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War Without End, Amen: Democrat Leaders Limber Up for Double-Cross
Tuesday, 15 May 2007 12:01
by Chris Floyd

The coming Democratic double-cross on Iraq is nailed by Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com. (Be sure to cross their palms with silver, if you have any to spare, for their fundraising drive; the site is an invaluable resource. And don't forget us while you're at it.) The much-bruited "secret negotiations" between Democratic leader Harr y "Give 'Em Mild Heck" Reid and the White House on "benchmarks" will almost certainly prove to be a toothless measure that will extend the slaughter of this ongoing, godawful war crime -- while also giving Bush and his willing executioners in the Republican Party a whole new wardrobe of PR drapery with which to hide their corrupted flesh for another political season. As Raimondo tells it:

The president is now holding out the bait of "benchmarks" to increasingly restive Republicans in Congress who are looking at the oncoming antiwar voter tsunami with something approaching panic, and the Democrats will in all likelihood fall for it – with a sigh of relief. After all, Reid and Pelosi have been looking for a way to fund the war without seeming to own it, to prosecute a conflict and yet take no responsibility for it – and now, finally, they may have hit on the perfect formula.

The benchmark delusion was first perpetrated by the Democrats, you'll remember: it was an aspect of the House bill that would have made release of funds conditional given the fulfillment of a whole brace of benchmarks. The only problem was that each and every one of them could be un ilaterally waived by the president. Why Bush didn't accept this I'll never understand: methinks he's reconsidered, and it's a good move. Now he can say he's compromised, the Republicans who are taking incoming fire back home in their districts will be given some political cover, and the Democrats (and I include MoveOn.org in this partisan category) can tout this as a concrete legislative "achievement" for the party of peace.

And the war will go on, just as before. Nothing will change. Nothing but the number of dead and wounded, both Iraqi and American – the former rising in much larger numbers than the latter, of course. The extended deployments will be extended yet further, and the war – this futile, unjust, morally indefensible war of conquest – will drag on.

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Raimondo also correctly pegs the deeper darkness behind the Beltway debate: both the Democratic and Republican Establishments want to acquire Iraq for the American Imperium, now that the prize h as been set in play by Bush's war of aggression. The "leadership" of both parties still believe that some kind of ill-gotten gain can be wrought from this maelstrom of ruin and murder, and so they continue to dither over dinky details of meaningless bills while the war rages on, killing its thousands and tens of thousands, driving Iraqis from their homes in a Biblical-scale exodous, and engendering lasting, embittered hatred for the United States around the world. As Raimondo notes, in voting down the recent bill that would have required a withdrawal from Iraq in nine months, the Democrats have

acquired part-ownership of this war – and in moving to endorse the final funding bill, they are becoming full partners with the GOP in the annexation of Iraq to the American empire. That's what these famous benchmarks are all about: they are essentially instructions to the Iraqis, telling them what they must do before the funding spigot gets turned on. The benchmarks dictate to the Iraqis how they will "reform" the process of "de-Ba'athification," how they will divvy up their oil resources, and when and how to hold local elections, among other things.

Of course, the Iraqi parliament could always vote down the American diktat, but then there would be no money forthcoming – including, as Hillary Clinton has proposed, no money to protect our Iraqi sock puppets from their countrymen, who consider them collaborators and traitors. Under the circumstances, it doesn't take much of a tug on the leash to bring the Iraqi leaders into line. This is how the Americans conduct their battle for "hearts and minds" – by making local satraps so widely and deeply despised that they are totally dependent on their Washington overlords for their sheer physical survival. The real "benchmark" the Iraqis have to display to the Americans' satisfaction is an infinite capacity for obedience.

Or as we noted here last week: "This is the Iron Law of the Bush Imperium: you can do whatever the hell you want – rob, rape, torture, murder, chop off heads, boil prisoners alive, enslave children, strangle your people's every desire for personal and political freedom – as long as you play ball with the Beltway boys and cut them in for a taste."

And Raimondo makes clear that the "Beltway boys" include the Democratic leadership. As he notes, all the Democratic proposals on offer now involve a continuing, essentially permanent American military presence in Iraq -- which is precisely the war aim first publicly voiced by the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz group, "Project for the New American Century" in September 2000. Democratic proposals for "withdrawal" invariably contain language about leaving behind troops to "train" Iraqi security forces, to "fight terrorism," and protect American installations -- such as the largest embassy on the face of the earth, the Fortress America being built in the heart of Baghdad, which will require thousands of soldiers to defend it.

No, the name of the game is empire, and the Democrats want their slice, as Raimondo notes:

The Democratic Party is not about to end this war. Far from ending it, they seek to organize and formalize the occupation. Their "compromise" spending bill signs them on to constructing a viable colonial administration based on a two-tiered system of administration – with the Iraqi legislature rubber-stamping decisions made in Washington and the money flowing in at the same speed as the Iraqis carry out their orders. Four years after "mission accomplished," the nature of the mission – the carving out of an American province in the heart of the Middle East – is all too apparent.

The U.S. is embarked on an openly imperial venture, and the structure of a rising American Empire is taking shape before our eyes. It's a fantastic castle with many rooms and antechambers all leading to the seat of power, the imperial throne-room of the Oval Office. Here, at the very apex of the imperial pyramid, the most powerful man on earth contemplates his next move, while his co-emperor, who holds court in an undisclosed location, whispers in his ear: Iran.

The Democrats will go along with that one, too. Madam Speaker agreed to strip a provision from the Iraq funding bill that would have required the president to come to Congress before launching an attack. Indeed, none of the major Democratic candidates have ruled out attacking Iran...

What is needed is not just a revision of our Iraq policy, or our Iran policy, or even our Middle East policy. We need to reevaluate – and, yes, reverse – our entire foreign policy from top to bottom, starting with its central premise, which is that we must be the dominant military and political power on the planet. Neither of the major parties is prepared to do this: since World War II, both the Democrats and the Republicans have been explicitly committed to a foreign policy of global intervention, and this bipartisan consensus has been maintained right up to the present day...

As Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan put it in their 1996 foreign policy manifesto, a founding document of the neoconservative foreign policy platform, the new American imperialism is to be a "benevolent global hegemony." For the first time, the real nature of the bipartisan consensus, with its emphasis on "internationalism" and America's role as the "world leader," was made consistent and explicit. While disagreeing over means, both parties generally agree on the proper ends of U.S. foreign policy: global military dominance by the U.S.

This goal is simply not attainable, and, even if it were, it is unsustainable – and, even if it were sustainable for any significant length of time, it would not be desirable. World hegemony, "benevolent" or otherwise, is not so much a policy as a megalomaniacal fantasy, a symptom of an underlying sickness that has infected the minds of our rulers – an illness that can only end in madness, death, and mayhem on a scale not seen since the last world war.
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Comments (1)add comment

a guest said:

Others are starting to get my message.
I've been saying for a couple of years now that if we don't rid ourselves of fascism, the rest of the world will come and save us just as the world saved the Germans in 1945 -- and in exactly the same way. God help us all if we don't get rid of these bums by peaceful means in 2008 or by other means soon thereafter.
May 15, 2007 | url
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