This past week President Bush vetoed a $124 billion emergency war funding bill (Congress’s Supplemental Appropriations Bill). He said he did this because it contains language requiring some U.S. combat troops to begin redeploying from Iraq in October 2007—although there are no mechanisms in the bill to enforce a troop withdrawal.
The substance of the bill, Bush’s veto, and the ongoing clash between Democrats and the Bush administration over
First, Bush is making it clear that he does not support any moves to end the war. Second, while the Democrats have deep concerns about the damage Bush is doing to the
Bush also made clear with this veto that he demands unchecked authority to continue the Iraq war (and the whole “war on terror”) regardless of what Iraqis or people in this country want (poll after poll has shown that most Iraqis and Americans want a U.S. withdrawal). He demanded a “clean” bill—a blank check—without any restrictions or timetables.
Bush’s arguments for the veto are a mixture of lies, double-talk, and truth (about how the
First the big lie. What the Bush Regime portrays as a noble effort to make the world safe from terrorism and bring democracy to the Middle East is actually a vicious war of empire to deepen the U.S. stranglehold on the Middle East and Central Asia —a war that is part of a broader effort to create an unchallenged and unchallengeable imperialist empire.
This goal is not viewed as capricious or incidental by those in charge—whether Democrats or Republicans—rather it flows from the deepest needs and drives of their system:
So when Bush says, “Even if you thought it was a mistake to go into
Bush also vetoed the bill because he fears that setting a deadline for U.S. troop withdrawals could signal to the region and world that the U.S. is losing momentum in Iraq and the “war on terror,” and/or that the U.S. rulers are losing their “will” to continue. Bush fears that such a trajectory could be fatal to the whole
Finally, Bush vetoed the bill in order to continue his regime’s quest for presidential power unchecked by other branches of government (Congress and Judiciary). The website Swoop.net, considered by the bourgeois press to provide reliable assessments of government thinking, wrote that a White House official told their reporter, “At the end of the day, Bush does not see Capitol Hill as a legitimate player.” (Washington’s World, April 30th- May 6th, 2007)
The Democrats: A Ruling Class Party Unable and Unwilling to End the War
Despite protestations by leading Democrats like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (who claims, “make no mistake: Democrats are committed to ending this war”), the bill they sent to Bush and their response to his veto illustrate that their position on the war is a thoroughly imperialist one, making them unwilling and unable to really end the war.
First, the appropriations bill they drafted never called for a complete withdrawal from
Second, the logic of the bill was to threaten troop withdrawals to force the Iraqi government to meet
When Bush vetoed the bill, and the Democrats failed to override it, they immediately began talking about concessions: giving Bush the money he wanted and removing any timetables for troop withdrawals. Simply refusing to fund the war (including by filibustering) wasn’t considered. (For more, see “No Good Choices in the Halls of Power: Democrats Vote $100 Billion to Continue the War,” by Larry Everest, Revolution #83, http://revcom.us/a/083-special/toolempire-en.html)
This whole dynamic of riding the anti-war vote to power, then voting to fund an ongoing war while claiming to be ending it, reflect the conflicting necessities the Democrats face. As representatives of
And they’re trying to carry out this “redeployment” while making clear to the world and the powers-that-be in the
At this debate Sen. Mike Gravel briefly spoke some unwanted truth when he condemned the other candidates for refusing to rule out an attack on
“I got to tell you, I’m president of the
Meanwhile, the Democrats also have to try to maintain the loyalty of their supporters (to both the party and the system), millions of whom have turned against the war and are furious at the Democrats. So we get all the talk of carrying out the “will of the voters” and “moving to end the war”—while horrendous crimes continue to be carried out in