By The Progressive on May 02, 2007
No Time for Compromise on Iraqi Withdrawal
By Matthew Rothschild

May 2, 2007

The Democrats must stand strong against the current of compromise that is swirling around Washington concerning the funding of the Iraq War.

After Bush’s veto, there has already been lots of talk on Capitol Hill about crafting an acceptable bill.

But no bill is acceptable that continues funding for this war and this occupation.

The American people want out, the U.S. soldiers want out, and the Iraqis are demanding that we leave. A majority of Iraqis think it’s acceptable to kill Americans there. We can’t win that way.

Yet the Democrats are seriously contemplating a compromise on an already compromised bill. Now, rather than insist on a deadline for withdrawal that was fudge-able in the first place, they appear to be ready to settle for no deadline at all, just some unenforceable benchmarks for the Maliki government.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer expects a new bill to pass in the House in two weeks and to become law by Memorial Day. “We’re not going to leave our troops in harm’s way . . . without the resources they need,” he said.

But resources for what?

For continuing the occupation?

Or for getting the hell out of there?

Nancy Pelosi wasn’t exactly crystal clear in her statement on the President’s veto. The Speaker said the original bill “honored and respected the wishes of the American people to have benchmarks, to have guidelines, to have standards for what is happening in Iraq.”

Those weren’t the wishes of the American people.

Their wishes were to bring the troops home within a year.

Now it looks like the Democratic leadership is going to cave even more.

Last week, in the context of Iraq, Harry Reid tipped his hand, saying, “I’m a legislator, and I believe legislating is the art of compromise.”

There may be times to compromise.

But this is not one of them.

There is no art in continuing to pay for a foolish, bloody war.

The Democrats need to find the courage to withstand the slurs from Bush and Cheney and their parrots on Fox News and rightwing radio.

They need to defund the war. That is their moral duty, and they have the clear constitutional authority to do their duty. Not compromise.

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John Kerry used two weak arguments to justify President Obama’s war-making.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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