The Real Reason Congressional Democrats are Wimping out on Iraq

Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi has called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “one of the biggest pussies in U.S. political history.” While this may be true, I believe there is a deeper explanation for Reid’s timidity.

Democrats cower in fear of being called “soft on terror/national defense/national security by Republicans. The very act of cowering is political suicide because they are confirming the Republican charges.

This doesn’t make sense, because with a little effort Democrats could shove the charge of softness down the Republican’s throat. Sen. Bernie Sanders said that the reason Congress will never cut off funding for the war is that they are afraid, “George Bush would be on TV every five minutes saying that the Democrats betrayed the troops.”

Let us assume that the Democrats actually cut off funding for the war, and that Bush did exactly as they feared: He went on the tube and accused them of not supporting our troops. What follows is an example of what a robust Democratic rebuttal of that charge would sound like:

Mr. President, let us explain to you how one goes about supporting our troops. To begin with, one only sends them into combat where a real threat to our national security exists, such as an attack on our soil by another nation. (9/11 was a criminal act and your exploitation of that tragedy has been unforgivable.) One does not support our troops by sending them into combat on a rickety raft barely held together by 935 lies.

And when one sends them into combat, one does so with the best equipment money can buy. Rumsfeld’s doctrine was that an army goes to war with the equipment it has. This left our brave men and women needlessly exposed to unnecessary death and injury. How many lives could have been saved had every vehicle sent to Iraq been properly armored up?

And you dare accuse us of not supporting the troops!

You have allowed a cabal of bilious old men, who are nothing more than Pollyannas with PMS, to hijack our foreign policy so they could pursue their demented fantasies of power and world domination. In doing so, they have violated every precept that has made this country a beacon of decency and freedom to the world.

And you dare accuse us of disloyalty!

You have degraded and shamed our brave men and women in uniform by sending them off on an ill-fated war of aggression that violates international law just to enrich your wealthy cronies. The shedding of their blood to improve the corporate bottom line is a shameful act driven not by patriotism, but by ego, greed and stupidity.

Your accusations ring hollow, Mr. President. We stand firm in our commitment to end the military disaster you have visited upon the land. We will fund no more madness; we will fund no more slaughter; we will fund no more pipe dreams.

Okay, maybe they might want to tone it down a bit, but the above shows that it would not be that difficult to kick the sand right back into Bush’s face. The reason the Democrats won’t do this has to be more than mere timidity.

Contrary to appearances, the United States Congress is not an elected body; it is a corporation. Its shareholders are the corporate benefactors who fund reelection campaigns. A majority shareholder in this corporation is the Military-Industrial Complex.

To the Military-Industrial Complex, peace is not a profit center. Its survival and health depends upon war, or the threat of war. Iraq is the hen that is laying golden eggs at a prodigious rate. The first rule of the Complex is that you don’t make chicken soup out of the hen. This means the main thrusts of this Congress has been to keep the war going as long as possible. It was an embarrassment when the Democrats took over the Congress with the expectation that they were going to end the war. Fortunately, Reid and Pelosi came to the rescue and have been heroic in their efforts to keep the war in good running order.

Tragically, it does not make any difference who wins the 2008 election, nor would it make any difference if the Democrats achieved a veto-proof majority in Congress. As long as their majority shareholder wants this war to continue, it will, and the public be damned.

The general tone of this statement was suggested by Drew Weston, author of The Political Brain, when I heard him speak at the Daily Kos convention last August.

Political satirist Case Wagenvoord blogs at


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