There are plenty of reasons the Democrats continue
to support the ongoing occupation of Iraq. Not only did they authorize the invasion,
they continue to sit on their hands while our armed forces commit murder in
the name of democracy in Haditha.
Perhaps the worst of the Democrats still embracing the illegal war is Sen.
Hillary Clinton. And despite her unwillingness to engage the antiwar community,
she still receives substantial support from those who say they don't support
On June 3, Clinton won the coveted ballot line of the Working
Families Party in New York, even though the WFP was one of the first to
oppose the war on Iraq four years ago. It was a sign of what's to come as Hillary
sets herself up for a presidential run down the road, where alleged antiwar
groups like MoveOn.org will likely rush to defend Hillary against a Republican
challenger, despite her deadly foreign policy positions. But let's hope Hillary
never makes it that far.
Capitulation, like the WFP's last week, only serves to make Hillary worse than
she already is. Not that the Democrats will ever come out in opposition to the
Iraq war, but they surely aren't going to do so as long as the antiwar movement
supports them simply because they aren't Republicans. And the WFP even had a
legitimate alternative in Jonathan Tasini, Clinton's antiwar primary challenger.
Tasini has come head-to-head with the Democratic elite in his efforts to hold
Clinton accountable for her depraved war stance. Late last month at the New
York Democratic state convention, Tasini tried to introduce an antiwar resolution
that would have called for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
His party wouldn't hear it. Democratic officials said Tasini hadn't followed
the rules by introducing the resolution 15 days in advance. Tasini contends
he was misinformed and insists that Clinton's camp was behind the sabotage.
"There is absolutely no question Hillary Clinton doesn't want a debate on the
war," says Tasini.
At the same convention, Clinton snobbishly accepted her party's nomination,
and ignored Tasini's potential challenge – "potential", because Tasini
is not guaranteed a spot on the Democrats' primary ballot in September. His
campaign still needs to turn in 15,000 signatures from registered New York Democrats
before his name will appear on the ballot. If he fails to do so, his campaign
will be over.
That's the futility of running antiwar campaigns in Democratic primaries against
party elites like Hillary Clinton. Besides, only registered Democrats in New
York can vote in the primaries, which in this case would ignore the fact that
the antiwar movement is more diverse than just grassroots Democrats.
But that's how the Democrats stifle debate. Instead of addressing the issue,
they'll silence those who aren't in line with their positions. And that raises
the question: why even run antiwar campaigns inside the Democratic Party, as
Tasini is trying to do?
If the antiwar movement were politically savvy, it would be thinking ahead
to Hillary Clinton's expected run for president in 2008. We'd be putting pressure
on the senator now from outside the party instead of waiting until more
bodies in Iraq pile up and more tax dollars are spent on slaughtering innocent
civilians. The antiwar movement shouldn't be supporting Democrats, period. The
primaries, as Tasini's campaign has experienced (like Dennis Kucinich in 2004),
are rigged in favor of the pro-war establishment.
The truth is, Democrats and Republicans aren't going to end this war. We will,
by refusing to play by their rules.