[Marxism] How "antiwar" Democrats two-step away from opposing the war (on the bet that 2 more years of bleeding by Iraqis and US troops certainly won't reflect on them

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Feb 26 16:38:22 MST 2007


www.counterpunch.org

February 26, 2007

Doing the Markey Two Step 
How Democrats are Buying the Iraq War
By JEFF LEYS

Last week, members of the Smedley Butler Brigade of Veterans for Peace
organized an office occupation of Representative Ed Markey's office in
Massachusetts. Their demand was simple: refuse to continue funding the Iraq
war and vote against the $93 billion supplemental spending request submitted
to Congress by President Bush on February 5. Their action was one of a
growing number of office occupations taking place during the Occupation
Project campaign of civil disobedience to end Iraq war funding.

Markey adroitly launched into song and dance, agreeing to meet and
promising, in writing, to vote against President Bush's request. The next
day, he pivoted and swirled, doing the finest two step you'll ever see. He
pronounced that he will most definitely vote against President Bush's
request. He also pronounced that he will wait to decide whether to vote for
or against the final supplemental spending bill being crafted by
Representatives John Murtha and David Obey in the House Appropriations
Committee. Talk about having your cake and eating it too.

Let there be no mistake. The Democrats are buying the Iraq war lock, stock
and barrel. Indeed, fewer votes may be cast against continuing Iraq war
funding this year than last year (or the year before) if so-called,
erstwhile antiwar Democrats follow the logic of Markey.

The Democrats, led by Murtha and Obey, must be told in no uncertain terms
that they cannot simultaneously be against the Iraq war and continue to fund
the war. Murtha's proscription is aptly dubbed a "slow bleed" strategy, as
reprehensible as the "slow bleed" strategy of the Bush administration. The
Bush administration made a clear and coldly calculated decision that, so
long as deaths of U.S. soldiers were kept to a "minimum" and spread out
amongst communities across the U.S., his administration could continue to
wage this war without arousing active opposition to this war from middle
America. Similarly, Murtha seems to be calculating that he and the Democrats
will survive a "slow bleed" of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi citizens while he
nibbles at the edges of ending the war in and occupation of Iraq.

Murtha's proposals to end stop loss and stop move orders should be
supported. A grave injustice is done to members of the U.S. military when
they are forced to serve beyond the end of their enlistment contract or
forced to extend their tour of duty in Iraq. His proposal to require that
U.S. service members should also be at home for a minimum of one year before
being deployed back to Iraq is also worthy of support. Indeed, I and three
others were arrested at the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command here
in Illinois last July pressing those demands.

Murtha fiddles on the edges of using the power of the purse to end the Iraq
war while Rome-Baghdad-is burning to the ground.

The situation is not all that much brighter on the Senate side of the
Congress. Senators are posturing to be the most antiwar Senator, especially
those who are running for President. None is yet showing the political
courage of their predecessors in the Senate-to actually vote against any
additional funding for the Iraq war. The end of the U.S. war in Vietnam
began in 1965 when three Senators voted against funding the war.

Senator Feingold introduced S. 448, "The Iraq Redeployment Act of 2007",
which calls for the cessation of most funding for U.S. military operations
in Iraq 180 days following passage of the act. Senator Obama introduced S.
433, "The Iraq De-Escalation Act of 2007", which, in excessively convoluted
language, moves towards calling for the withdrawal of U.S. combat brigades
from Iraq by March 31, 2008. However, if you read S. 433, enough loopholes
exist to drive a Mack truck through, which ensure continuation of the Iraq
war, most notably the provision that the withdrawal of U.S. military forces
from Iraq can be suspended with the simple certification by Bush to Congress
that Iraq is achieving the benchmarks spelled out in the legislation.
Neither S. 448 nor S. 433 contain any kind of enforcement language if the
President decides to ignore the resolutions.

Senator Feingold and Senator Obama, will you dare take the requisite steps
to end the war by cutting war funding? Senator Bernie Sanders, I'm calling
you out on this one too. And you too, Senator Sherrod Brown. Each of you
voted against funding the Iraq war while in the House. But you both
conveniently lost your principles and your conscience when you voted for
Iraq war funding last year when you were running for the Senate.

If you can't bring yourself to vote against this supplemental spending bill
on its face, will you at least commit to the intermediate step? Will you
commit to introducing an amendment to the supplemental spending bill, as
well as to the regular Department of Defense Appropriations bill (which
contains another $142 billion for the war next year), which will specify
that any and all funding for the war will be ended by a specific date and
that all U.S. service members will be withdrawn from Iraq by that date? Will
you further commit to voting against any supplemental spending bill and / or
regular appropriations bill which does not contain such a provision?

If not, Senators Feingold, Obama, Sanders and Brown and Representatives Obey
and Murtha-and all other erstwhile antiwar Senators and
Representatives-allow me to introduce you to Representative Markey. I'm sure
we can arrange ball room dance lessons so you can refine the Markey Two Step
as you sway to the Chattanooga Choo Choo train of war funding.

Jeff Leys is Coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and a national
organizer for the Occupation Project campaign of sustained nonviolent civil
disobedience to end Iraq war funding. He can be reached via email at
jeffleys at vcnv.org. 

Information on the Occupation Project campaign can be found at www.vcnv.org.









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