Editorial of The Organizer Weekly No. 9 (Sept. 11, 2020)
In the last several weeks, scores of Republican Party officials have come out in support of the presidential candidate of the party that claims to be the polar opposite of their values. On August 20, a group of 73 former Republican national security officials and former Republican members of Congress issued a statement in support of the presidential candidacy of Joe Biden. Two weeks later, a group of nearly 100 former lawmakers called “Republicans and Independents for Biden” also endorsed Biden. The group includes former Republican governors from Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
How could this be the case if the Democratic and Republican parties are “fundamentally different”? Republicans, we are told, start wars, destroy the environment, and act against the public interest. The ONLY way to stop this terrible party, therefore, is to elect the opposite -— the Democrats, who are antiwar, pro-environment and pro-public safety.
This disconnect seems particularly egregious regarding the endorsement of Biden by the super PAC “43 Alumni for Biden,” which consists strictly of members of the George W. Bush administration. Lest we forget, George W. was once hailed as an existential threat to the country. His administration was chock-full of neoconservatives, climate deniers and anti-labor activists of every stripe. Strange then, that many of the same people held up as an existential threat in the past are being lauded now for coming out and supporting Biden.
According to the current Democratic establishment, it is Donald Trump who now poses an existential threat to the country. In fact, the threat is so great that we are asked to overlook the records of the Republicans endorsing their political enemy, and welcome their support against the greater evil.
We are told that we should welcome with open arms the support of people like John Negroponte who served Republican administrations in many capacities such as Deputy Secretary of State, Director of National Intelligence, Ambassador to Mexico, Honduras, and the U.N. Among Negroponte’s numerous crimes against humanity his service as Reagan’s Ambassador to Honduras (Nov. 1981-May 1985), stands out as he fostered and sustained the funding for the covert war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua and the FMLN in El Salvador as well as the notorious Honduran death-squad Battalion 3-16 trained by both the CIA and FBI.
We should be excited about the endorsement of former NSA and CIA Director 4-star Air Force General Michael Hayden, who authorized dragnet surveillance of millions of Americans under the rationale that the “unreasonable search and seizure” criteria of the 4th amendment had fluid meaning, and who misled Congress about the extent of the CIA’s torture of “terrorist” suspects.
Let’s not forget former CIA Director William Webster, who led the CIA during the period in which the agency was heavily involved in drug trafficking, channeling untold quantities of cocaine to the United States which then fueled the crack-cocaine epidemic within Black and poor communities.
We should further welcome former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to the campaign who, according to a report by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, “bears significant legal responsibility” for the Flint water crisis; who was warned repeatedly about the dangerous effects of the decisions he had made about the water supply which exposed 6,000 to 12,000 Flint children to lead poisoning.
And we should applaud the endorsement of former New Jersey Governor and EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, who misled the people of New York and Washington, D.C., after 9-11 by telling them that “their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink.”
Biden seeks to restore “Bipartisanship”
The Democrats for their part, aren’t shying away from these endorsements, but rather embrace their new conservative and neoconservative allies.
The recent Democratic National Convention featured keynote speeches from Whitman, the former Republican Governor of Ohio John Kasich who is proud of his record of closing abortion clinics, and a surprise appearance by the 4-star General Colin Powell, who as the first African-American Secretary of State brazenly presented to the United Nations (Feb. 3, 2003) the panoplies of lies used to justify a genocidal war against Iraq based upon fabricated “evidence” of weapons of mass destruction.
Powell said of Biden, “Our country needs a commander in chief who takes care of our troops in the same way he would his own family.” He went on to state that, “Joe Biden will be a president we will all be proud to salute. With Joe Biden in the White House, you will never doubt that he will stand with our friends and stand up to our adversaries.”
These comments paint a clear picture of why many neoconservatives have abandoned the party of Trump in favor of Biden: Biden will be a much more reliable proponent of U.S. imperialism abroad. Biden will rebuild NATO. As the former national security officials wrote in their open letter:
“[Donald Trump] has called NATO ‘obsolete,’ branded Europe a ‘foe,’ mocked the leaders of America’s closest friends, and threatened to terminate longstanding U.S. alliances. Other global leaders, friends and foes alike, view him as unreliable, unstable, and unworthy of respect.”
This endorsement by those who sustain the corporate ruling class and its policies was further justified when Biden recently said on the campaign trail that he might increase military spending beyond the Pentagon’s current record budget of $738 billion. [See accompanying article on the costs of U.S. wars since 9/11.]
But what in this unholy alliance benefits working people? Why should antiwar activists welcome into their fold the architects of the genocidal Iraq War, as well as the array of conservative politicians who have joined the campaign — all proponents of the darkest periods in U.S. history in relation to torture, regime change and military intervention, environmental deregulation and destruction as well as austerity?
The insult is even greater to Black Americans, who have been leading mass protests in the streets calling for fundamental change in policing, including the de-funding of police departments, and an end to mass incarceration. They are told to support the architect of the 1994 crime bill and to welcome the support of a slew of conservative voices whose primary support for Biden consists of dog-whistle statements that he will “unite the country” and “bridge our differences and lead us to a United America” — meaning that he will put an end to the “racial unrest” and return us to the calm waters of color-blind complacency.
Why pro-war hawks have bolted to the Democratic Party
The simple truth is that Donald Trump has become an annoyance to many sectors of the ruling class. Trump is too erratic to properly oversee the imperialist agenda of the United States and could, in fact, undermine those plans. He has alienated many of the U.S. government’s traditional allies, and offended some powerful forces in the government with his subjective decision-making and megalomania.
Trump is a risk, but Trump, as such, does not fundamentally challenge the status quo. This is why the neocons have changed parties, at least for this election. They see in Biden someone who will do what is necessary to sustain U.S. hegemony. They understand that Biden represents the same class interests shared by both major parties. Biden is the candidate for neoliberals, for neoconservatives; a candidate for the bosses both in the U.S. and abroad.
This is why we need a party that represents our interests — a party rooted in labor and oppressed communities that fights for the lives of the working class, not the interests of the ruling class and its never-ending wars and barbarism. This is why we support Labor and Community for an Independent Party and call for an end to the two parties that service identical interests. There is no time to lose. The moment is now to build a party of our own.
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The Costs of U.S. Wars Since 9/11
[Note: David Vine, co-author of the new report on the Costs of War headlined “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars,” spoke with Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman on September 11. Following are excerpts from this discussion.]
Amy Goodman: Today, more than 191,000 people in the United States have died from the COVID-19 pandemic, and a new report projects that the U.S. death toll could rise to as high as 3,000 people per day by December. There were more than 1,200 new deaths in the U.S. in the last 24 hours.
This comes as a new report finds that the U.S.-led so-called “global war on terrorism” has displaced at least 37 million people in eight countries since 2001. Welcome Professor David Vine.
David Vine: The Costs of War Project at Brown University has estimated that more than 800,000 people have died in U.S.-led wars since 2001 at a cost of $6.4 trillion to U.S. taxpayers.
The United States currently has about 800 military bases in around 80 foreign countries and territories.
The United States was not prepared for a pandemic. And this is in no small part because the United States has been pouring money into this war machine while neglecting human needs in the United States and around the world — healthcare needs, pandemic preparedness, affordable housing, the environment.
This money that we’ve been pouring into the war machine, of course, could have been addressing the global warming that one sees, that plays some role in the fires one is seeing across the West Coast, among many other pressing needs that the world faces today.