Feb 4, 2007
A lifetime ago, when the British rock band, the Beatles were at the top of the charts, and before cable TV and the reign of computers, anti-war activists sang a haunting chorus as they demonstrated by the tens of thousands at the Pentagon: "All we are saying, is give peace a chance."
Decades later, and there is still war (albeit in another place, and for another 'cause'), and demonstrations seem far less potent than times past.
American imperialism, unshackled by the prospect of a true global rival, now fairly bellows in the face of its own unpopularity (in the voice of its acolytes, like George W. Bush): "Give war a chance."
The Iraq invasion and occupation has been an admitted disaster, and those who called for it the loudest are deserting that sinking ship like rats on a wharf.
The US imperial president, flirting with disapproval numbers that rivals Nixon's at the height of the Watergate scandal, is overwhelming only in his irrelevance, and perhaps his inability to convince anybody to believe his blather about the so-called 'war on terror.'
So, in light of the administration's latest maneuver to support the flagging war with 'new ideas' about a "surge", the White House and its minions on the Hill are asking Americans to 'give the president's plan a chance.'
In the face of this catastrophe, what is the role of Congress?
It proposes to debate, and then, after debating, to issue a nonbinding resolution, which condemns the current troop build-up, and also critiques the president's present handling of the war.
In essence, Congress agrees to say, 'We don't like what you're doing, but we won't stop it.'
This, in a time of war, a war launched on lies and subterfuge.
Apparently, over 600,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead Americans, and over 400 billion dollars lost in this failing effort, isn't quite enough.
In fact, the Congress could stop the war today, by cutting the war budget. But it won't do this, for it might endanger a congressman's future political prospects.
Most of the millions of people who voted in the mid-term elections did so to send a strong anti-war message.
The majority party heading both houses of Congress has indeed changed, but little else has. It has resolved to issue words, while the president launches bombs.
And given his profoundly neoconservative bent, it is entirely possible that, before the remaining two years have passed through time's hourglass, the US may've launched a strike against Iran.
Even now we hear the media stirrings, provocations meant to soften up the American populace for a new 'preemptive war.'
What did your votes really mean?
Do you really still believe that you live in a democracy?
What you voted for, and what you believe, is ultimately irrelevant.
The words of the legendary Black freedom fighter, Frederick Douglass echo through the annals of time: "Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has, and never will."
Voting is never enough.
These ruinous wars didn't begin in a voting booth; nor will voting, standing alone, end them.
It will take much stronger stuff.
Copyright 2007 Mumia Abu-Jamal