by James Corbett
January 30, 2013
Whatever one thinks of the George W. Bush administration and its historical legacy, there is one fact that is beyond dispute: the war in Iraq galvanized the left in a manner that had not been seen in the streets of America since the era of the Vietnam war. Leading up to the Democrats regaining of the House in the 2006 midterm elections, the calls for Bush’s (and, perhaps even more importantly, Cheney’s) impeachment were echoed across the left-wing blogosphere and spilled out onto the streets. This crusade was led by organizations like Veterans For Peace, Code Pink, and The World Can’t Wait, who used a combination of rallies, resolutions and headline-grabbing photo ops to make the point, sometimes quite literally, that the Bush administration had blood on its hands and must be removed from office.
One would have thought, given this fervent anti-war sentiment, that these same groups would be overjoyed that Republican congressmen would be willing to reach across the aisle and submit a resolution to impeach the Commander-in-Chief should he wage another unconstitutional war by committing American forces to the destruction of Syria without so much as authorization from Congress. In fact, just such a move did take place last year, but rather than applaud it, the very same supposedly “anti-war” left that was so active against Bush has done its level best to ignore the very existence of the resolution and silence its advocates.
The resolution, known as House Concurrent Resolution 107 or HCR 107, was submitted to the House Judiciary Committee last March by North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones, the same Congressman who sued President Obama for violating the War Powers Act by committing American forces to Libya without congressional approval.
HCR 107 states:
“It is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”
Last year I had the chance to talk to Congressman Walter Jones about the resolution, its origins, and its importance.
Such a resolution, if it had been introduced just a few years ago, would have seemed like manna from heaven for the left. Coming from a Republican, no less, it would have been the focal point for political action in the American anti-war movement. Coming as it did in 2012, however, few have even heard of the resolution.
You see, a funny thing happened four years ago. The letter following the President’s name switched from an “R” to a “D” and just like that, the energies and activism of the self-styled “anti-war” left evaporated overnight.
Under a Democrat, America could expand the so-called war on terror into Pakistan with impunity, because, after all, Obama is a Democrat and “doing what he must” to protect America from the threat of terror.
Under a Democrat, America could develop its drone strike program into a concerted warfare strategy, expanding it into Yemen, Somalia, and doubtless other countries not yet disclosed, and the “anti-war” advocates would fail to denounce it because, after all, he’s the President, and privy to information that we don’t have about emerging threats and hotspots.
Under a Democrat, the left is only too happy to look the other way while the President signs into law bills to detain Americans indefinitely without so much as a trial or develops a Presidential kill list that supposedly gives the commander-in-chief the authority to kill anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time, including American citizens, without even having to explain that decision, a power that he has in fact already invoked.
To be fair, no one is more baffled or frustrated by this turn of events than those members of the anti-war left who are genuinely anti-war. The ones who do not care what party the president is associated with or what colour his skin is. To these anti-war protesters, the ones who were inspired by the depravity of the Bush-era atrocities to join the activist organizations years ago, Obama is every bit as much a war criminal as Bush was, and every bit as deserving of impeachment.
This was expressed most visibly by the membership of Veterans For Peace, a non-profit organization of American veterans dedicated to abolishing war as an instrument of national policy. Last September at their national convention in Portland, the VFP membership passed a resolution by majority vote calling for the organization to officially call for the impeachment of Obama for war crimes. The resolution was closely modeled on a previous VFP call for the impeachment of Bush, outlining the case against Obama from his unconstitutional unauthorized war in Libya to the ongoing war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, concluding:
“Therefore Be It Resolved that Veterans For Peace call on the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Barack H. Obama for failure to uphold his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies foreign and domestic, and for his commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, obstruction of justice and the violation of numerous national and international laws, treaties and conventions.”
Amazingly, however, even after having been passed by a majority of its membership, the leadership of Veterans For Peace has, according to its own rank-and-file, done its level best to conceal the resolution and downplay the call for impeachment. In an article that has been widely circulated online, Phil Restino, the resolution’s chief proponent and a member of the Central Florida chapter of VFP, outlines how, exactly contrary to the Bush impeachment resolution has failed to promote the resolution or even make copies of it available to the public, and was pestered for over a year to make available a copy of the letter to Congress that they were required to send as a result of the resolution calling for Obama’s impeachment.
Last week, Phil Restino joined me on The Corbett Report to talk about Veterans For Peace and its leadership’s total unwillingness to pursue the impeachment of Obama.
When all of the facts are weighed, there is simply no other conclusion possible: the liberal “anti-war” left during the Bush years was never “anti-war” at all. They were anti-Republican. Unjust wars, after all, can only ever really be waged by Republican presidents, and the bombs and drones and instruments of warfare acquire magical properties under Democratic administrations where they only fall on the deserving and take the lives of the guilty.
The saddest part of all of this, of course, is that the prospect of impeachment and the chance for repudiation of the bloodthirsty American government is even further from the realm of political reality than it was under Bush. But another sad truth to fall out from this whole affair is that the left’s harshest critics were completely correct, after all: the anti-war movement was never about war after all. In the end, it turns out, the left now has the blood of Obama’s wars on their own hands.
The silver lining, if ever there was one, is that as a result of all of this there will be more and more waking up to the complete charade of party politics and realizing that a true, honest anti-war movement will have to be built from scratch, completely outside of the two-party duopoly.