Who Are the Minions of War in the Black Caucus?

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

For the first time in five years, “the Black Caucus was treated like royalty, rather than a nuisance, as is usual, at the White House.” The reason: Obama needs their votes to continue his rush to war against Syria. “If past voting behavior is a guide, the majority of the Caucus is likely to put Obama’s political interests ahead of their constituents’ wishes and the welfare of humankind.”

 

Who Are the Minions of War in the Black Caucus?

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Most Black legislators are desperately seeking a rationale to give the First Black President his license to kill.”

Susan Rice, the national security advisor who is more culpable than any current high government official in the genocide of 6 million Congolese since 1996, lectured the Congressional Black Caucus for 90 minutes at the White House on the virtues of unprovoked aerial aggression against Syria. President Obama, himself, attended the meeting for about an hour, making his pitch for a war that overwhelming numbers of Americans oppose - and that he would soon be forced to "postpone."

The Black Caucus has never been showered with such special attention in the almost five years that the Obama’s have resided on Pennsylvania Avenue. The CBC can’t get the time of day from Obama when it comes to jobs, foreclosure relief, or the sacrifice of Detroit on the alter of austerity. But when the commander-in-chief needs votes for what may go down as the most unpopular war in modern U.S. history, he summons his dutiful Negroes from out of the fields of irrelevancy, to the Big House, so that they might do their part for the maintenance of Empire.

Although slightly more Blacks favor Obama’s war plans than whites (Hispanics are the least belligerent on Syria), large majorities of Americans of all ethnicities reject a missile strike. Most Black Caucus members played coy with the press as they exited the White House, in line with the gag order issued by CBC chairperson Marcia Fudge, last Friday. Kansas City Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who back in 2011 said Obama’s proposed “grand bargain” with the Republicans was a “Satan sandwich,” was most forthcoming to the media: “Everyone in the room wanted to say, we are with you, but simply could not.” There are good reasons, embedded in the congressional record, to believe that Cleaver will say no to Obama’s Syrian war if the matter ever comes to a vote.

He summons his dutiful Negroes from out of the fields of irrelevancy, to the Big House, so that they might do their part for the maintenance of Empire.”

However, most Black legislators are desperately seeking a rationale to give the First Black President his license to kill. “I’m still in the undecided category,” said a lying G.K. Butterfield, of North Carolina, one of the most pro-corporate and militaristic members of the Caucus, who will surely give the president whatever he asks for. James Clyburn, the South Carolina congressman who angrily charged that Edward Snowden’s NSA spying revelations were part of a partisan plot to embarrass Obama, displayed little emotion as he returned to Capitol Hill. The president “made a good case for his issue,” said Clyburn. “There is nothing missing — it’s all about the politics of it, for me anyway.” It was almost possible to feel sorry for Baltimore’s Elijah Cummings, who seemed genuinely agonized at having to choose between his constituents’ pro-peace views and his fealty to the president. “I want him to be successful,” said Cummings, “but as I said before, I can disagree with him and still admire him and support him.” Which provides no clue as to what Cummings will do. For that, one needs to examine the lawmakers’ legislative histories.

Chairperson Fudge, who believes it is better to be silent when contemplating aggressive war in defiance of the will of one’s constituents, fairly jumped at the prospect of avoiding a vote on Syria. She was “hopeful” that the Russian-Syrian proposal to turn the Assad regime’s chemical weapons over to neutral authorities for possible later destruction “is something that is going to move forward.” But, barring that option, Fudge is clearly hoping that Obama sways the Congress to war. If the president can “make the case to the American public…he has a very good shot at getting the support in Congress. If he doesn’t, I think it’s going to be a very difficult road ahead.”

Fudge is clearly hoping that Obama sways the Congress to war.”

Which is why the Black Caucus was treated like royalty, rather than a nuisance, as is usual, at the White House. Just as the votes of 14 Black Caucus members saved Obama’s NSA spies from a cutoff in funds, back in July (See “The Obscene 14 House NSA Negroes,” BAR, July 31), the 41 voting members of the CBC are in a position to rescue Obama’s war policies from ignominious domestic defeat. If past voting behavior is a guide, the majority of the Caucus is likely to put Obama’s political interests ahead of their constituents’ wishes and the welfare of humankind.

The roll calls of three bills tell the tale: The July 24, 2013 vote to reject an amendment to defund the NSA’s collection of phone data on Americans, which was narrowly defeated, 217-205; the December 14, 2011 House passage (283-136) of President Obama’s preventive detention bill (NNDA); and, most revealingly, the 148-265 defeat, on June 3, 2011, of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s measure calling for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Libya, which by then had become largely a race war against dark-skinned Libyans and foreign workers.

The Libya Warmongers (20)

Fully half of the full-voting members of the CBC supported the U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign that killed thousands of Libyans and led to the murder of Muammar Gaddafi and regime change. The 20 members are:

Terri Sewell AL

Karen Bass CA

Sanford Bishop GA

Hank Johnson GA

David Scott GA

Corrine Brown FL

Frederica Wilson FL

Andre Carson IN

Cedric Richmond LA

Elijah Cummings MD

Donna Edwards MD

Keith Ellison MN

Gregory Meeks NY

Mel Watt NC

G.K. Butterfield NC

Marcia Fudge OH

Chaka Fattah PA

James Clyburn SC

Eddie Bernice Johnson TX

Al Green TX

The Preventive Detention Advocates: NNDA (8)

Terri Sewell AL

Corrine Brown FL

Frederica Wilson FL

Sanford Bishop GA

David Scott GA

G.K. Butterfield NC

Al Green TX

Sheila Jackson-Lee TX

The Spy Lovers: NSA Surveillance (14)

Terri Sewell (AL)

Corrine Brown (FL)

Frederica Wilson (FL)

Sanford Bishop (GA)

Hank Johnson (GA)

David Scott (GA)

Robin Kelly (IL)

Donald Payne Jr. (NJ)

Gregory Meeks (NY)

G.K. Butterfield (NC)

Al Green (TX)

Sheila Jackson Lee (TX)

Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX)

Marc Veasey (TX)

The 24 Who Should Be Kicked Out the Door

There is an overlap of evil, of course. The 20 CBC members that supported Obama’s deceitful, unprovoked destruction of Libya cannot possibly harbor principled reservations about their president’s follow-through in Syria. In addition to this core of war mongers, Obama has firm supporters on the domestic repression front: Sheila Jackson-Lee TX, who voted to allow the military to indefinitely detain Americans without charge or trial; and Robin Kelly (IL), Donald Payne Jr. (NJ), and Marc Veasey (TX), who stood with Obama to protect the NSA’s right to keep all of us under 24-7 surveillance. Total: 24 – a clear majority of the Black Caucus.

The 7 Worst of the CBC

These are the worthless lawmakers that sided with Obama on all three crucial votes.

Sanford Bishop GA

Corrine Brown FL

G.K. Butterfield (NC)

Al Green (TX)

David Scott (GA)

Terri Sewell (AL)

Frederica Wilson (FL)

Sanford Bishop is one of only four Black congresspersons that voted to give George Bush a free pass to invade Iraq, in 2002. The others have moved on to private life, but Bishop now has far more company in the Black Caucus than he did 11 years ago.

If Obama loses any of these “Seven Worst” Negroes, then he is truly doomed.

The logic of previous roll calls says Obama should be able to count on the same 20 Caucus members that backed him in Libya, plus four more members whose votes on other measures show that they share his enthusiasm for a world of war with no end. But it is also true that public opinion is stirring in unexpected ways, and seems to crave peace more than war. The impossible may yet happen.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].