge to close the detention/torture prison at Guantanamo or the secret CIA prisons, or to restore basic democratic rights destroyed under the USA PATRIOT Act.

The Democrats are in full agreement with the Bush administration’s 100% support of Israel’s campaign to crush the Palestinian nation, including the destruction of the democratically elected Palestinian government. Nor have leading Democrats, in particular Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, spoken out against the Bush administration’s desire for a massive bombing of Iran, which could produce an inconceivable military, humanitarian and economic catastrophe.

The Democrats have no alternative policy for Afghanistan, Iran or Palestine/Israel. Their criticisms of Bush’s Iraq war always crumble under the pressure of the “global war on terror” pretense.

The U.S. antiwar movement now represents the sentiment of the majority of the U.S. population, as well as the overwhelming majority of the world’s people. To meet the awesome responsibility that this fact entails, the movement cannot tie itself to either of the two pro-war capitalist parties. The antiwar positions taken by some elected officials and political figures are welcome. But it should now be clear that this war can only be ended by an independent mass movement, in the streets, for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

The war and occupation of Iraq has only brought chaos to Iraq. And to the U.S. as well, with New Orleans drowned, bridges falling down, 47 million people without health care, jobs lost and unions crumbling. We can’t even begin to address issues of inequality and racism at home until we end this insane cycle of wars for oil and empire, and get U.S. troops home from Iraq. The antiwar movement needs to persuade the majority of the American people, who already hate this war, that there’s only way out of Iraq: OUT OF IRAQ. NOW.