Thursday, May 03, 2007

THE ANTIWAR BLOC IN CONGRESS HAS ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD: WHY THE VETO MEANS VERY LITTLE

"The only thing that is slowing some of them down is the fear that somehow they will be accused of doing something that will put the troops at risk. The desire for political comfort is still overwhelming the best judgment even of some Democrats." --Sen. Russ Feingold yesterday (IHT, 05.02.2007)

Washington D.C.--While the mainstream media is banging the drum of defeat for the Democrats, the reality is that the necessity on Bush's part to enact a veto is his loss. He has lost valuable time as Iraq sinks into anarchy. Just two-days-ago, 98 Iraqis were found dead or decomposing around Baghdad, and these numbers are becoming a common occurrence, even outside the Capital. The lack of GOP defections (and some Democratic ones to the far-right) in the House's attempt at overriding the veto speaks-volumes for a party and a political generation that simply don't get it.

What they don't get is that the public has had enough of this war, and that it can change the context in the next elections in an even more radical washout--the ending of this political generation as office-holders. It's hard to steal an election when a landslide has occurred, which we saw in November of 2006; it breaks-the-spell and ends any uncertainties. Also, with numerous scandals waiting to explode in the GOP's collective faces, one can easily discern that this war-funding vote is all they have as a defense against the prevailing-winds in Washington. Sen. Russell Feingold, one of the so-called antiwar bloc in both houses, wrote this yesterday at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/:

The next step to ending the war isn't to give in, but to step up the pressure on the President. I'm pleased to be working with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on a bill to end our open-ended military commitment in Iraq. Now that the President has rejected the will of the American people with this veto, our bill, or some other proposal to end funding for a failed policy, should be the next step to end the war. (Huffingtonpost.com, 05.02.2007)

It's unlikely the Democrats are going to back down with so much to win, and it's going to be easier on them than the Bush administration and the GOP. Comparatively, they're hardly embattled at all. It's also common knowledge within the departments of the Pentagon that funds can be shifted into July--not good for an administration and a party that doesn't want the war to end while George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are in office. Yet, by prolonging the war, they're paradoxically making this inevitable. This is the pedagogy of power: a descent into the irrational.

The troops will only suffer if the president doesn't shift funds within the Pentagon, which he can do with the stroke of a pen. He could do it within the next five-minutes, and there would be funding through July. His only resort is to do what he's always done: to deny the reality of the situation, to box-himself-into a corner, and to lie. This is all he has left. Interestingly, many of the wire stories seem to be implying that this is where the Democrats are. One has to wonder if he'll have anything left after the U.S. Attorney and Deborah Jeane Palfrey ("Hookergate") scandals. Barack Obama began to back-peddle yesterday before his more terse statements on the president's veto:

Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, who found himself under fire when he previously suggested that Congress ought to remove any conditions from the financing bill after the veto, said he believed that Democrats needed to settle on legislation that would "constrain the president" but that at the same time "might be short of a timetable." "I don't know whether there are sufficient options out there," Obama said in an interview on Wednesday. "I'm concerned about simply putting in advisory benchmarks that the president is free to ignore, without any consequences." (IHT, 05.02.2007)

Senator Obama should realize the only way to break the Republican spell over the Democratic Party is to hit-back much harder--that is, if he wishes to be president. There seem to be stirrings of this in the agenda of Congress these days, but this writer feels the investigations, oversight, and general hitting-back need to be escalated dramatically. Again, Obama went back on-the-attack after he received an avalanche of criticism for his back-peddling. This is how the system is supposed to work. It's supposed to be contentious and it has periods where politicians are swept-up by events. Expect more to originate from Iraq.

What the media fails to report--because their ownership has an agenda congruent with the Bush administration and the GOP--is that this bill was merely a first-step, and one that Bush was doing his best to prevent. You can see that in his reactions to all these measures, which have been emotionally-propulsive and violent, if not extremely acrimonious. Even an armchair analyst can see that doing the opposite of what Bush wants is probably the best-route for any push to end the war, and separates the adults from the children in this political conflict.

With a number of Senate and House seats opening-up in 2008, as well as the Oval Office, it's normal for some candidates to get cold-feet occasionally. However, the polls and the November midterms illustrate that the Democrats could benefit greatly from ending the war in Iraq by next Spring. As fast as events are overtaking us all, it's beginning to dawn on many incumbents (and the White House) that this could become a tangible reality regardless of whether funding for the war is appropriated without strings-attached or not.

"It's a frustrating step on his part," Obama said. "Because by failing to sign this bill that would actually increase funding for troops on the ground, not only do I feel like he ignored the will of the American people, but I still feel like he's not understanding the realities on the ground."..."We're 16 Republican votes short from really being in a position to bring this war to a close," Obama said, referring to the number of votes needed to override Bush's veto. (Chicago Tribune, 05.02.2007)

Yes, the reality on the ground is most-likely to determine everything, forcing the hands of the GOP towards further defections, as well as Democrats who have voted with them on the emergency appropriations. Rhetoric and lies aren't very effective against the violent inertia of the insurgency and sectarian attacks. History will not be denied, just as it had its way in Vietnam.

The laws of physics are still holding, thank God. George W. Bush, his allies in Congress (both GOP and DNC), and his administration are responsible for the continuation of this pointless and wasteful war. It's time to turn up the heat, it's not hot enough for them. Again, it has to be reiterated that Congress has all the time it needs, not the Bush administration.

This aspect will continue to be obscured and derided by the mainstream media, but it's the political reality of this debate. Who will blink? Time to up-the-ante, Democrats. The time for waffling is over. The alternative is to lose the new majority, and to continue to look like a bunch of wishy-washy wimps who don't know what they believe in. The current price of a gallon-of-gasoline should also aid them with solid-support from an angry American public. History is upon us.

Sen. Russell Feingold at Huffingtonpost, 05.02.2007: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-russ-feingold/after-the-veto_b_47462.html

"U.S. Democrats regroup after veto, seeking unity on Iraq plan": http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/03/america/03dems.php

Obama to the Chicago Tribune, 05.02.2007: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-070501obama-bush,1,5174110.story?coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true