Saturday, August 05, 2006

Billmon Right Again. Unfortunately.

I'm way behind the news curve due to travel and a programming project, so I'm going to try not to rehash too much of yesterday's news. However, Billmon, still the best and most bitter voice on the internets, said the ugly truth that had to made clear:
But there's one big problem with all this hyperventilating [about Ned Lamont's probable victory on Tuesday]: It wildly exaggerates the anti-war fevor that Ned Lamont supposedly represents. Oh I know Ned says he's anti-war, but he only means the war in Iraq. The war in Lebanon, on the other hand, is just fine by him. And he's already pledged he'll be just as staunch a friend of Israel and the Israel lobby in this war as Holy Joe ever was or ever could be. So bombs away...

...Lamont's stance also reflects a glaring contradiction in the emerging Democratic consensus on U.S. policy in the Middle East (a consensus which is about to make Joe Lieberman a man without a party). Politically, it's a position that won't be sustainable for long. And as a matter of policy, it's a recipe for an even wider and more destructive war -- one I fully expect most Democrats, including Lamont, will end up supporting, despite the consequences.

The contradiction is between the growing sentiment among both grassroots Democrats and party leaders in favor of a rapid withdrawal of U.S. military forces (or at least ground forces) from Iraq, and the effect such a withdrawal would have, both on the overall strategic balance in the Middle East and on Israel's war against Hizbullah...

...What's become clear to me is that the Democratic Party (even it's allegedly anti-war wing) will not try to stop this insanity, and in fact will probably be led as meekly to the slaughter as it was during the runup to the Iraq invasion. Watching the Dems line up to salute the Israeli war machine, hearing the uncomfortable and awkward silence descend on most of Left Blogistan once the bombs started falling in Lebanon, seeing how easily the same Orwellian propaganda tricks worked their magic on the pseudoliberals -- all this doesn't leave too much room for doubt. As long as World War III can be sold as protecting the security and survival of the Jewish state, I suspect the overwhelming majority of Democrats, or at least the overwhelming majority of Democratic politicians, will support it...

...It is a stunning testament to the political devolution of this country that the most effective anti-war movement in America is inside the walls of the Pentagon or buried deep in the bowels of the CIA! But that is the reality, thanks in no small part to the Dems and the Israel lobby.

I had hopes once that the Democratic Party could be reformed, that progressives could burrow back in or build their own parallel organizations (like or even Left Blogistan) and eventually gain control of the party and its agenda -- much as the conservatives took over the GOP in the 1980s and '90s.

But I think we've run out of time. Events -- from 9/11 on -- have moved too fast and pushed us too far towards the clash of civilizations that most sane people dread but the neocons desperately want. The Dems are now just the cadet branch of the War Party. While the party nomenklatura is finally, after three bloody years, making dovish noises about the Iraq fiasco, I think their loyalty to Israel, or their fear of the Israel lobby, almost certainly will snap them back into line during the coming "debate" over war with Iran.

I hope like hell I'm wrong about this, but I don't think I am. So I guess I'll just have to accept being labeled a traitor to the cause -- or whatever the hardcore partisans are calling it. Sure, why not. They're certainly free to follow their party over the cliff (we're all going over it anyway) but I'd at least prefer to do it with my eyes open.

The War Party

As usual, I've only snagged a few highlights. You need to go read the entire piece and preferably all of Billmon's analysis of the war.

I think he has captured the core political truth - the US will not say no to Israel - though I think he inflates the culpability of the Democrats in this. The nation as a whole, as disgusted as it allegedly is about the war, will jump up and salute if Bush says we must attack Iran in order to defend Israel. Iran is our Great Satan, as well as being the reason the neocons are in power in the US (think Iranian hostage crisis), and we like the role of big, moral defender of the endangered and downtrodden (the role, not the reality). The Dem leadership will see no alternative if the polls show support for bombing Iran on Israel's behalf. That they should stand up on principle and defy the general opinion of the nation is half-Mr. Smith, half-Norma Rae, and ain't going to happen.

I don't think most Americans comprehend just how fucked up the situation is in the Middle east, and don't think about it at anywhere near the necessary level of sophistication. It's easy to sell stupid. And the average Democrat is not that much smarter than the average Republican.


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