The response of the Liberal commentariat to Obama’s escalation of the AfPak war has been one of acquiescence or downright hypocrisy as documented by Justin Raimondo in Antiwar.com. It ranged from “Obama’s strategy will work,” to “We support Obama but not his policy” (Whatever that means.) to “Let us turn to Congress to stop the funding.” (This last is especially disturbing since turning to Congress was the argument that “progressive” Dems advanced in 2006 to elect a Democrat Congress, an effort which yielded nothing but a betrayal of the antiwar votes that poured in for the Dems.)
Norman Solomon was first of this crowd out of the gate with a pre-emptive strike on the eve of Obama’s West Point speech. In this effort Solomon excoriated politics that “enables” as practiced by some members of Congress.1 But such politics is not confined to Congress, and Norman does well to write about “enabling” politics, for he and his organization “Progressive” Democrats of America, “P”DA, are shining examples of it. Norman seems to have forgotten that Obama was his candidate and that of “P”DA, that Obama was not just the Democrat Party candidate but the candidate of the “left” wing of the Dems. Even as Obama was telling us in 2008 that he would escalate the war on Afghanistan, Norman was urging one and all to vote for him. Solomon likes to say that things would be worse if McCain were elected. But after Obama’s West Point performance, one wonders. Solomon likes to say that if Al Gore had been elected in 2000, there would have been no war in the Middle East. But after the performance of Obama, who is regarded as more progressive than Gore, one wonders. Of course Solomon cannot say that war would have ended if Kerry, whom he supported in 2004, were elected, since Kerry ran as a prowar candidate.
That record of endorsement makes Solomon and his ideological bedfellows enablers without peer. Let us recall that many of these enablers heaped abuse on a genuine antiwar candidate, Ralph Nader, refused to invite him to speak at anti-war rallies and made sure that his words did not appear in the “liberal” press like The Nation. These days the bumper stickers that proclaim “Don’t Blame Me; I voted for Ralph,” should be flying off the shelves.
In fact it goes beyond that. The enablers like Solomon and Medea Benjamin and Katrina vanden Heuvel owe the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan an apology, for their backing of Obama makes them complicit in the war and killing that will soon intensify. They worked to get Obama elected rather than to build a new political movement, which is necessary to end the depredations of US Empire and which will never be organized if anti-warriors keep following the Dems. In fact the enablers of war consistently frustrate the building of such a movement. It is time to recognize that the Democrat Party is one of the two parties of Empire, and one of its functions is to contain the antiwar movement at which it does splendidly, not least by permitting an impotent “progressive” wing to keep keep hope alive. (Solomon and his buddies should simply stop offering their opinions and go to work with the Red Cross in Afghanistan to relieve some of the suffering they helped to cause.)
Some of the Democrat liberals are saying that somehow they got Obama wrong — and they will not do that sort of thing again. There is only one problem with that. They will do it again.
They do it over and over and should not be trusted or followed ever again. They did it in 2004, endorsing the prowar John Kerry, in 2006 endorsing Democrats for Congress with the promise they would act to end the war and move to impeach Bush, and they did it in 2008 with their support of Obama who promised escalation of the war in AfPak. They will get fooled again. We should not allow ourselves to be fooled with them or by them.