Why Do Democrats Keep Funding the War?
By WILLIAM S. LIND
".....What might we do with this pause between phases of the Iraqi civil war? Obviously, get out. Violence is not likely to diminish much further; at some point it will almost certainly start to rise again. What better moment can we hope for than the present to announce "Mission accomplished" and head for the door?
The Bush administration will not make a decision to withdraw no matter how favorable the opportunity. It has adopted the ugly baby approach, planning to hand the war off to its (probably Democratic) successor.
But what of the Democrats who control both Houses of Congress? Why do they keep funding the war, as they just did again?
The reasons are several, and none of them are pretty. Obviously, Democrats think they will garner more votes in November if the war is still going on with no end in sight. Running against "Bush's war" appears more promising than ending it.
Most of the leading Democratic Presidential candidates are ambiguous, at best, about ending the war in Iraq if they win. Why? In part, because just as the neo-cons now dominate Republican circles, so the Democratic Establishment is in thrall to the neo-liberals. Both cabals of neos favor a world-dominating American empire, run of course by themselves. We are reminded once again that while there may be, at least on paper, two parties, there is one Establishment. It does not look favorably on ending the games off which it feeds.
Then there is the matter of a certain Small Middle Eastern Country which likes the war in Iraq, and hopes for a war on Iran as well. Said SMEC speaks with a loud voice in Democratic Party circles, the voice of campaign contributions. Never does money speak more audibly than in an election year.
So the politicians will sit and wait while the time we have so dearly bought in Iraq runs out. In no human activity is time more precious than in war. Frittered away, it can never be recovered. There is good reason why Napoleon said, "I may lost a battle but I will never lose a minute."
If we are to make good use of the time kicking the can down the road has bought us, it falls to the senior military to do so. The moral burden of command demands that they go public and say, "If we are going to get out of Iraq, the time to do so is now." Some of them may get fired for it, although General Petraeus is probably (again, for a time) untouchable. The Bush White House still will not be moved, but squirm as they might the Democrats in Congress would almost have to act or risk a revolt of their base, which is not very happy at the moment in any case.
Regrettably, as we saw throughout the war in Vietnam, American generals are more likely to step up to the trough than to the plate."