Tuesday, October 31, 2006

En Fuego

So: the Democratic Party can taste it! The times, they are a-changin'! Well and good, if you are primarily a partisan. But if you oppose the Works of Dubya on principle, rather than just because the Pubbies are the ones doing them, here comes Arthur Silber with some water for your fire:
Point One: Even though they had several years to prepare for the battle, the Democrats offered only last-minute opposition to the Military Commissions Act. Their campaign against this abomination -- what Jim Bovard accurately calls "the torture/dictatorship law" -- was completely ineffectual. This law guts the basis of our now-dead constitutional republic in as fundamental manner as possible, and the Democrats and their supporters barely even mention it any longer. Assuming they have majorities in both houses, will the Democrats repeal this vomitous legislation? No, they will not. Their eyes are upon 2008. God forbid that their opponents will be able to accuse them of being "soft" on terrorists, or of depriving the executive branch of the "tools" it allegedly needs to fight our enemies.

I'm sure some will tell me that the Democrats are being "smart" politically. They can't talk about repealing the Military Commisions Act now, but all will be well once they're back in control. If I had any money, I'd bet a very large sum that this delusional belief is complete crap. We'll find out soon enough. If I'm wrong, I will apologize profusely for my cynicism. In fact, I think I am merely being realistic. The Democrats have given no one any reason at all to believe they will seek to eradicate this atrocity from the books. Given the fact that this legislation has already vanished from public discussion entirely, it doesn't even appear that the Democrats begin to appreciate its momentous importance.


Point Two: We will still be in Iraq in two years, and probably in five, and even ten. The Democrats will do nothing to speed up our exit from this immoral and illegitimate invasion and occupation. Howard Dean announced as much yesterday. (It helps that Rahm Emanuel made sure that only prowar Democrats were running in the first place.) And take a look at the Kerry-Feingold Amendment. In touting this amendment -- which garnered all of 13 Senatorial votes, contemplate the blinding glory of it! -- Kerry's website proclaims:

"It is essential to fight to set a date to withdraw American forces. That’s why this June with Russ Feingold, we fought for an up or down vote on the Kerry-Feingold amendment to withdraw US combat forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007. We made it clear that our soldiers have done their job. It is time for Iraqis to do their job – it’s time for Iraqis to stand up for Iraq. It’s time for Iraqis to want democracy for themselves as much as we want it for them. Click here to read our plan."

I have commented before on the absolutely nauseating paternalism, condescension and arrogance conveyed by statements such as this one: "It's time for Iraqis to want democracy for themselves as much as we want it for them."


Point Three: The Democrats do nothing but ensure the inevitability of an attack on Iran ... Ah, but the Democrats will investigate the Bush administration's endless crimes. The investigations will restore honesty, decency and "true" American values to government. All the universes will be saved! Do people actually believe this nonsense? All such investigations will be exactly like all other government investigations of itself. People seem congenitally incapable of grasping that all politicians are now part of the same corrupt system, which aims only to protect itself and its existing prerogatives, as it simultaneously seeks to expand them. (The exceptions in the political class are so few that they don't matter.) In the end, all such investigations and committee hearings will end just as the 9/11 investigation ended (and any other investigation you care to name): some criticisms will be made, general fault will be found but no one in particular will be condemned in terms that might cause distress, and some new guidelines and regulations will be proposed and enacted. Neither party wants to judge the other too harshly or cause irreparable harm: they don't want to, because they count on the same consideration in return. Both parties are happy to accede to this deal, for it is precisely how their system continues on its merry course, guaranteeing their lives of immense comfort and privilege, together with their hold on power. Many of the rest of us, both here and abroad, will be screwed, maimed or dead -- and just when exactly did that concern the governing class?
In his excellent novel The First Circle, Solzhenitsyn talks about how the functionaries of Stalin's security apparatus tried to look out for other security apparatchiks, when they fell from Stalin's good graces and were themselves arrested. "It's you today, and me tomorrow." Yeah, sure, those triumphant Democrats are going to bring Republican criminals to justice. Su-u-u-uure.

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