Saturday, March 24, 2007

End the War by Continuing the War

Report by the World Socialist Web Site (click the title of this post for complete article):

The bill is a labored attempt by the Democratic leadership to pose as opponents of the Iraq war, while in practice ensuring its continuation. The vote to authorize war funding flies in the face of the will of the electorate, which expressed its desire to end the war and its opposition to the policies of the Bush administration in last November’s congressional elections, overturning Republican control in both houses of Congress. ...

As New York Senator Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, made clear in an interview with the New York Times last week, if elected she would keep a large force of American troops in Iraq indefinitely to secure “remaining vital national security interests” there. She elaborated on these “national security interests” by noting that Iraq is “right in the heart of the oil region.”

Similarly, the House Democrats’ bill upholds the war aims of US imperialism by listing as one of the benchmarks the passage of an oil law that will open up Iraq’s vast reserves to exploitation by US energy conglomerates. ...

In the weeks leading up to Friday’s vote on the floor of the House, the White House and congressional Republicans continually called the Democrats’ bluff, exposing their antiwar pretenses by challenging them to cut off war funding. This culminated last week in the passage, with overwhelming Democratic support, of a Republican-sponsored nonbinding Senate resolution vowing to never cut funds for “troops in the field.” ...

As Pelosi and her subordinates scrambled to assemble the necessary 218 votes to secure passage, groups on the so-called liberal wing of the party declared their support, including the Congressional Black Caucus and MoveOn.org.

The critical role was played by the misnamed “Out of Iraq Caucus” of House Democrats. This group of some 70 congressmen has postured as the most militant critics of the war. Their key leaders, such as Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters, both of California, have been paraded before antiwar demonstrators by protest organizers as living proof that the Democratic Party can be pressured to end the war.

Pelosi dealt with them through a combination of threats and inducements. The house speaker reportedly warned California Rep. Barbara Lee, another leader of the Out of Iraq Caucus, that she would be stripped of her post on the powerful House Appropriations Committee if she sought to block passage of the bill.

On Thursday, Lee, Woolsey, Waters and company insured passage of the bill at a closed-door session with Pelosi. The Washington Post reported on Friday:

“As debate began on the bill yesterday, members of the antiwar caucus and party leaders held a backroom meeting in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a final plea to the group, asking it to deliver at least four votes when the roll is called. The members promised ten.” ...

The legislative charade mounted by the Democratic Party has nothing to do with ending the war in Iraq. There are, in fact, no principled differences between the Democrats and Bush when it comes to the imperialist aims of the war. Both parties, the Democrats no less than the Republicans, serve the corporate interests—the oil conglomerates, the Wall Street banks, and the American financial oligarchy as a whole—that seek through military violence to establish US control of the resources and markets of the world.

The differences between those within the political establishment who favor continued escalation of the war and those who seek to continue the colonial occupation with reduced US troops are purely tactical. They have to do with the best means of salvaging the US debacle in Iraq by killing and brutalizing more Iraqis, in order to secure US control of the Middle East. ...

In this critical task for the American ruling elite, forces like the Out of Iraq Caucus and their “left” allies in the protest movement play a crucial role. They serve not to end the war, but to provide a right-wing, pro-war party with a left-wing, antiwar gloss, the better to block the emergence of an independent movement of working people against war, repression and social inequality.