As the campaign began, consultants and bigwigs of both parties sought to keep Iraq from becoming an election issue. To their credit, the American voters disagreed, insisted on changing course, and let Iraq become the critical factor in overthrowing a rigged Republican majority.
For sure, Rep. Henry Waxman will hold the gavel and subpoena power for hearings into war profiteering by corporate contractors. The issues surfacing in civil society, for example through distribution of Robert Greenwald's fiilm "Iraq for Sale", will suddenly be exposed under the glare of Congressional hearings.
This is not a scandal at the margins but a mortal threat to one of the pillars of the war. In recent days, both Kroll and Bechtel have quit Iraq. Others will follow, according to a strategic forecasting report available to insiders in the security business. That Nov. 3 memo memo says other contractors will "leave the theatre of operations when the risks get too great." The strategic threat is that the "combat capability of the US army is breaking" because the "contractor support it relies on won't be there." In short, the Pentagon does not have the military capability of filling in for its private contractors, who are profit-oriented.
Some Democrats will join Republicans in trying to rein Waxman in, but it appears that the contractors have lost much of their previous bipartisan immunity. Indeed, the contractors may wish to avoid the negative publicity and possible subpoenas that are sure to result from any serious Waxman hearings.
In addition, the Democrats are sure to hold hearings, and use subpoena power, to get to the bottom of other ugly truths of the Iraq war, like the Administration fixing the "facts" to go to war.
The airing of these issues is welcome and overdue.
But the Iraq War will not end.
The Administration will continue the conflict into the 2008 election year. The Democrats refuse to end it. The national security elites believe America's image as a superpower is at stake. We've heard it all before. No one is willing to lose a war even when they know the war is unwinnable.
It is possible, of course, that the bottom will drop out of the military effort, resulting in a military defeat and debacle. But the Administration will avoid that outcome at all costs.
The anti-war movement, and their supporters in Congress, therefore will need to pursue an "inside-outside" strategy. On the inside they will have to mobilize the "Out of Iraq" caucus around an exit strategy alternative, including such proposals as:
After fifty years of activism, politics and writing, Tom Hayden still is a leading voice for ending the war in Iraq, erasing sweatshops, saving the environment, and reforming politics through greater citizen participation.
Currently he is writing and advocating for US exiting Afghanistan. (more...
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