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Friday, January 05, 2007

Why won’t the two-party monopoly bring the troops home? Thirty pieces of silver

(By Chris Moore, -- Just as the Democrats take control of Congress following their November victory, outrage is growing among progressives and independents over that party’s stubborn refusal to implement the electorate’s mandate of troop drawdown from Iraq. In fact, even more insulting to the party’s base and the moderate swing voters that provided it’s win, Democrat party leaders have actually embraced president Bush’s impending decision to increase the number of troops being shipped off to the war.

“The message on November 7 was clear. Voters threw out pro-war politicians and sent Democrats to Congress demanding an end to the Iraq war,” write Linda Schade and Kevin Zeese in Counter Punch. “Yet, it took only a few weeks for the Democratic leadership to betray the majority of Americans by quickly pledging to keep the war money flowing.”

Support for Bush’s planned “troop surge” is only 11%, note Schade and Zeese. Yet this option “is supported by Sen. John McCain, the leading likely Republican candidate for President; it is also supported by Sen. Hillary Clinton, the leading likely Democratic candidate, ‘if it has a purpose.’”

But that is really no surprise, notes John Walsh, in another Counter Punch missive. As far as the Washington elite are concerned, the GOP defeat “amounted only to a registration of national disgust over the war in Iraq but not one which would result in policy changes since the establishment Dems are solidly neocon in their foreign policy ­ especially when it comes to the Middle East and Israel.”

Back to Schade and Zeese: “If an overwhelming referendum by voters against the war is not enough to force a change in policy, what is left to voters in this democracy? If Americans marshal time, money and votes in support of winning candidates come away empty handed, what utility remains in the ballot box? If candidates, once elected, take office and spend vast sums of money against the explicit wishes of the voting public, what does that say of our democracy?”

The short answer is that our government is no longer a democracy at all, but rather an oligarchy being run for the benefit of a ruling coalition of wealthy Jewish nationalists, Christian Zionists and corporate interests whose agendas stand to benefit by defying the will of the American voters and keeping the troops in Iraq. Because these interests have bought and paid for most of the politicians in the two-party monopoly through ongoing campaign donations, future job and networking promises or other financial rewards, they are the ones that receive representation, average voters be damned.

When Schade and Zeese express shock that once elected, politicians use “vast sums of money against the explicit wishes of the voting public,” they forget that that is exactly what they were paid by their wealthy campaign contributors to do once in office.

Opposition to the Iraq war among Americans may be broad, but support for escalation of the war in Iraq, and perhaps even pushing the troops on into Iran, is deep--deep pocketed, that is.

This entire perverse phenomenon of policy-for-sale is nicely illustrated by going through several paragraphs of an article that recently appeared in the Jewish daily Forward about fundraising for GOP Senator John McCain’s fledgling presidential bid.

‘Arizona Senator John McCain has scored an early victory in the battle between GOP presidential frontrunners by locking up support from several New York-area Republican moneymen also coveted by his northeastern rival, former Big Apple mayor Rudy Giuliani,” the article says. “McCain’s stable of national finance co-chairs includes Lewis Eisenberg, a multimillionaire financier from Rumson, N.J. who previously served as finance chairman for the Republican National Committee and was a key fundraiser for former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman.’

The article continues: ‘McCain’s heavily Jewish finance committee includes [junk bond billionaire Henry] Kravis; Mark Broxmeyer, a Long Island real estate magnate; Dr. Ben Chouake, president of the New Jersey-based pro-Israel political action committee Norpac, and Barbara Sobel, whose husband, entrepreneur Clifford Sobel, is a major GOP fundraiser who was appointed by President Bush as ambassador to the Netherlands and later Brazil.’

So we know McCain has locked up the support of a network of very wealthy Jewish nationalists, all of who will be in a position to tap into their own deep pockets and those of their rich and well connected associates to aid McCain. But just how much money can they secure for his campaign, and what, exactly, do they expect in return for their services? The Forward article continues:

‘According to Chouake, members of the New York-area finance committee have pledged to raise a minimum of $50,000 each. He said that he personally had approached the campaign with an offer of support, based on his concern about the situation in the Middle East. “The 800-pound gorilla in the room right now is Iran,” Chouake told the Forward.’

That’s several hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions right there--and at least some of it explicitly connected to McCain’s willingness to confront Iran in the future. But there are other Republicans (like Giuliani) who are also willing to confront Iran; what in McCain’s background might have attracted this particular group of Jewish nationalists to his campaign?

‘For years, McCain, who has been calling for more American troops to be sent to Iraq, has developed strong ties with neoconservatives in Washington, sharing their hawkish voices on several key fronts. In recent weeks, McCain has been signaling that an attention to Jewish issues will remain on his agenda as his campaign moves forward.’

So McCain was instrumental in partnering with the neocons to embroil America in the disastrous Iraq war, and he has signaled he’s willing to continue the pursuit of “Jewish issues” at the expense of American ones. But just what does this entail?

‘In a December 10 address at Yeshiva University, McCain said that withdrawing American troops from Iraq precipitously “is to risk catastrophe,” leading to the possibility of a failed state in a strategic region. He also defended America’s larger strategy of promoting democracy in the Middle East.’

And so there, in a nutshell, you have it. The chain of events couldn’t be more obvious: McCain taps into wealthy Jewish nationalists for campaign support and contributions and in return agrees to continue sacrificing the lives of American soldiers in Iraq on behalf of Greater Israel; if he gets elected president, he will be expected to do the same in Iran--again at the behest of Israel, and again under the guise of promoting Mideast democracy.

And after that, Syria? Lebanon? Palestine? It all depends on where the latest “Jewish issues” lead him.

Now multiply McCain’s experience by hundreds of members of Congress, including Hillary Clinton, throw in campaign contributions from oil companies and military contractors who also profit from dead American soldiers in the Middle East, and in the end you get the real reasons the Democrats and Republicans refuse bring the troops home from Iraq.

As far as “moneymen” go, it’s not a bad bargain for 30 pieces of silver.

Chris Moore is publisher of