The Truce is Over
The Joe Lieberman website says the nonbinding resolution opposing the US presence in Iraq has created the potential for a Constitutional crisis. "The potential for a constitutional crisis here and now is real, with congressional interventions, presidential vetoes, and Supreme Court decisions. If there was ever a moment for nonpartisan cooperation to agree on a process that will respect both our personal opinions about this war and our nation's interests over the long term, this is it."
When people describe themselves as Anti-War; that they want to end the War, the unasked question is which one. During the 1960s America engaged in two wars. One overseas and the other at home. One may have ceased but the second has never ended. Nor will the "anti-War" crowd ever end it until they achieve final and unconditional victory.
That's why the outcome of the "Vietnam War" doesn't refer to the resolution of foreign conflict forty years old but to a perceived -- and permanent -- domestic outcome in America. Just as the Civil War abolished slavery, "Vietnam" was regarded as having abolished American "imperialism" overseas forever. And even though this "outcome" was never the explicit war aim of the Peace Movement; nor even did they claim it a victory, it remained at least within a minority, the Legacy of the 1960s. The antipathy of the Left towards Ronald Reagan and George Bush cannot be rationally explained without appreciating that, in their eyes at least, the conservatives were embarked on a "rolling back" of the gains of history; that they were trying to undo the results of the Civil Rights Movement and the Legacy of Vietnam.
Iraq may be a cultural and physical world away from Vietnam, but the domestic landscape of that earlier conflict resembles what it is today. Lieberman correctly characterized the Democratic resolution as a footstomping yell of "no".
Senator Lieberman argued that the non binding resolution, "proposes nothing. It contains no plan for victory or retreat... It is a strategy of "no," while our soldiers are saying, "yes, sir" to their commanding officers as they go forward into battle."
But it is a "no" to everything. A yell of outrage and pain that "their" world has been destroyed by George W. Bush. One might timidly point out that Osama Bin Laden and radical Islam might have had something to do with it, but that will be ruled out of order because the crime -- and you have to understand the crime -- could only have been committed domestically. By Republicans. By enemy Americans.
Senator Lieberman closed with a call for unity, "Whatever our differences here in this chamber, about this war, let us never forget the values of freedom and democracy that unite us and for which our troops have given and today give the last full measure of their devotion. Yes, we should vigorously debate and deliberate. That is not only our right, it is our responsibility. But at this difficult juncture, at this moment when a real battle, a critical battle is being waged in Baghdad, as we face a brutal enemy who attacked us on 9/11 and wants to do it again, let us not just shout at one another, but let us reach out to one another to find that measure of unity that can look beyond today's disagreements and secure the nation's future and the future of all who will follow us as Americans."
Fat chance. The Peace Movement doesn't want unity. It wants war. War until the world it is fighting for is unconditionally and irreversibly established. That a government for the masses, of the masses and by the masses, should briefly flicker on the face of the earth.