Friday, November 11, 2005

Defending the indefensible

I posted a variation of this at Dailykos.

The progressives are seizing on Bush's speech today about pre-war intelligence as if it's a magic bullet -- "The intelligence for WMD was manipulated by the White House, twisted to support the case against Saddam by Bush and the neocons! The Democrats in Congress didn't have access to the real intelligence -- that's why they voted to authorize the war! They were misled, the poor, pitiful fools."

That is an argument that cannot win because it's complete bullshit.

Let's be honest.

As an informed citizen, reading news reports and other readily available media, I knew the WMD issue was a smokescreen from the beginning. A sizeable portion of the U.S. citizenry saw through the transparent, obvious attempts to build a bogus case for the invasion of Iraq.

You can look at the polls from the period of time that the Bush Cult began its pro-war P.R. campaign, and you can read about the massive global protests by millions of people who didn't believe that Saddam was the 21st Century version of Hitler, conspiring with Al Qaeda to incinerate the U.S. with dirty bombs and infect the survivors with bubonic plague.

Some members of congress stood fearlessly, speaking truth to power--Byrd, Kennedy, Kucinich--and did their job to represent their constituents. The other Democrats plugged their ears.

So I do not buy the argument that most Dems decided to go to war because they were fed bogus evidence. They voted for war because they cowered at the strong-arm tactics of Bush and Company, because they were worried about being seen as "weak" and hurting their own careers, and because the imperial presidency tolerated no "traitors" and branded anyone not playing along as treasonous.

I'm all for running the prez and his cultists out of town dripping tar and feathers, but let's be honest with ourselves, shall we?

The Dems knew they were being fed horseshit, and they smiled, chewed politely, and said, "Thank you, sir, may I have some more?"

Better late than never, but I, for one, have a hard time accepting the "we didn't know" excuse. If it works as realpolitik to jettison the bastards, fine. But because Democrats who should have known better swallowed the pile of rotten dung, thousands of troops and a hundred thousand Iraqis are now rotting in the ground.

I can't forget that. I won't forget that.

4 Comments:

Anonymous mondo said...

Totally, totally agree. I posted a similiar take as yours over at Brad Blog. Which happens to be quite a bit better than Kos. Well, at least it used to be. Who knows after a year of getting wined and dined by the left with his Diebold breaking stories and his Crawford podcasting. When I would frequent the two more often last year before I completely fell down the hole, Kos was well known for being PC to a fault. Constantly buckling under the slightest pressure. Not only that, he was extremely heavy handed with the brownshirting if anyone dared breach such conspiracy theories as man-made weather manipulation or state sponsored terrorism a la Negroponte and Rumsfeld's P20G Satanic Army.

2:22 AM  
Blogger Reverend Bob said...

I agree - and sadly we are now seeing the faults of a system where we don't have a valid "none of the above" choice when it comes to voting because both parties deliver bought-and-paid-for candidates who do the same thing under a different banner.

5:07 PM  
Anonymous mhenriday said...

«But because Democrats who should have known better swallowed the pile of rotten dung, thousands of troops and a hundred thousand Iraqis are now rotting in the ground.

I can't forget that. I won't forget that.»

Professor Pan writes as if the Democrats were a political party in the European sense, in which members, and particularly parliamentary representatives, all subscribe to a publicly adopted party programme. Unfortunately (to my mind), this is not the case, rather they are better characterised as individual entrepreneurs, operating on a franchise. My point here is that all Democrats voting on the so-called Iraq War Resolution (http://www.yourcongress.com/ViewArticle.asp?article_id=2686) cannot be painted with the same brush. After all, while 81 Democratic representatives did abdicate from their Constitutional responsibilities (Article I, Section 8) by giving the executive the right to decide the question of peace and war in Iraq, a large majority of Democratic representatives did, in fact, vote against the Resolution (along with 6 Republicans and 1 Independent). Three representatives - one Democrat and two Republicans abstained from voting.) Here's the roll of Democrats who voted on the Resolution in the House of Representatives (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2002/roll455.xml) :
Democrats AYEs -- 81

Ackerman
Andrews
Barcia
Bentsen
Berkley
Berman
Berry
Bishop
Blagojevich
Borski
Boswell
Boucher
Boyd
Carson (OK)
Clement
Cramer
Crowley
Davis (FL)
Deutsch
Dicks
Dooley
Edwards
Engel
Etheridge
Ford
Frost
Gephardt
Gordon
Green (TX)
Hall (TX)
Harman
Hill
Hoeffel
Holden
Hoyer
Israel
Jefferson
John
Kanjorski
Kennedy (RI)
Kind (WI)
Lampson
Lantos
Lowey
Lucas (KY)
Luther
Lynch
Maloney (NY)
Markey
Mascara
Matheson
McCarthy (NY)
McIntyre
McNulty
Meehan
Moore
Murtha
Pascrell
Peterson (MN)
Phelps
Pomeroy
Roemer
Ross
Rothman
Sandlin
Schiff
Sherman
Shows
Skelton
Smith (WA)
Spratt
Stenholm
Tanner
Tauscher
Taylor (MS)
Thurman
Turner
Waxman
Weiner
Wexler
Wynn

Deomocrats NAYs -- 126

Abercrombie
Allen
Baca
Baird
Baldacci
Baldwin
Barrett
Becerra
Blumenauer
Bonior
Brady (PA)
Brown (FL)
Brown (OH)
Capps
Capuano
Cardin
Carson (IN)
Clay
Clayton
Clyburn
Condit
Conyers
Costello
Coyne
Cummings
Davis (CA)
Davis (IL)
DeFazio
DeGette
Delahunt
DeLauro
Dingell
Doggett
Doyle
Eshoo
Evans
Farr
Fattah
Filner
Frank
Gonzalez
Gutierrez
Hastings (FL)
Hilliard
Hinchey
Hinojosa
Holt
Honda
Hooley
Inslee
Jackson (IL)
Jackson-Lee (TX)
Johnson, E. B.
Jones (OH)
Kaptur
Kildee
Kilpatrick
Kleczka
Kucinich
LaFalce
Langevin
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lee
Levin
Lewis (GA)
Lipinski
Lofgren
Maloney (CT)
Matsui
McCarthy (MO)
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McKinney
Meek (FL)
Meeks (NY)
Menendez
Millender-McDonald
Miller, George
Mollohan
Moran (VA)
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal
Oberstar
Obey
Olver
Owens
Pallone
Pastor
Payne
Pelosi
Price (NC)
Rahall
Rangel
Reyes
Rivers
Rodriguez (46)
Roybal-Allard
Rush
Sabo
Sanchez
Sawyer
Schakowsky
Scott
Serrano
Slaughter
Snyder
Solis
Stark
Strickland
Stupak
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Tierney
Towns
Udall (CO)
Udall (NM)
Velazquez
Visclosky
Waters
Watson (CA)
Watt (NC)
Woolsey
Wu

The six House Republicans who voted against the Resolution were :
Duncan, Hostettler, Houghton, Leach,
Morella, and Paul. The lone Independent was Sanders.

In the Senate, however, a majority of Democrats (29) voted for the Resolution, whereas only 22 voted against, the roll call being as follows (http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=107&session=2&vote=00237) :

Democrats NAYs --22

Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corzine (D-NJ)
Dayton (D-MN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Graham (D-FL)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wellstone (D-MN)
Wyden (D-OR)

Democrats AYEs --29

Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Breaux (D-LA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carnahan (D-MO)
Carper (D-DE)
Cleland (D-GA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Daschle (D-SD)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Edwards (D-NC)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hollings (D-SC)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Miller (D-GA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Schumer (D-NY)
Torricelli (D-NJ)

To my mind, a better alternative than saying «A plague on both your houses !» would be to get down to the nitty-gritty, see who voted for what, and support incumbents, whether Democrat, Republican, or Independent, who voted against the Resolution, while punishing those who voted for it. If, as I believe, the War in Iraq is the issue where most of the major questions in US politics, such as Republic vs Empire, Plutocracy vs Democracy, come to a head, this should be reflected in the next election rounds in 2006 and 2008. (By the way, Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, one of the most consistent anti-war persons in public life in the United States, is a member of the House of Representatives, not of the Senate....)

8:19 AM  
Blogger Professor Pan said...

Excellent points, mhendriday.

Indeed, I wasn't suggesting the entire Democratic party was to blame, and your suggestion to focus on the legislators who voted against the war resolution is precisely the action we need to take.

And I'm happy to say both of my senators voted no to the resolution (Mikulski and Sarbanes).

9:05 AM  

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