â€œOh peaceniks, donâ€™t you weep, donâ€™t you moan cause pharohâ€™s army got drowndedâ€¦.â€
Of course it is disappointing and disillusioning that the Congress passed the war financing bill giving the Decider in Chief another victory in his war with dissenting legislators who he knew, and we should have known, lack the votes and the guts to stop the war even with a protracted timelineâ€¦
Let me take that back, it is disillusioning only for those with illusions, for those who take poli-tricksters at their word and forget to understand two key factsâ€”the Democratic Majority is slim and divided, and that there is more going on there than meets the eye.
Yes, six out of ten Americans now oppose the war and want out, but a majority also doesnâ€™t want to do so at the expense of shortchanging our troops, thus buying into the Bushevik/media charade of anxiety that suggests that ending the war will be worse for the soldiers that the continuing bloodbath. (Recent articles show that it is the Pentagon that is not even supplying the troops properly.)
Understand that an overwhelming majority of these lawmakers bought the Kool Aid and voted to authorize the war. And sure they knew they were being sold a bill of goods. (A forthcoming hard-hitting documentary executive produced by Phil Donahue shows us of every yes vote cast by these sheep in high places, every last one.) Many fear that those votes will be raised against them in some campaign debate to come.
But beyond that, there beats in the historical memory embedded in the collective consciousness of governments past and present that old canard of being accused of â€œlosingâ€ a war or a country. Back in the 1950â€™s it was the fear of losing China. In the l960â€™s, the contrived worry was â€œwho lost Vietnam?â€
Today, the same formula and template is in place with that sword of Damocles like concern hanging over every pol, namely, â€œwill I be blamed for â€œlosing Iraq? â€ Never mind that this war is already lost despite the endless plans for endless escalations. Itâ€™s so much easier for Congress to wait for September to act, when you just know there will be other reasons offered up for delay, as in â€œthere is light at the end of the tunnel.â€ Itâ€™s sickening and so familiar.
This of course assumes that these countries were ours to win or lose. But no matter, there is a superpower syndrome of imperial arrogance or noblesse oblige that infects those for whom positioning and image always trumps morality and principle. Itâ€™s an â€˜American thingâ€™ going back, believe it or not, to the Manifest Destiny days and the Spanish American War, that Vietnam before Vietnam when we set out to Christianize Pilipinos who no one reminded us had been Catholic for centuries.
Beyond that, it is sometimes hard to remember that war is business, not just politics. The Military Industrial Complex does business in every state and in every congressional district and the politically distributed pork or war booty employs constituents in every district. Members of Congress are very aware of that.
The MoveOnâ€™s and anti-war groups are not the only lobbyists in this game. Behind the scenes, employees of war industries and their lobbyists are pressuring the Congress too. Their pressure comes in the form of threats to cut off political contributions unless those they patronize act â€œresponsibly.â€ They donâ€™t have to make too many threats to the natural born compromisers on the hill for whom selling out is part of buying in. They know who butters their buns.
And then, forever lurking in the background and in foreground, there is the unbrave world of media that gives endless newsprint and airtime to debates about whether the war has been managed well enough. In a media filled with crime shows, this crime goes uncovered as such. Instead, CBS fires a General whose politics they fear may blowback in their face. The reporting is still mostly one-sided and the anti-war movement is barely heard from or seen. No wonder the public is sending mixed messages. They are still being lied to by our weapons of mass deception. There are more new faces in Congress than on the networks.
So now that it is clear that pressuring politicians is getting us nowhere fast, perhaps its time to start focusing on our powerful media with demands that it tell the truth about the war and about the endless sleaze in this administration.
We still need to press the press and move the media if we are to move the country on the war and so many other issues.
â€“ News Dissector Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org. He is the author of When News Lies, a book on media complicity and the war. (Wmdthefilm.com) Comments to [email protected]