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Bush's Democrats on Iraq

By       Message Ron Fullwood     Permalink
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A day after 21 Democrats folded in the face of republican demands that they approve more money for Bush's Iraq occupation, it's been predicted that enough House Democrats are now willing to abandon last week's insistence that Iraq funds be tied to a commitment to set an end date to the aggression and will reportedly accept the Senate capitulation which allows Bush to dip into our treasury once more and continue his open-ended militarism (most say they reject) with impunity.

In an unusual procedure, the House will take up the Iraq portion of the omnibus spending bill today and is expected to give Bush and the republican minority in Congress more rope in Iraq in exchange for compromises on veterans spending and other Democratic priorities republicans have been hindering with their unyielding opposition and obstruction.

The obvious question for Democrats who are allowing these funds to advance, and allowing Bush to (again) sidestep the majority of congressional opposition to his occupation, is, what obligation do these Democrats feel they have to the overwhelming majority of voters who demanded an end to the Iraq occupation last November with their votes replacing the republican majority with Democrats who pledged they would stand in the way of Bush's arrogant disregard of our collective will? Where has our Democratic majority demonstrated the same unyielding opposition and obstruction to Bush's widely unpopular stance on Iraq that republicans have managed since they assumed the majority we provided them?

At every point where Democrats were to hold the line on their demands (our demands) for a timetable or a mere commitment that Bush bring our troops home by a date certain, Democrats have done nothing but posture, and then, bend; albeit in increments of funding that they insist are 'bridge funds' for the troops while they wait for Bush and his republicans to relent. Amazingly (and many say predictably), those Democrats who have continued to give our lame-duck commander more rope for his occupation are still dealing with the administration and their republican enablers as if they've actually demonstrated honesty, or even good faith, in their characterizations of the quagmire, or in their justifications for keeping our troops bogged down there.

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Where is any of the political reconciliation Bush and his republicans promised forthcoming from the Iraqi regime which over 3800 of our nation's defenders have fought and died to support and defend? It's an insult to anyone who has assumed any honesty or good faith from this administration that their Secretary of State is busy, right now, at the dawn of the House capitulation, begging the Maliki regime to clean up their political act and make nice with their sectarian rivals for their hapless U.S. audience and save their congressional supporters' political faces.

Where is the assurance that Iraqis will assume any of the 'security' tasks that the administration and their republicans now insist are tantamount and have precedence over the "room" Bush argued earlier this year our troops were providing Iraqis for their political reconciliation? The only demonstrated results of Bush's unilateral, increased occupation (which Democrats have funded right along with the deployment) have been from our troops' ability to kill thousands of Iraqis they claim are either 'insurgent' or terrorist.

There is no more of a 'threat' to America from resisting Iraqis than there was from the non-existent Iraqi WMDs Bush and his minions claimed threatened the U.S. as they argued for the invasion at its outset. Six years into the diversion from the pursuit of the original, 9-11 terror suspects in Afghanistan to "fight terrorists there," in Iraq, there has been no diminution of individuals openly committed to violence against the U.S., our allies, or our interests abroad. In the administration's own intelligence reports there are repeated warnings that Bush's reckless militarism in Iraq has actually fostered and is fueling resistant violence, rather than stifling it, as the administration and their supporters have claimed in their justifications to continue.

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Where are these supporters of giving Bush more money to continue in Iraq getting the intelligence that justifies continuing? If they're still relying on the administration's word on Iraq then they're settling for less than half-truths. None of the administration's shifting justifications for continuing in Iraq contain any acknowledgment of the years of squandering of lives in Iraq or any acknowledgment or understanding of their own complicity in the unrest and chaos which their invasion and occupation has unleashed.

The politicians, here and in Iraq, are merely shaving off the edges of their disintegrating coups and constructing little barriers to scrutiny - and for Bush and his republicans, to hold back the accountability that our votes in the next election intend to bring to bear on their autocratic abuses of power and assumed authority. In the Senate yesterday, and in the House today, a determinate number of Democrats elected to tear down the administration's petty obstructions are expected to abandon their opposition (again) and allow Bush another shred of cover on Iraq.

Democratic presidential aspirants who actually are employed to confront Bush behind their elected positions in Congress - Dodd, Obama, Biden, Clinton - didn't even bother to show up and vote. Bush supporter, republican John McCain did, to wage the administration fight against any limiting amendments.

Sen. Clinton, who co-sponsored an amendment to the bill which would set a date for withdrawal, but failed to show up and vote, said today on Fox & Friends morning news that she's "focusing on the "vision that I have for America" and "what I would do to hit that ground running on that very first day." It would be infinitely more productive if she just focused on the job at hand, instead.

Sen. Obama, who also failed to show up and debate or vote, gave an Iraq speech earlier in the week in which he railed against politicians who "feared looking weak and failed to ask hard questions." Why wasn't he on the Senate floor, asking those "hard questions" and providing that "strength" he says he expects?

These absent politicians can claim to be opposed to the funding, but they all chose to distance themselves from the accountability of a recorded vote. Who really knows what their fine words of opposition actually mean if they don't even take advantage of the elevated platforms of office they've been gifted with and hold today?

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But, there is no opposition to be found at all from those Democrats who vote to allow this omnibus bill to advance with Iraq money buried inside. They can try and convince themselves and others that they voted to protect the interests of soldiers already deployed, but we know, from the Majority Leader's own mouth, that there are more than enough funds already allocated to keep Bush in business in Iraq until March. "What they're trying to do is hold the whole government hostage to this crazy money for Iraq," Reid was quoted in the WSJ just last week. "All we're trying to do is to swallow hard and give him enough for the military and keep the government open," he said.

Well . . . he and the others who allowed these funds for Iraq to advance may have 'swallowed hard,' but they capitulated and gave Bush his 'crazy money' for Iraq anyway. They're under Bush's bloody heel. They might as well be the opposition we elected them to put down. In the case of Iraq, they are the opposition.

 

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price

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