The struggle is about whether to be the Party of War or the Party of Peace.
Wednesday night, 27 July 2016: At the Democratic National Convention, Leon Panetta, longtime Democrat who served as Director of the CIA as well as Secretary of Defense, takes the stage to deliver a rousing speech in praise of Hillary Clinton and specifically her bona fides to become Commander-in-Chief.
“Hillary Clinton is the most prepared and qualified person to ever run for President of the United States,” Panetta declared as he extolled Hillary’s commitment to “America’s Defense” while dismissing Donald Trump as unqualified for “taking Russia’s side”.
Suddenly, from the Oregon delegation, the chants started up:
“NO MORE WARS! … NO MORE WARS!”
Panetta had to stop several times. The organizers shut off the lights over the raucous delegation, hoping to tamp down their protests. But the chants only increased: “NO MORE DRONES!” they shouted. And in a clear reference to their forbears of the 60’s: “LOVE NOT WAR!”
More delegates joined in.
It was clear that the “Sanders Wing” of the Party was not happy about being addressed by a man who embodied and led not only America’s world-straddling military hegemony but also a shadowy organization that had tortured civilians; a man who himself had been an enthusiastic cheerleader for the CIA’s illegal Drone Wars.
And the fact that Panetta had first reached fame by serving as Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff and enforcing some of the most egregious neoliberal policies enacted in Clinton’s 1996 Budget probably did not serve to endear him to the chanting Berniecrats either.
But then an amazing thing happened.
In order to drown out the cries of “no more war,” the Democratic faithful, the Hillary contingent sitting in front of and around the anti-war delegates, started shouting:
“U-S-A! … U-S-A! … U-S-A!”
It was like going back in time to where the SDS was clashing with the VFW. Or, perhaps even more recently, where “peacenik” Democrats were confronting “war-hawk” Republicans.
Many people forget just what a showcase for the military industrial security complex the 2016 Democratic National Convention really was. Over the course of the three days, many military and intelligence luminaries marched onto the stage in Philly, along with military families whose loved ones had died in one of America’s many wars.
These people were from widely different backgrounds, but they were all there to hammer home one key message: that Hillary Clinton would be stronger on defense and protect the country much better than the “Putin Puppet” Donald Trump, who had been preaching better relations with Russia all during his campaign.
Indeed, Hillary had made War a centerpiece of her campaign even before she began running. She was, after all, responsible for the dismemberment of Libya, having convinced a reluctant Obama to attack despite his misgivings. Hillary wanted to show she was tough, and when asked about the brutal murder of Muammar Gaddafi, she literally laughed and summarized the destruction of Libya and its descent into chaos by cackling lustily: “we came, we saw, he died.”
It was Hillary who wanted confrontation with Russia in Syria. She wanted to declare a No-Fly Zone to ground Russian planes, and shoot them down if they disobeyed. She worked hard all through the campaign to portray herself as the ultimate “Russia Hawk” and Trump as a “useful idiot” for Vladimir Putin.
All of this of course played right into the post-election story of how “Russian meddling” actually gave Trump the electoral victory.
The Democratic Party is now split on the subject of War and Peace. The Establishment Democrats are bent on becoming the belligerent, bellicose, warmongering wing of the Party, whereas the socialist“Bernie Wing” is more on the peace-loving side.
In this way, we see once again the “split” in the Democratic Party, with the Berniecrats adopting the policies and visions of FDR and the Establishment Democrats channeling Ronald Reagan with all their might.
Indeed, in his famous address at Madison Square Garden, New York City, October 31, 1936, FDR said the following:
“We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs.”
This quote actually describes the current Establishment wing of the Democratic Party and its benefactors on Wall Street and in the Military Industrial Complex.
Democrats like Adam Schiff have been tireless in their promotion of the idea that “Russia attacked our Democracy.” They have created an atmosphere of fear based on a perceived existential threat by Russia, and this hysteria has led to the amazing fact that in the past 2 years of “RussiaGate” dominating Democratic and Media narratives, the US Defense Budget jumped by 40% over what it was at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
There is a reason for that, as explained in Jacobin:
Perhaps not surprisingly, Schiff’s list of campaign contributors in recent years is littered with the names of prominent defense contractors. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Orbital ATK, Harris Corporation, and Raytheon all make an appearance. The latter has given the California representative a total of $64,015 over the course of his career, and in 2013, its PAC held a fundraiser for him at the Verizon Center headlined by Beyoncé. That same year, Schiff was treated to a fundraiser by Igor Pasternak, a blimp manufacturer who returned to Ukraine and, inspired by the 2014 revolution, began working with the country’s defense ministry.
Indeed, over 60% of House Democrats and 90% of Senate Democrats voted for the recent giant increase in military spending. These votes reflect a depressingly ironic fact: the Democrats are now the ones that are pushing for a more muscular military and a more confrontational “defense posture”.
Regime Change is Now a Pillar of Democrat Foreign Policy
Most people probably know that regime change in Iran is a major goal for the GOP. But that is only because it is a major goal for Israel. The Democrats however are also in the thrall of Bibi Netanyahu, and so they are now also determined to push for regime change in Iran. They are doing so by supporting a horrible group called the MEK.
The MEK is a fanatical Iranian group that actually fought on the side of Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War. President Bill Clinton listed the MEK as a terrorist group for having killed a series of US Army Colonels and many other US personnel and contractors throughout the 70’s. They were steadfast allies of Saddam Hussein, who armed them, housed them and fed them for years.
But in 2013 then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took them OFF the terrorist list and arranged for the group to be given safe harbour in Albania, where they are living today, receiving training and funding from the US in preparation for a possible invasion of Iran.
Watch this video of John Bolton. Then realise that Nancy Pelosi regretted she could not also be there, but did send best wishes and all her support.
Even Nancy Pelosi releases statement in support of MEK gathering in Paris & proclaims she’s committed to a “free & democratic Iran”https://t.co/iqCzunLu1V
— Sina Toossi (@SinaToossi) July 1, 2018
Don’t worry, Military Industrialists, the Democrats got your back. We will support wars of choice and fund even the most despicable groups as long as their weapons are “Made in the USA.”
This trend has been going on for some time. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was by far the largest recipient of donations from defense contractor employees. As The Center for Public Integrity pointed out at the time:
The Democrat-targeted donations may also reflect the fact that the party’s highest elected official, President Barack Obama, has called for a $2.4 billion increase in defense spending for fiscal year 2017, and many Democratic lawmakers have said they support that request — even though polls show the public does not agree.
Let us be clear: the Democratic Socialist “wave” that is currently washing over the Democratic Party has at its heart a determination to, as Bernie Sanders has said, reallocate our resources by spending much less on the military. It is little wonder, then, that Sanders is opposed not just by the GOP but also by centrist Democrats who are also receiving massive donations from the Military Industrial Security Complex.
How strange this all is. For those of us who remember Vietnam, it seems like bizarro world, where up is down and black is white. I suppose it is only a matter of time before we start seeing Toyota Priuses with bumper stickers that say, “America, Love It or Leave It” and “Better Dead than Red.”
Be sure to also read:
Yes, There is a Civil War Within the Democratic Party — it’s Just Not What You Think
EuroYankee is a dual citizen, US-EU. He travels around Europe, writing on politics, culture and such. He pays his US taxes so he gets to weigh in on what is happening in the States.