The War Party

This is refreshing – someone who recognizes that there is really just one political party in the US, as does Gore Vidal. Vidal called it the ruling class party, but the thought is there.

Left-Right Alliance Against War?
Jon Basil Utley | March 29, 2007
Editor: John Feffer

Americans opposed to war are a distinct minority. If the Iraq War were going well, most Americans would support it. Yet the Iraq venture has been such a disaster for America that peace groups have a chance to expose the pro-war interests in the nation and advance an alternative foreign policy based on law and international cooperation. Incredible war costs, a growing police state at home, loss of allies, and tremendous anti-Americanism abroad have given most Americans pause about our foreign policies.

Even so, Washington is on the verge of extending the war with an attack on Iran. To change American policy, we need to understand the differences between the antiwar movements on the Left and the Right before identifying how they might cooperate.

The War Party

The leadership of both parties supports war and empire. The Republican establishment’s war promoters include the big conservative foundations, congressional leadership, old-line media such as National Review and the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, and the Religious Right’s Armageddonites. The recent Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting suppressed any antiwar debate, while speaker after speaker denounced foreigners, immigrants, and Arabs. Cheers resonated for PATRIOT Act author John Yoo, and John Bolton was a banquet speaker. The current Republican presidential front-runners all favor continuing the wars in the Middle East.

Against the above some lonely libertarians and a very few constitutional conservatives opposed attacking Iraq, both in 2003 and before the first Gulf War in 1990. Although many Republicans opposed the Kosovo war, they did so mainly because a Democrat, Bill Clinton, started it. The rationale for that U.S. intervention, like with Iraq, was also based on falsifications.

Most Democratic congressional leaders also voted for the Iraq war. Outsider Howard Dean, a vocal opponent of the war, was blown away by the Democratic establishment in 2004. In a recent Washington Post analysis, political scientist Tony Smith explains why the Democrats can’t put together a successful vote against the Iraq war. Many of the Democrats, according to Smith, are influenced by an ideology of using American military power for Wilsonian ends. They take their cues from “special interests…that want an aggressive policy– globalizing corporations, the military-industrial complex, the pro-Israel lobbies, those who covet Middle Eastern oil.” The policies of these powerful “neo-liberals,” Smith writes, coincide with those of the “neo-conservatives.”

War is Washington’s big business. The military industrial complex has never been more profitable. Last year, 15,300 earmarks for defense spending went to projects carefully designed to gain adherents in every state. The F-22 fighter plane, for instance, has 1,000 subcontractors in 43 states. Electronic chips and secret superweapons are so complicated that profits can be hidden all along the production line well beyond the scrutiny of outsiders. Even newly planned missiles for Poland to “defend Europe” from Iran may be less about a grand strategic design than simply about selling more arms. Russia’s resultant concerns and European dismay are considered inconsequential.

Over and over, Washington’s War Party trumps the views of most business interests as well as the foreign policy and academic establishment. The consequences of Washington having made enemies of nearly a quarter of the human race, the Muslims, are only now unfolding. Yet the War Party continues to look for new conflicts, next with China, to justify the vast budget for weaponry mostly irrelevant to the War on Terror. The recent CPAC meeting and much of the conservative media are, for instance, full of dire warnings of a great Chinese military threat to America.

Read the rest here.

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