On October 11, 2002, the Senate passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution. It did so influenced by what anyone paying attention now knows was a campaign of fear-mongering lies organized by the neocons surrounding Vice President Cheney.
The Congress is about to repeat that disgraceful performance. House Resolution 362, which Rep. Ron Paul properly calls “just more war propaganda” will likely come to the floor and pass after the July 4 recess. It positively encourages George W. Bush, whom you might suppose is the most discredited U.S. president in the country’s history and the most inclined to take vicious irrational military action, to take actions which would constitute a declaration of war on Iran.
What better indication is there than this that the entire system is bankrupt? Two years ago the American people voted for Democrats supposing that their victory would end the war in Iraq. Instead the majority party has voted to fund and continue the war, while sheltering the war criminals from meaningful investigation on the grounds that to do otherwise would be “divisive.” The entire political class is united in this fear of divisiveness!
It was okay for the country to divide on the question of the Clinton impeachment drive in 1998. A president had lied to an over-reaching special prosecutor about details of his sexual life. But Nancy Pelosi can’t work up the moral outrage to allow impeachment proceedings against the president who used disinformation to invade a country in violation of international law resulting in the slaughter of a million people.
Indeed, rather than punishing the Bush regime, or even holding it to account, the Congress eagerly, dutifully, rushes to assure the Israel Lobby that, yes, it is still blind and stupid. It has learned nothing. Yes, it was lied to. Does it care? Nah. Willing to forgive!
“Intelligence failures. But hey, all the world’s intelligence services thought Saddam had WMD…” That’s the line justifying the 2002 vote. How many senators and Congress members note the obvious and are willing to acknowledge: “They wanted war, so they lied to get it”? Few.
Instead they ask: What more can we do for you, AIPAC? Don’t worry, we’re totally aboard the program! How else can we use the U.S. military—forced to deploy against its better instincts—to alter Southwest Asia to your satisfaction? How, Mr. Cheney, can we help realize your vision of a region bristling with U.S. military bases, crisscrossed by U.S.-financed oil and gas pipelines, oilfield upon oilfield controlled and secured by the Empire?
How can we disconnect the present from the past, unite rhetorically with the masses’ disillusionment with the Iraq and Afghan wars while still surging towards the big confrontation with Iran?
Recall the Lennon/McCartney lyric: “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream…” Maybe that’s what they’re doing, these politicians. Maybe they’re sleepwalking towards war with Iran. The less kind interpretation is that they know what they’re doing and have no qualms. Either way the immanent vote will show that knowledge, information, exposure don’t matter. There’s no paucity of information but of nerve. There is no moral indignation. No power wielded appropriately, acknowledging the crimes that stare us in the face and doing something about them.
The honest amoral opportunist politician thinks: “Well duh. Of course it’s all about control of the Middle East. And yeah, they lied through their teeth to get support for the war. And yeah, I might score some points by saying the war in Iraq was a mistake—although no way I’m gonna say it was a crime or get radical about it or get called ‘anti-American’ for not supporting our troops, our heroes. But hey, let’s not be naïve. That’s just the way it is. And now whatever’s happening in Iraq—which let’s face it, isn’t even on the news anymore so not a big issue—Iran’s a separate issue. I can say Bush was wrong to invade Iraq, and still vote for this resolution on Iran, and stay friendly with AIPAC.”
Those in power want to cement their Lobby ties, their military-industrial complex ties if not their neocon/Cheney ties. If that means voting for war on Iran, no problem. This is the system working, well and efficiently. The delusion of the democracy, the delivery of more war. The passage of House Resolution 362 will loudly proclaim to anyone listening that the system sucks and is itself the problem.