You Can Thank George W. Bush’s War on Terror for Donald Trump
The Vietnam War is one of the main factors contributing to the destruction of the New Deal political coalition. And as that happens, the 1973 oil shock hits, the Volcker shock hits, then austerity. Reaganism. The Democratic Party’s response to much of this is to abandon its ties to its working class, becoming less a working-class party and much more a cosmopolitan, middle-class and increasingly upper-middle-class party.
One consequence of this is that elite Democrats understand foreign policy only as something that can harm them through the application of Cold War politics, and then also that a reasonable alternative conception that can be offered by the Democratic Party is one more enlightened leadership is America’s global military, geopolitical, and geoeconomic systems — that, contrary to these mad Republicans and their Cold War theological notions, it is the Democratic Party’s cadre of technocrats, properly formed in positions of moronic authority in places like the State Department , then the Pentagon and sometimes even the CIA, who are the appropriate stewards of this venture of American power.
John Kerry is a distinguished Vietnam veteran who courageously joins Vietnam Veterans Against the War and speaks with tremendous candor and power about the horrors of Vietnam and conceptualizes them in much broader, deeper dimensions of American foreign policy. He does so in such harsh language that he inspires the hatred of many revanchist Vietnam veterans who will ultimately fuel Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 election and lie and say that Kerry faked his Vietnam War wounds and accordingly disrespect should have that we show troops and veterans, especially in the post-9/11 era.
Kerry and Biden, who were senators in 1990, voted against the first Gulf War. The first Gulf War is immediately seen as a great success. All predictions that there will be a second Vietnam are overtaken by events. It’s like a ninety day war. It ends with what looks like a crucial conclusion. For this reason, Kerry and Biden consider their anti-war votes to be grave political blunders.
Let’s just take Biden for a moment, because he’s the current president. If you ever want an odd experience while experiencing or reliving a major “M” moment in the war on terror, go to YouTube or go to CSPAN and check out Biden’s speech. It’s about an hour from October 10, 2002 when he votes on the resolution to invade Iraq.
Biden is doing something a little different. Biden is framing his vote for war as a way to weaken the Bush administration’s neoconservatives, whom he sincerely despises. This is wild. What he means is a reference to an open political secret that Secretary of State Colin Powell opposes the neocon faction Paul Wolfowitz and their big patrons in the Bush administration, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, for changing the course of the Iraq war . Powell’s course is one that runs through the United Nations. And theoretically – that would be a theory disproved, after all – if Bush pursued a course through the United Nations to call for stricter weapons inspections, all nations in the Security Council would vote for it as an alternative to war. That might actually resolve the crisis so that an invasion isn’t necessary because you might find that Saddam Hussein is unarmed.
Now this is all one gigantic deception. This is a war foretold. And what Powell really did was make the war accessible to respectable people because it followed the liberal rules of the process. So, in his speech, Biden is not only arguing for strengthening Powell’s approach, but actually gloating over the neocons about how he’s had all these great conversations with Bush and Condoleezza Rice and the neocons are being marginalized.
When the war happens, Biden makes a series of speeches about how he worries about this or that concern, and misleading the public about weapons of mass destruction was wrong. But he’s the most important elected Democrat when it comes to foreign policy, and he’s behind this thing. Not only does he get behind this thing, he finds it increasingly difficult to find the right position to reject it.
Biden runs a bit into the New Republic in which he says yes, this is going badly because the Bush administration is so incompetent. But no, we can’t go. We have a real mission to fulfill in Iraq. And the play is completely incoherent. It ended up going so wrong that Biden proposes dividing up Iraq. The United States has just invaded that country, totally destroyed it, privatized everything, installed an unelected clique of mostly Iraqi exiles, and then, as the Resistance coalesces, engaged in acts of routine barbarism, and Biden’s response is the division of the country to demand country. This has the amazing effect of uniting warring Iraqi civil war fighters – for example, who the hell do you think you’ve already invaded and occupied our country, decimated our daily lives and now think you could redefine the borders of this country?