The Past Due Bill that May Finally Make Mainstream Americans Anti-War

Posted on July 14, 2011

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The New York Times has a pretty sturdy article today about the repercussions of the debt ceiling debate, including this para-quote from Ben Bernanke:

During his testimony before Congress, Mr. Bernanke told lawmakers that if the United States did not raise its debt limit, the government would need to prioritize its financial obligations by paying its creditors first and stopping benefits like Social Security payments if it did not raise the debt limit.

This is where the current debate has been hanging for a while. Paying the debt, versus cutting social security and other “entitlements”, to which spoiled Americans have become accustomed, like living in a home and eating things. But in between the pressure from the Tea Party to lower debt and the pressure [such as it is] from progressive circles to leave social security unscathed, and the rising antipathy toward the Afghan and Iraq wars, it’s quite possible that this meat-grinder may end up spitting out a de facto anti-war movement that crosses political boundaries, class and ideology.

Well, I said, it’s possible. Asking Americans to oppose war for any reason seems like a losing proposition. Not to lend too much credence to blockbuster films as a barometer of the American view, but I just saw Battle Los Angeles last night, and I came away with a very deep depression. In a film where the Marines have to defend the city of Los Angeles from the weaponry of far more advanced aliens after their “resources”, where the “good guys” have to act like insurgents–you’d think there would be even just a subtle message there about how Americans are perceived in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Nope. Hoo Ra, blah, blah–the film feels like a two-hour long ad for the Marines and a triumph of the American as liberator fantasy.

But can an argument based on basic pocket-book issues win where the perfectly moral and logical rhetoric of anti-war has failed? Looking at the current discourse in the center and right-wing, I’m not particularly enthused. It’s like telling a junky that Heroin’s bad for them. Yes, it’s bad, but oh, the rush!

But, sometimes junkies kick.