by Jeffrey Robbins
If you know any Democrats under the delusion that if they add control of Executive Branch in 2008 to their control of Congress that it will mean the exit of the US from Iraq, shake them down with the fact that BOTH sides of the aisle are voting FOR items that indicate the "powers that be" on both sides plan a much longer stay.
Did you know we are building an Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq? The massive new embassy, being built on the banks of the Tigris River, is designed to be entirely self-sufficient and won't be dependent on Iraq's unreliable public utilities. The 104-acre complex — the size of about 80 football fields and ten times larger than the average size of a US Embassy — will include two office buildings, one of them designed for future use as a school, six apartment buildings, a gym, a pool, a food court and its own power generation and water-treatment plants. The current U.S. Embassy in Iraq has nearly 1,000 Americans working there, more than at any other U.S. embassy.
Original appropriations for the Iraq Embassy complex were nearly $600 million, but some sources project overruns will bring it to $1 Billion before it even opens. Maitenance and operation costs are unknown and will be an ongoing expense. If we weren't planning on staying very long term, why vote for this? Why not amend to ex out this cost from a bill? After all, we do have a temporary Embassy established in Baghdad, ironically in some of Saddam's former Republican Guard complexes. Why not simply continue using that space? Surely an attempt would have been made to shoot this plan down. Or, "it must have been a close vote, I am sure the Dems tried." Um, no. On May 5, 2005 the bill funding this project passed 368-58. A nail biter. The Senate on May 11, 2005 got the same bill for signing and after what I assume was much labored debate, passed it 100-0. Hmmm.
How about a vote pushed by, among others, Ron Paul (R-TX) on May 17, 2007 in the House. This vote, using language taken directly from the War Powers Act, would have prohibited an attack on Iran without specific authorization from Congress. Surely, the interested anti-war Democrats and consistently Constitutional Republicans would have resoundingly voted to stop the unconstitutional usurpation of power which they allowed in the first place with Iraq, stopping the chain of error. The vote didn't make it out of the House, losing 136-288. Not even close. No lesson learned here. Damned be the Constitution.
The May 22, 2007 votes mentioned by the blogger below in "Expansion of the Middle East oil war is a bipartisan imperative" were also not close. 80-14 in the Senate (note that 6 didn't even bother voting) and 280-142 in the House. Again, with astounding consistency, Congress continues its ill advised ways from BOTH sides of the aisle.
In fact, in an August 21, 2007 article on the World Socialist Web Site by Patrick Martin, he summarizes positions and notes the slow rhetorical backtracking the primary candidates are engaging in over the Summer of 2007. Of all places, the NY Times even correctly points out the movement, "As the New York Times noted last week, in a front-page analysis August 12, “Even as they call for an end to the war and pledge to bring the troops home, the Democratic presidential candidates are setting out positions that could leave the United States engaged in Iraq for years.... The candidates are not only trying to retain flexibility for themselves in the event they become president, aides said, but are also hoping to tamp down any expectation that the war would abruptly end if they were elected.”" If their aides are admitting this much in public already, what do you think the real intent is long term?
If you are a gambling person and don't mind taking money from people being duped, I say collect the most liberal people you know and place bets with them all on troop withdrawal from Iraq assuming a Democratic Presidential win. Use carefully thought out parameters (i.e. number of troops below X by this exact date) for the bet so you will win and they can't weasel out. Then, enforce the bets. Oh, and I didn't even mention the permanent bases in Iraq potentially being built. I say temporary because the House recently did get through language on ceasing funding (previously voted FOR) on building these permanent bases in Iraq. But I have my doubts on the veracity of that recent vote. Check out details with a net search "permanent bases in Iraq."
Expansion of Middle East oil war is a bipartisan imperative
On May 22, 2007, Washington’s Democrats obediently capitulated to the Bush administration, handing Bush a war spending bill completely stripped of conditions that would, in any way, slow the administration’s relentless Middle East conflagration. In fact, the new bill is an even more egregious blank check for a massive “surge” of Bush administration violence throughout the region, opening the door for a war with Iran. New Iraq “benchmarks” pushed by the Democrats themselves will result in new atrocities and more bloodshed, funded by the Democrats themselves.
In refusing to definitively corner a scandalized Bush administration, the Democratic Party leadership has earned itself a tidal wave of rage, vitriol and disgust from Americans who harbor any illusions that the Democrats have any intention of ending the war, or “bringing the troops home”.(see Entire US government failed us on Iraq by Keith Olbermann, and Funding Iraq occupation without deadlines or time lines is a travesty)
The Democrats’ open betrayal of their own constituents, their resounding slap in the face to the vast majority of the American people (70% of whom oppose the war) lays bare the true nature of the Democratic Party, and the US government itself. Dick Cheney stated with smug confidence weeks ago that the Democrats would surrender. Now, the Democrats have not only tossed away their own credibility, and their dreams of future political gain. They have fully revitalized Bush-Cheney and the Republicans.
Bipartisan criminal consensus confirmed
The US political and economic system, ruled by consensus, is deeply criminalized. It thrives on war and oppression. It is an elite racket, sustained by resource conquest, collusion, fraud, lies, cover-up, and the indoctrination and manipulation of minds. “The people”, whose votes never count, are viewed with contempt.
The Republicans and Democrats are factions of the same criminal New World Order, funded by the same criminal interests, beholden to the same think tanks, foundations, corporations and military-intelligence-industrial interests, following the same geopolitical script, written by bipartisan consensus.
Given this reality, it is no surprise that the Democratic leadership has kept its promise to keep the impeachment of Bush and Cheney “off the table” and reach “across the aisle”. Consensus interests are at stake.
The vast majority of the Democrats, particularly the corrupt Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), want the war and bloodshed to continue.
The vast majority of Democrats are, and have always been, enthusiastic and willing partners in the “war on terrorism” and are co-architects of an ever-expanding "homeland security" apparatus.
The vast majority of Democrats do not oppose the war in the Middle East. They support its expansion and the deepening of the occupation, as long as it is “managed” properly, and under the control of a US-led international consensus.
As Michel Chossudovsky wrote in America's "War on Terrorism":
“The Democrats are not opposed to the illegal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor are they opposed to the militarization of civilian institutions, as evidenced by their 1996 initiative to repeal the Posse Comitatus Act [which has now been completely obliterated by the Bush administration, the Patriot Act, and other post-9/11 acts]. Moreover, their perspective and understanding of 9/11 and the “war on terrorism” is broadly similar to that of the Republicans.
“This ongoing militarization of America is not a Republican project. The ‘war on terrorism’ is part of a bipartisan agenda. Furthermore, successive US administrations since Jimmy Carter have supported the Islamic brigades and have used them in covert intelligence operations.”
The vast majority of Democrats do not want the troops to come home. They support the permanent presence of the US in the Middle East, as much as the Bush administration does. The largest embassy/military base in the world is being built in Iraq as you read this.
The Democrats want Iraq’s oil, as much as their neocon partners do.