I’ve been stupid. And I have to apologize.

I recently suspended disbelief to write a column for rabble.ca that actually opined that perhaps the ascendancy of the Democrats to control the House and Senate might actually reverse the course of the American empire in regards to Iraq.

I apologize for my naiveté. Won’t get fooled again, indeed.

It is now abundantly clear that the Democratic Leadership Conference (DLC) establishment is fully on board with the American Empire’s aims in Iraq, the Middle East and the world in general. A cursory glance at even the most mainstream articles makes it abundantly clear that the “front-runners” for President in the Democratic Party – by whom I mean Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, et al – and incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, all support the propagation of the imperial war in Iraq.

Despite the Democrats’ “November Revolution” the party is on board with giving President George W. Bush his extra 30,000 troops and a last chance at winning the debacle in Iraq militarily.

And now it’s been announced that the Selective Service is now testing their draft machinery to keep the system well-oiled just in case Uncle needs more cannon fodder for this bloody madness.

I really shouldn’t have been surprised and again, I apologize. But lately, I’ve been accused here and there of being too pessimistic. In light of what we’ve come to hear from the Democrats since the November election, perhaps I haven’t been pessimistic enough.

Why do the Democrats go against the clear majority opinion of the people who voted them back into legislative power? Those people want us out of Iraq.

Well, first, as historian and author Howard Zinn would remind us, governments do not represent the will of the people but of the ruling élites. And as Greg Palast has reminded us in his book of the same name, the capitalist élite has purchased The Best Democracy Money Can Buy fair and square, American style.

They want the war for the flow of oil, the wealth it produces and the profits that war produces. The right people are making money from this war, don’t doubt it for a second. In addition, there are colossal egos on the line, not least of which is George W. Bush’s. War serves many aims including, as Chris Hedges wrote, becoming a force that gives us meaning. We’re not only addicted to oil; our ruling classes are also addicted to war as the resolver of all problems and prover of national manhood.

And, while we’re on the subject, allow me to plug Palast’s latest book Armed Madhouse which should be required reading for every American. I’ve been reading it before bed and it’s been disturbing my sleep mightily.

It all sounds so trite and yet it’s so true. The way this country is set up, both parties, playing their Punch and Judy roles, can be purchased and controlled by the power élite. And they have been.

But the American people’s denial dies hard. All the conditioning we’ve received about our star spangled “democracy” has had its effect – we want so hard to believe in the myth and cult of America the great and America the good, that we will willingly suspend disbelief to support the two party system that strangles our voice and cashiers our national birthright.

The Democrats have pulled the bait-and-switch again – sell peace in the campaign, support war once comfortably in power.

And I have to wonder if the only “anti-war” Democrat running for President, Dennis Kucinich, will fool us again by running on the anti-war platform and then, once defeated as a set-up candidate by the Democratic establishment, ask us to support the nominee once again.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being played for a sap.

What I would love to see is all this impeachment talk stop – the Democrats sold the people and the country down the river on that one as well – and start talking a war crimes tribunal for President Bush and all the other neocons who waged an illegal and immoral war of aggression against Iraq and the Iraqi people.

I know, fat chance. But the fantasy of justice in this country and in our hemisphere is only indicative of how far things have gone down the tubes. Americans still stand eagerly on their haunches like doggies, waiting for the scraps that fall from the rich man’s table. If they get enough to cling to a middle class lifestyle, they’ll accept the sell-out of their national birthright and the sell-out of our legitimacy on the world stage. And they’ll keep their mouths shut.

What must happen for America to right itself and live out its creed is for people to realize how precarious our position both internally and externally is. Also, it would be instructive for every American to experience life as a typical Iraqi in Baghdad for just one day to see ourselves as others see us.

But when the mainstream media and the political system is bought and paid for by people with a vested interest in propagating the military industrial complex (oil) and all the wealth that comes with it, it’s difficult for truth to penetrate the wall of denial that has been built for generations.

I’m angry at being suckered. We can only hope more Americans will get angry and start making demands of both the Democrats and their elected (not appointed) leaders rather than whimpered appeals. Perhaps, as with Vietnam, it will take many more than 3,000 dead. Perhaps it will take a real military draft. Perhaps it will take an economic collapse.

Perhaps one day we truly won’t get fooled again.

Keith Gottschalk

Keith Gottschalk

U.S. Keith Gottschalk has written for daily newspapers in Iowa, Illinois and Ohio. He also had a recent stint as a radio talk show host in Illinois. As a result of living in the high ground...