How much easier it is to raise three–or 3 million–rousing tweets for the demonstrators in Tehran than to mount any sort of political resistance at home! Here we have a new Democratic president, propelled into office on a magic carpet of progressive pledges, now methodically flouting them one by one, with scarcely a twit or even a tweet raised in protest, aside from the gallant efforts of Medea Benjamin, Russell Mokhiber and their comrades at the healthcare hearings in Congress.
At the end of June US troops will leave Iraq’s cities, and many of them will promptly clamber onto military transports and redeploy to Obama’s war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There’s been no hiccup in this smooth transition from the disastrous invasion of Iraq to Obama’s escalation farther east. The Twittering classes are mostly giving Obama a pass on this one or actively supporting it. Where are the mobilizations, actions, civil disobedience? Antiwar coalitions like United for Peace and Justice and Win Without War (with MoveOn also belatedly adopting this craven posture) don’t say clearly “US troops out now!” They whine about the “absence of a clear mission” (Win Without War), plead futilely for “an exit strategy” (UFPJ). One letter from the UFPJ coalition (which includes Code Pink) to the Congressional Progressive Caucus in May laconically began a sentence with the astounding words, “To defeat the Taliban and stabilize the country, the U.S. must enable the Afghan people…” These pathetic attempts not to lose “credibility” and thus attain political purchase have met with utter failure, as the recent vote on a supplemental appropriation proved. A realistic estimate seems to be that among the Democrats in Congress there are fewer than forty solid antiwar votes.
Not so long ago Sri Lankan government troops launched a final savage onslaught on the remaining Tamil enclaves. In the discriminate butchery of Tamils, whether civilians or fighters, estimates of the dead prepared by the United Nations ran at 20,000 (the report was suppressed by the current appalling UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon). I don’t recall too many tweets in Washington or across this nation about a methodical exercise in carnage. But then, unlike those attractive Iranians, Tamils tend to be small and dark and not beautiful in the contour of poor Neda, who got out of her car at the wrong time in the wrong place, died in view of a cellphone and is now reborn on CNN as the Angel of Iran.
The list of Obama’s sellouts is already far, far beyond the capacity of a tweetgram, which is probably why we don’t hear about them from the Twittering classes. Start with healthcare. Next, how much has Obama committed to financial rescue, telling the waiter that the American middle class will foot the bill for decades to come? ($12.8 trillion at last report.)
Obama recently came up with his master plan for regulating Wall Street to prevent the chicaneries of boom-boom time that brought the world’s economy to its knees. It will now pass from a president bought and paid for by Wall Street to the Senate Finance Committee, also bought and paid for by Wall Street, which won’t even have to gut it because it’s gutless already.