In the Wall Street Journal of January 24, the loathsome McCarthyite neocon David Horowitz gazed approvingly on the inauguration of Barack Obama. To Horowitz it meant the removal of an obstacle to war. Thus he wrote:
Consider: When President Obama commits this nation to war against the Islamic terrorists, as he already has in Afghanistan, he will take millions of previously alienated and disaffected Americans with him, and they will support our troops in a way that most of his party has refused to support them until now. When another liberal, Bill Clinton went to war from the air, there was no anti-war movement in the streets or in his party’s ranks to oppose him. That is an encouraging fact for us . . .
Horowitz is now locked in fast embrace with Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor in chief of The Nation and Leslie Cagan and her cohorts at United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ). Vanden Heuvel’s most recent piece in The Nation runs under a title in the form of a query, “Obama’s War?” Whose war does she think it is anyway? Even the mainstream media calls it Obama’s war — sans question mark. Her piece ran shortly after Obama ordered 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan and almost a month after both Afghan and Pakistani civilians were first bombed at Obama’s orders. She concludes her piece, after citing the deployment of additional troops, “Up to this point the Afghan war belonged to George W. Bush, but Obama’s escalation threatens to make it his own. There’s still time to change direction. President Obama don’t make this your war”! (Emphasis mine. If escalation of the AfPak war (the war on Afghanistan and Pakistan) only “threatens” to make the war Obama’s, what will it take to give him ownership?)
Having supported Obama during the election when he was very clear about his coming Crusade in Afghanistan and having made no demands in exchange for their support, the liberals are now reduced, their leverage gone, to begging for a change in course. Pity, pathos, disgust or a sense of betrayal — it is hard to know what to feel when one encounters this stuff.
Similarly Cagan’s United for Peace and Justice, dominated by the “Progressive” Democrats of America (“P”DA) and the “Communist” Party of the U.S.A (“C”PUSA) — more or less the same thing, not because “P”DA is radical but because the “C”PUSA is not — has been all too silent on Obama’s AfPak War. As a result there have been discordant rumblings among the rank and file about UFPJ’s failure to call a national demonstration against the wars flaring from Iraq to Pakistan and refusal to join the only one called, that by ANSWER (Act Now To Stop War and End Racism) for March 21.
The first bombings of the AfPak war under Obama came on January 23, almost a month ago. Bombing a country is an act of war, and last time I looked Congress had not declared war on Pakistan, thus putting Obama in clear violation of the Constitution. The same crowd calling to “Indict Bush” should also be calling to “Impeach Obama.” Clearly a national action is called for in protest, but only ANSWER has done so. In fact until last Friday, Afghanistan was only mentioned in small print on the UFPJ web page. When ANSWER called for a national mobilization, UFPJ announced local actions for April 4, with no special mention of the AfPak war. This appears to be an attempt to divert people from the only national action to be called which will be a major embarrassment to Obama if the numbers are large. And a lot of people on the UFPJ national discussion groups, this writer included, have been told to shut up when protesting UFPJ’s inaction. But Obama’s imperialism will not go away despite the tut-tutting of the PC crowd — any more than his kowtowing to the banksters.
Let us be clear. I make no special brief for ANSWER. Their exclusionary politics are really not all that different from UFPJ’s, which loves to red bait them. (That is an amazing thing for those who call themselves “communists” or “progressives” to do.) But at least ANSWER has not been hypnotized into supporting Empire because the Dems are now in the imperial drivers’ seat. In this act of courage, they resemble the Libertarians and Greens and Naderites and many writers at The American Conservative who are consistent and impassioned in their aversion to war. That tells me we need a new and broad based antiwar movement which is open to one and all with an aversion to empire, no matter their feelings about tax breaks, abortion, national health insurance or anything else. Clearly UFPJ, the liberal democrats and others of that ilk are incapable of building such a movement — nor do they want to. We can only hope it will be born. Meanwhile I will be in DC for the ANSWER demonstration on March 21. For the moment it is the only game in a town now ruled by Emperor Obama and the Dems.