In a recent article in these pages I criticized Cindy Sheehan for going soft on Hillary Clinton’s war mongering. Well, I was wrong. Sheehan hasn’t gone soft on Clinton; she's attacked the New York Senator for her hollow position on the Iraq conflict.
At a rally outside Hillary Clinton’s office in New York, Cindy Sheehan declared to the crowd on hand that Clinton either speak out against the war or risk losing her job. In fact, New York antiwar advocates are hoping Sheehan will run against Clinton in the Democratic primaries in 2006. Others out West are hoping Sheehan will take on Dianne Feinstein in California.
In a recent interview with the Village Voice Sheehan contended that she was “so frustrated” by top Democrats like Hillary Clinton “who should be leaders on this [war] issue, but are not,” arguing that it is “time for them to step up and be the opposition party. This war is not going to end unless the Democrats are on board with us.”
It sure would be nice if more antiwar activists were to follow Cindy’s lead on this one. If the majority of protesters took their protests to the front steps of each elected pro-war Democrat as well as Republican, we might have a big-time movement on our hands. I’ll admit it; Sheehan is savvier than I gave her credit for. She knows that the antiwar movement should stick to the war, not lesser-evil politics. Too bad Sheehan wasn’t making headlines during the 2004 elections, if she were, the antiwar movement might not have not been so soft of the pro-war Kerry campaign.
We certainly have a long way to go before antiwar activists start taking on the Democrats for their embracing everything Bush has propagated.
Some have speculated, including respected journalist Wayne Madsen, that the Democrats didn’t attend last weekend’s rallies because the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC had urged them not to. Madsen reported that Congressman Barney Frank was pressured by AIPAC to intervene and scare Democrats out of attending the rallies. I certainly agree that AIPAC doesn’t want elected officials to attend antiwar festivities, but to think that AIPAC alone is responsible for the Democrats’ absence is foolish. The Democrats have been pro-war and pro-occupation since the Iraq war’s inception. Is this solely because of AIPAC’s influence?
No, the Democrat’s inability to challenge Bush goes a lot deeper than their ties to Israel. The Democrats haven’t been able to go after Bush on any major issue, from Patriot Act to CAFTA to John Roberts. The Iraq war is just one more failure in a laundry list of Democratic disappointments.
Perhaps next we’ll see Cindy Sheehan take on the plight of the Palestinians and speak out against Israel’s influence over US foreign policy in the Middle East. If she does so, we might really be getting somewhere. In the meantime, however, let’s just be happy that Sheehan recognizes the Democrats are Bush’s war enablers. At least it’s a start.
Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted rate at www.brickburner.org. Joshua can be reached at Joshua@brickburner.org.
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