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Ken Gordon/Joan Fitz-Gerald: Once Again Doing AIPAC’s Bidding in Colorado?

September 21, 2007

The ratcheting up of rhetoric between the United States and Iran once again bodes ill. Although it is not entirely clear – nothing is on this subject – it does appear that both sides are preparing for war. The opening of diplomatic talks with the Iranians over Iraq are low level and have produced little. They seem to be little more than a cover for the Bush Administration’s darker intensions. In the United States, the Bush Administration continues to blame Iran for incidents in Iraq.

The US continues to aggressively oppose Iran’s nuclear program, this despite repeated statements from the International Atomic Energy Agency head, Mohammed Baradai that there is no clear evidence that Iran has violated IAEA policies. Indeed Baradai’s pleas for calm, for negotiations – for restraint most especially from the United States have met with angry taunts from Condoleesa Rice whose diplomatic initiatives look more and more disingenuous and feeble every day. Her blessing of Israel’s declaration of war against Gaza should destroy any remaining illusions that on the Israeli-Palestinian issue she is a peace maker.

The shrill atmosphere in New York surrounding Iranian President Ahmadinajid’s upcoming UN visit only serves to heighten the tensions. So does a recent op ed in the Denver newspapers last Sunday signed by two Dems and two Republicans from the State Legislature calling on the state to divest with companies doing business with Iran.

Once again, Democratic Senators Ken Gordon and Joan Fitz-Gerald, both of whom oppose the war on Iraq, show how they can still be of service to AIPAC where it counts. Let us recall that last summer in the heat of Israel’s merciless bombardment and war against Lebanon that the same two helped orchestrate a lopsided state legislature resolution (when the legislature was not in session) in support of Israel. That particular gesture backfired, was widely criticized within peace movement circles here (on which both depend in part for support) and might have been one of the factors in Gordon’s defeat in his bid to become Secretary of State.

Fitz-Gerald is running for Congress now in Colorado’s vast second district which extends into the mountains. Perhaps adding her name to this letter is simply her way of strengthening her ties with AIPAC people and those who run Denver’s Democratic Party? She has considerable ties with Colorado unions (whose role in helping Dems win elections should not be sneared at, despite their modest size) as well as, it seems, the `Brownstein-Farber-Hyatt’ seal of approval, without which Democratic hopefuls in Colorado don’t get very far. Fitz-Gerald come under fire from Jared Polis, who is also vying for the Democratic Party nomination – one of the state’s liberal multi-millionaires and a force (financially at least) within the state’s Democratic Party. A bit like George Soros (my favorite billionaire), Polis’s millions frees him somewhat from traditional Democratic Party strings and funding sources (again = Brownstein-Farber-Hyatt). Polis was a campaign advisor to 2004 Senatorial hopeful and Democratic upstart, Mike Miles (for whom I re-registered as Democrat to support). Miles had one of the best pro-peace, anti-Iraq positions of anyone running for office at the time. He also is the only major political candidate in the state that I know of that actually – and repeatedly – came out in support of the Geneva Accord, informal agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

Polis is sharply critical of Fitz-Gerald’s failure to criticize the US war against Iraq earlier. Three cheers for Polis. He might be richer than Croesus, but seems to have some principle all the same. In the past, he was also instrumental in defeating an `English Only’ amendment to the state constitution while more mainstream Dems essentially sat on the fence until they saw which way the wind was blowing. It is painful for me to give credit to anyone worth that much but trying to be flexible, I’ll make an exception. And he’s got a point. Although it is good to see Fitz-Gerald more actively involved in anti-war activities now, she kept mostly silent for most of the past 4 years. It is only after last November, 2006 elections – when the nation as a whole – came out square against the war, and the percentage of those against the war soared that she re-discovered her progressive core.

Furthermore, Fitz-Gerald’s anti-war stance – and Gordon’s as well – is fuzzy. They seem to shy from calling for an immediate withdrawal of the troops and in so doing keep their anti-war sentiment clearly within `respectable’ (and ineffective bounds). I have heard nothing from them about the dismantling of U.S. military bases and complete closing down the US military operation in Iraq.

In any case, I hope she pays a price for her war-mongering on Iran. What else can one call it? Perhaps the peace movement can encourage someone to run against her – either within or outside the Democratic Party – matters little to me actually, just as long as they challenge her tepid views.

`Can You Hear The People Sing? Singing A Song of Angry Men!’

It seems that both Fitz-Gerald and Gordon know how to sniff the political winds and understand that anti-war sentiment is so strong in their districts that they have to respond, at least rhetorically, to `the voice of the people.’ Perhaps she learned a lesson from US Congressman Ed Perlmutter. During the primary campaign (which Perlmutter won, along with the general election later), Perlmutter’s polls went us significantly when, during the primaries, hounded by Herb Rubenstein, he, Perlmutter, came out squarely against the war, a position he has maintained (to my knowledge) to date.

Besides the content of the letter – it could have been written by an AIPAC’s p.r. people – it is the timing of the Gordon-Fitz-Gerald letter that is disturbing. It adds to the hysteria building – whipped up by both the Bush Administration and sections of the media along with Israel’s more zealous supports to attack Iran. And this coming from the President of the Colorado Senate and one of the Senate’s most consistently liberal members! Claims that such an initiative is not calling for military strikes against Iran ring hollow. Both are intelligent well informed public figures who well understand the implications of their actions all too well. It is cynical and hollow to oppose the war in Iraq on the one hand while continuing to support Israel’s repressive policies on the other and joining the media savaging of Iran, meant of course to bolster public support for the military strike which a number of sources suggest will be a three day massive bombing campaign of more than 1200 (one recent source suggested 2000) targets.

There are still prominent voices – among the Noam Chomsky and Immanuel Wallerstein (see the latter’s most recent column of Sept. 15, 2007) that argue that such strikes are irrational and will not further the interests of U.S. Imperialism. While they make a good case on rational (and even military grounds), I am not convinced that the danger has passed.

The period between now and the November 2008 elections will be especially dangerous. Cheney and his unchained media bulldog, John Bolton, are pushing for a military strike. True the neo-cons are weaker with different resignations, but don’t count them out by a long shot. As Wallerstein points out, they see such an attack as a way of bolstering the Republican electoral chances in 2008 as well as knocking out an adversary they have long targeted. Such a strike, regardless of the horrific human (and most probably global short term economic consequences) is also strongly urged by Israel who would like to not only destroy Iran’s nuclear program but push back the country’s overall progress (spotty as it is) by 20 years. And what Israel wants, AIPAC and the ADL will lobby for here in the USA.

Paul Rogers, writing for `Open Democracy’ suggests that has the tensions increase that a war could start accidentally (with the help of some special forces type actions meant to provoke it) after which there will be no turning back for either side.The danger of the United States opening up yet another military front in the Middle East and sinking the region and with it the world into yet more chaos and deeper crisis remains pronounced.

As it becomes clearer that the US has no intention of leaving Iraq – and that the Democrats will hardly challenge the Bush Administration on this – and that the Bush Administration will give Israel a free hand to continue to pummel the Palestinians with very little global outcry, and with the `reconstruction’ of Afghanistan essentially goint to hell in a hand basket….why not open up another military front? Thus is the thinking of Administration ideologues and from what I can tell from my vantage point in the Rocky Mountains, they still run the show and are pushing hard for war against Iran

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