Saturday, June 28, 2014

Who Wants War? Who Is Still Part Of Richard Nixon's Tribe?


Although many NeoCons are tiptoeing around it, Cheney isn't. They all want to send American troops tonight for corporate profits in Iraq again but only Cheney is actually saying it on TV-- although 206 Republicans and 44 Democrats voted for it on June 19 when they opposed Barbara Lee's amendment to prohibit the use of funds for newer military operations in Iraq. 142 Democrats voted for the amendment and there were only 23 Republicans with the good sense (or guts) to cross the aisle and vote with them. These are the 23 Republicans:
Justin Amash (R-MI)
Dan Benishek (R-MI)
Paul Broun (R-GA)
Michael Burgess (R-TX)
Mike Coffman (R-CO)
Steve Daines (R-MT)
Jimmy Duncan (R-TN)
Chris Gibson (R-NY)
Walter Jones (R-NC)
Raul Labrador (R-ID)
Tom Massie (R-KY)
Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Tom Petri (R-WI)
Bill Posey (R-FL)
Reid Ribble (R-WI)
Scott Rigell (R-VA)
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Dave Schweikert (R-AZ)
Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Steve Stockman (R-TX)
Ted Yoho (R-FL)
Don Young (R-AK)
The rest of the House Republicans, in effect, all voted that sending troops back into Iraq, ala Cheney, is just fine. And that made me think back to the war that ravaged my generation, the Vietnam conflagration Cheney was slippery enough to avoid without going into exile or prison. I'm reading Rick Perlstein's incredible new book, The Invisible Bridge right now and all the Republican treachery around the rescue of 5 year American prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl reminded me of Perlstein's retelling of the end of the Vietnam was and the return of U.S. prisoners. Republicans reacted very differently to those returning prisoners. Perlstein points out how the staged propaganda bonanza Nixon tried turning the spectacle into helped drive the country apart.
There were two tribes of Americans now.

One comprised the suspicious circles, which has once been small, but now were exceptionally broad, who considered the self-evident lesson of the 1960s and the low, dishonest war that defined the decade to be the imperative to question authority, unsettle ossified norms, and expose dissembling leaders-- a new, higher patriotism for the 1970s. They lived, for example, in the sleepy suburb of Northern California visited by a New York Times writer who reported back that "people think and feel differently from what they once did. They ask questions, the reject assumptions, they doubt what they are told." They said things like, "Now I'd rather not say the pledge; it has such little meaning to me. The things that are in it, just aren't true." They even included, amongst their numbers, career military men, like the returned POW who told NBC how he appreciated returning to a country finally willing to reconsider it's prejudices-- "shedding its Linus blankets, starting too think for itself." They included officials of the big, "mainline" Protestant churches, who took out a full-page ad in the New York Times, on the day the last POW came home, criticizing Nixon for hosting South Vietnam's torture-master president, for whose preservation the nation had sacrificed some fifty-eight-thousand soldiers and billions of dollars of treasure, as "a spiritual disaster for Americaa"; and the American Psychological Association officially proclaimed that the POWs had "been assigned the role of heroes in a war that has no heroes, the central role in an elaborate drama staged to provide justification for the President's policy,to create the illusion of victory and to arouse a sense of patriotic fervor."

And they included Lyndon Johnson's former press secretay, Bill Moyers, whose job at once been to sell America on the nobility of the Vietnam cause, and who was now an avuncular commentator for the Public Broadcasting Service. On TV he grilled General Maxwell Taylor about whether the recent "unworthy and unwinnable war" had made it harder to recruit forces for the new all-volunteer force, now that the draft had ended with the beginning of 1973. The general responded that those who had fought in Vietnam would refuse that characterization. Moyers asked why, if that were so, record numbers of them had deserted. The general insisted that was only because they had been poisoned by the liberal media. Moyers then asked why, if that was the case, so many of our allied European governments opposed the Vietnam War, too. Taylor responded that this was because so many of them read the U.S. press-- which, he said, should have been subject to wartime censorship.

General Taylor had once been favorite general of Kennedy-era liberals. Robert F. Kennedy had called him "relentless in the determination to get at the truth," and named one of his songs after him. Now Maxwell Taylor was the tribune of the other tribe, the one that found another lesson to be self-evident: never break faith with God's chosen nation, especially in time of war-- truth be damned.

This was Richard Nixon's tribe.
Not much changes, huh? It was painful on June 19, however, to see 44 Democrats who voted in such a way as to indicate for anyone who was willing to open their eyes that they were, despite the "D" next to their names, part of the Richard Nixon tribe. Several of them-- Steny Hoyer, Jim Clyburn, Streve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz-- have bought their way into top House Democratic leadership positions and they are making sure that many of these members of Nixon's tribes get nearly all the money the Democratic Party is allocating for incumbents in the 2014 election. Everyone listed below is on the DCCC incumbent protect list and is part of that Nixon tribe that voted for more war in Iraq. Read 'em and weep:
John Barrow (GA)
Tim Bishop (NY)
Julia Brownley (CA)
Cheri Bustos (IL)
Bill Enyart (IL)
Pete Gallego (TX)
Collin Peterson (MN)
Raul Ruiz (CA)

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