Well WHY DIDN’T YOU Shut Down the Government Over the War?


I mean, I’m sorry, Harry, but come on:

In his letter to Boehner, Reid drew an analogy to Republicans’ current objects to the Affordable Care Act to his opposition to the Iraq War.

“I hated the Iraq War. I think I hated it as much as you hate the Affordable Care Act,” Reid wrote.

“There were many gut-wrenching nights when I struggled over what I needed to do to end the carnage. In those days, when President Bush was Commander in Chief, I could have taken the steps that you are taking now to block Government funding in order to gain leverage to end the war. I faced a lot of pressure from my own base to take that action. But I did not do that. I felt that it would have been devastating to America.”

Am I the only one who read this and thought:

a) His base was demanding that? I don’t remember anybody even thinking of that.

b) Shit, why DIDN’T we think of that?

After all, ending the Iraq War had a higher approval rating than defunding Obamacare does. It would also have prevented A LOT OF DEAD PEOPLE, whereas the current government shutdown is about preventing people from getting health insurance. The objective matters. These two things aren’t precisely equal. You want to compare hopeless causes, I’m always gonna go with the one that has as its aim keeping more people alive than otherwise.

I mean, would that we had a party that would fight that hard over an illegal war of choice that turned out to be based entirely on bullshit. Would that we actually had a party that stood in genuine and strident opposition to KILLING FOR NO REASON, that was as willing to put its own ass on the line for an outcome not rooted in vanity but in genuine interest in the national welfare.

I know, I know, what the narrative would have been, what the political risks would have been, what the actual risks of a shutdown in the middle of a war would have been. But when I thinik about those risks, about the way Democrats were so scared of being branded cowards if they stood against the war, I can’t help but wish they’d been willing to risk as much toward a selfless end as Republicans are toward a selfish one.

I might not have wanted them to do it, knowing that they would have lost, knowing that the people hurt wouldn’t have been those who were to blame. But I would have liked it if they’d possessed the will to push that hard and speak that loudly.


7 thoughts on “Well WHY DIDN’T YOU Shut Down the Government Over the War?

  1. IOKIYAR IOKIYAR IOKIYAR. when ever has a publiklan who potificates about debt LOWER IT? oh yeah. EISENHOWER! and he TAXED THE FICKING RICH TOO. and they NEVER EVER mention HIM.

  2. If Reid had tried anything like that — not that I wouldn’t have appreciated it — the howling would have literally been audible in Richmond. His patriotism would have been impugned from the top down, with the “free” press riding shotgun to Shrub, Dick, Ari, Colin…Sally Quinn would have clucked on about how Reid “never was really part of our city,” Faux News would have branded him “objectively pro-terrorist.”
    MapleStreet, I saw something about the truckers, I forget where — oh wait, I think it was Charles Pierce — anyway, Congresscritters have some protection from arrest while in session, but it isn’t blanket immunity, as Dollar Bill Jefferson can attest. But I doubt the truckers will even be much of an annoyance, assuming they can even get organized. Washington routinely has snarled traffic, both from general congestion and regular motorcades…

  3. We thought of that. It didn’t seem like the thing to do at the time. Most of us were convinced the Towers had come down in enough fire and blood.
    Remember, A, we’re NOT crazy.

  4. What BlackSheep said. There was a strong, but small, faction of anti-war folk that called on Newt Effing Gingrich’s Charge of the Budget as the means to resist the Iraq War, but I think we all knew that there was absolutely no danger of us succeeding. Hell, some of us even argued for a shutdown to block the invasion of Afghanistan.
    But a “a lot of pressure”? ” . . his own base”? Bwhahahahahaha! The day Harry Reid considers me his base is the day I win the lottery.

  5. Also, too, in late ’02/early ’03, many of us still believed it unlikely that the government would deliberately lie us into an illegal war. Silly us, but we were young and naive then and thought the Gulf of Tonkin had been a one-off.

  6. I really questioned the rationale for the Iraq invasion / war and didn’t buy the idea that they were going to throw roses at our feet. But the public sentiment was heavily to wrap yourself up in the flag, support our president, don’t ask, don’t question…
    But now with the example of the repub shutdown, the next time we get in a war (whether we call it war or call it something else), can the soldiers legally just decide to walk off the base and not return????
    BTW – in the really crazy – just saw an article that a group of truckers have decided to go to DC, use their trucks to gridlock traffic, and arrest the members of congress.
    Now, IANAL. But I seem to remember from civics class that the Constitution gives Congress Critters fairly broad powers to avoid arrest. And surely there must be laws to prevent the planning and implementation of a plan to gridlock the city (thus impeding Congress from getting to work) and subsequently kidnap Congress folk.

  7. You can’t split the baby if you care about the baby. Thats why solomon’s decision is so horrible and also: too easy. He offers the women a horrific choice: to lose the baby permanently or to see it killed. But he reserves to himself the right, as judge, to go back on his word. In the real world there is no judge to step in and halt the execution. Obama is having to bank on the notion that fear and love (fear of destruction, love of country) will overwhelm a significant portion of the Republican caucus. And this in spite of the fact that because they are delusional his worst enemies simply define those terms as the direct opposite of the way we define them.
    This isn’t comperable to the situation in the House now, or during the Iraq war. There is an intransigent faction in this country that were for the war and would have seen it pursued no matter how many babies were killed. And there is an intransigent faction in the house now that will see the world economy crashed and the entire of this country destroyed before they will accept obamacare or accept that they are in the minority. In fact: they believe as a matter of fact that their choices are noble and not dangerous. That their choice restores sovreignity to the people rather than harms the people. Read the comment threads at right wing/red state newspapers. Their own voters think up is down and white is black. You can’t negotiate with those people and you can’t stop them. Their self righteous ignorance will simply power them through the next world crack up.

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