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Reclaiming America: Democrats Must Truly Change Course PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Friday, 24 November 2006 03:21

Reclaiming America: Democrats Must Truly Change Course

The Democrats' ascendancy within the US Congress could signal the regaining by the public, of its country's direction

Ramzy Baroud ~ Coupled with an earlier assertion by former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz -- now the head of the World Bank -- at the National Press Club that Iraq "is not my problem", and former Defense Department official Douglas Feith's abandoning of politics altogether for a teaching position at Georgetown University, one can rest assured that the future of the disastrous "Project for A New American Century" is, at best, uncertain.

www.palestinechronicle.com

Reclaiming America: Democrats Must Truly Change Course

The Democrats' ascendancy within the US Congress could signal the regaining by the public, of its country's direction

The astounding results of the US Congressional elections of 7 November were
undoubtedly a welcome sign of change, not in the American political
apparatus, inasmuch as it is in the unmistakable reclamation by the public
of its role as the driving force which shapes the nation's political posture

This having been said, one must not confuse the redefining of the public
relevance to political discourse and processes, with the political
machination and platforms entrusted with translating the people's will,
grievances or aspirations into action. The early signs are not promising
however, and suggest that for any practical change to be achieved and
consolidated, public awareness and engagement must, for their part, be
neither marginalised nor relegated.

Most analyses agree that Iraq was indeed the decisive factor that helped
turn the tide against the Republicans and their president, with their tired
mantras and slogan-based foreign policy. The decisive outcome of the
elections was a resounding message that Americans can no longer operate on
the basis of fear alone, and that the people of the United States are no
longer self-absorbed and incapable of shaping their overall political
outlook on the basis of exterior factors. This time, it was not the economy,
but war that wrought an end, even if temporarily, to President George W
Bush's administration's expansionist and even imperialist view of the world.

For a few days, one indulged in the sweetness of victory, at the sight of
neo-conservative ideologues collectively disowning their hegemonic project
and their once-hailed hero, now a lame duck president. The January issue of
Vanity Fair magazine is scheduled to highlight the full scale of the
neocons' historic disintegration. David Rose has reported on his findings,
quoting the war architects themselves: former chairman of the Pentagon's
Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee Richard Perle, and former White
House speechwriter David Frum, among others. Frum, who coined the "axis of
evil" slogan, told Rose that the situation in Iraq "must ultimately be
blamed on failure at the centre, starting with President Bush".

Coupled with an earlier assertion by former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul
Wolfowitz -- now the head of the World Bank -- at the National Press Club
that Iraq "is not my problem", and former Defense Department official
Douglas Feith's abandoning of politics altogether for a teaching position at
Georgetown University, one can rest assured that the future of the
disastrous "Project for A New American Century" is, at best, uncertain. Not
even the most hopeful amongst us foresaw such an outcome, nor the chain
reaction that it is generating, starting with the dismissal of Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the expected relegation of Vice-President Dick
Cheney's position as a key player, in shaping the country's future foreign
policy direction.

The post-election scene is indeed consistent with the larger picture, where
the architects of war in both the US and Britain, and their faithful allies
in Spain and Italy, are also plummeting. The downfall came in the form of
awesome crashes for some, such as the ones that brought down Spain's Jose
Maria Aznar and Italy's once invincible Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi,
last April. The outcome of the US elections was no less remarkable; the
latest episode, in fact, is expected to reverberate for years to come.

The defeat of the Republican Party however, should not be understood as one
that substantiates the ways of the Democrats. The latter offered no
practicable solution to the Iraq war. Moreover, their party fought and won
the elections with a majority of its nominees challenging the need, even,
for a timetable for withdrawal. It is also worth noting that Democrats are
equally responsible for the Iraq war: after all, a majority of their members
in Congress voted for it, tirelessly justifying it on legal, moral and
national security grounds.

The voters' dissatisfaction with Bush's 'staying the course' approach,
perhaps inadvertently, invited Democrats back to a leadership position by a
comfortable margin at the House of Representatives. This development takes
place now, after years of indecisiveness and, frankly, of lack of purpose
and cohesion. Despite the fact that it was the antiwar fervour that created
the opportunity for the Democrat's political recovery, it could also be the
reason sending them back into a state of lengthy hibernation.

The 7 November vote was a mandate that imagined a less hostile and more
sensible and prudent America. The vote could be said to envisage a country
that neither negotiates its civil liberties, nor 'pre-emptively' engages in
brutal wars that damage its global reputation and compromise its national
security. But does the Democratic leadership share that same vision, or will
it simply try to manipulate its supposedly 'antiwar' image -- illusory as it
is -- to advance its narrow and self-serving political ambitions?

While British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- hardly known for his political
autonomy -- had the audacity to concede to the long-held argument that
solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the key to a stable Middle East,
the Democratic leadership continues to reassert its unwarranted allegiance
to the government of Israel. This latter's violent, long and cruel
occupation of the Palestinian territories has brought tremendous harm to the
Palestinian people, serving as a rallying cry for anti-Americanism and,
indeed, terrorism throughout the Middle East, and far beyond.

Rep Nancy Pelosi, groomed to be the speaker of the House when the Democrats
claim the Congressional throne next year, not only disagrees with Blair's
recent revelations to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, but is so archaic and
self- defeating in her ideas that she sounds more like an iconic Zionist
figure, than a moderate American politician. In her speech to the
American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last year she asserted
that, "There are those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is
all about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. This is absolute
nonsense. In truth, the history of the conflict is not over occupation and
never has been: it is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist."

If this supposed 'progressive' figure continues to deceive the American
people regarding the iniquitous nature of her country's role in prolonging
the instability of the Middle East, thus committing America to more violence
and counter violence, then, Pelosi and the entire Democratic Party behind
her would find themselves answering to the same discontented public two
years from today. Moreover, if Israel, despite its horrendous crimes in the
region, which again serve as a powerful force behind counter violence and
international terrorism, continues to be treated as a Sacred Cow by American
politicians, then Americans should expect that their country, willingly or
not, will 'stay the course', if not in Iraq, then elsewhere.

It is mind-boggling that after so many years, and particularly five years of
reprehensible bloodshed that has been mainly inspired by the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict, few American politicians possess the courage
to say it as it is. However, while discounting this conflict as an 'internal
Israeli affair' in past years was acceptable by American political
standards, it will no longer suffice. Such a summary dismissal is now
threatening global stability altogether, and will continue to inch America
closer to more pointless, albeit bloody conflicts.

To prevent the exodus of Empire-driven neo-conservative ideologues from
being replaced by self-deceiving, Israel-comes-first Democrats, the American
public must not be satisfied with its democratic revolution of early
November. Americans must continue to push for a truly equitable, sensible
and revolutionary foreign policy. It should be one that goes beyond hollow
dictum and reasserts America's leadership globally. If it fails to do so,
then America's Middle East conflict will perpetuate at an exorbitant price.
This will be paid by ordinary Americans, and innocent people everywhere.

-Paperback of Ramzy Baroud?s book, the Second Palestinian Intifada: A
Chronicle of a People?s Struggle (Pluto Press, London) is available
everywhere and can be purchased from Amazon.com.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 November 2006 03:21
 

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