One Progressive's Opinion
So the supplemental bill will probably pass soon, and progressive members will be voting for it, despite previous opposition that it didn't go far enough. Matt has lots of smart things to say about how to think of this, and why it's a "victory," however unsatisfying.
The Orangies also have some details. Here's the part of that discussion that interests me:
If a bill with a withdrawal deadline manages to clear both houses, as now seems possible, the media are likely to present it as a Democratic victory. That may put the squeeze on the President to make good on his promise to veto the bill. On the other hand, he may just muggle it up with one of his bizarre signing statements, taking the money, and tossing away the bit about withdrawal.
What he does will in part determine whether this will turn out to be better than no deal at all or a very bad deal.
I'm depressed. Because really- is there any doubt what "he will do?" Veto, signing statements, it's pretty much the same thing. He's the Imperial Majesty and we all serve at his pleasure, in Iraq, in the Justice Department, in the media.
So I guess I don't understand why there is any "doubt" about what will happen to this bill in the progressive blogosphere. People in it are smarter and more well read about these issues than I am. No one, I hope, expects Chimpy to do the right thing here.
One of the reasons why I didn't really get too excited about this bill is that doesn't end the war or bring troops home soon. What will it change? Nothing, so long as Chimpy decides things. He'll take the money (if he signs it) and say "thank you, suckers." Or he'll veto it, and we'll be back to square one, passing no-deadline funding measures because we "have to support the troops." Rinse, repeat, until every Iraqi is dead and all the oil is in a Western corporate pipeline.
A while back, I went to an old-school gathering of anti-war types, mostly old-timers who were not for the most part, members of the blogosphere. It was funny, and there were lots of silly people there, and I realized why so many centrists can still make fun of us. But one panel of speakers made a lot of sense, and were quite intelligent and Serious as they made their case. It was very simple: there is an imperative for impeachment, for it is the only thing that will truly end the war.
"Progressives" took that off the table upon entering office. Recently, I read that "progressive" members also are "still negotiating" about making Rove et al, testify. "Progressives" told those "ignorant liberals" who don't know anything about the way it works in Washington that this bill is really the first step to ending the war. Meanwhile, we're surging with more troops rather than fewer, and spending more money on Iraq than before, and our courts have given us the first taste of what to expect should any of us uppity Little People decide to sue the enablers of corporatism, denying the Enron victims the right to sue the accountants as well as Lay's people. The point I'm making here is that on all sides, it's very disheartening for a progressive like me. I have felt for a long, long time now that we don't operate in a normal democracy, and my leaders are telling me that by applying the tools of a normal democracy, we will defeat the Imperium. I suppose you can guess at what I think about that.
The war is going to go on, and on. Meanwhile, progressive members will spend weeks and months hashing out compromise bills that set goals and deadlines the Chimp will ignore. Money will continue to flow into Halliburton coffers, mercenary companies will continue to build their own private little empires in the sand, and I will continue to be considered a "fringe" and "magical" thinker who doesn't understand anything in reality. The last part I don't care about so much, but the other stuff disturbs me greatly.
Compromising with an authoritarian never works- they will always fuck you over in the end. Expecting anti-constitutionalists with a long, proven track record of ignoring the rule of law, to follow the law is foolish.
You know what I think? I think we're watching our progressives, who are decent and good people who care about the right things, being distracted with little games. Our Real Masters must love watching us play. Because here's what's going to happen: Hilbama will lose to Ghouliani in 2008, the war will not have ended by that time, and progressives will have helped to rehabilitate the discussion about the war, by having a long track record of bills funding the war, such that a "kinder, gentler" version of it may continue.
I guess it took a long time to get out of Vietnam too, so I should be patient.