A Fine Democracy



Recent developments should give pause to those who believe in the capacity of American political culture to temper the United States’ propenrity to attack and oppress world neighbors. Two years ago, broad U.S. citizen disgust with Dick Cheney and George W. Bush’s brazenly criminal and monumentally illegal, state-terrorist war of aggression on Iraq brought the president’s popularity to historic lows and created much of the basis for the Democratic Party’s attainment of a majority in Congress. A large U.S. majority favored a rapid withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq.   


What became of it all? George W. Bush has made arrangements to codify the U.S. Armed Forces’ permanent presence in that criminally occupied country. The mass-murderous invasion of Mesopotamia has been moved to the margins of "mainstream”  (dominant/corporate) media coverage. It is playing an ever-more secondary role in the already tiresome 2008 presidential selection extravaganza.


The Republican nominee is the presidential candidate who has most strongly supported the occupation. It is the arch-militarist John McCain, who looks forward to U.S. troops remaining in Iraq for 100 years and gets campaign kicks by making musical jokes about bombing Iran. He defeated a miserable field of Republican contenders who (with the exception of Ron Paul) tried to outdo each other in declaring their eager readiness to use world history’s most lethal military machine and the right to torture against the people of the Middle East and others “who would do us harm.”


The supposedly “antiwar” Democratic front-runner Barack Obama voted to fund the invasion unconditionally in 2005 and 2006. He has never called for simply and flatly turning off the Congressional war funding spigot. He lent his powerful support to pro-invasion Democrats (including the neoconservative post-Democrat Joe Lieberman) against anti-invasion Democrats during the 2006 Congressional primaries. He cannot commit to removing all U.S. forces from Iraq by 2013. He talks about possibly removing all U.S. “combat troops” from Iraq 14 months after his inauguration, failing to mention that only half of America’s foreign fighters there are made up of soldiers designated as “combat” personnel. He continues to preposterously describe the occupation invasion – which he constantly and falsely claims to have “opposed from the beginning” – as having been driven by a deluded but noble desire to export democracy to Iraq.


Neither Obama nor any of the Democratic presidential candidates other than the officially marginalized (and now departed) Dennis Kucinich and an ancient Alaskan apparition named Mike Gravel (who may or may not still be on primary ballots) can seriously acknowledge the criminal, imperialist, anti-democratic, racist, and oil-driven nature of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”


The great peacenik Obama refuses to take a first (possibly nuclear) strike on Iran “off the table” of policy options he would consider as “commander in chief.”   


And Obama proclaims his “progressive” concern that the bungled occupation will undo the American peoples’ resolve to seize “the American moment” and “make the world over” by putting American “boots on [other nations’] ground” in “situations beyond self-defense” (Barack Obama, “Renewing American Leadership,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2007)   Obama is followed by war-on/of- terror hawk Hillary Clinton, who along with John Edwards (the number three Democratic presidential contender prior to resigning before the February 5th “Super Tuesday” primary) joined the minority of Congressional Democrats who supported George W. Bush’s request for Congressional authorization to attack Iraq under circumstances of his own choosing.  After leaving the Senate in 2005, Edwards apologized for his invasion vote, something Clinton has steadfastly refused to do. During the presidential primary campaign, neither Clinton nor Edwards could promise to have all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of their (hypothetical) first White House terms in 2013. Both embraced a continuing significant U.S. military presence in and around Iraq for the indefinite future.