For one day this week – literally a single day – it appeared that the Congressional Progressive Caucus, chaired by Pramila Jayapal, had grown a spine, calling on Joe Biden to press for negotiations to end the disastrous and ever-escalating Russia-Ukraine war. But alas, the apparent show of backbone was an illusion. A letter sent to the White House by the caucus was rapidly repudiated, and, worse still in my view, the caucus wound up pledging full support for U.S.-NATO efforts to defeat Russia and achieve “Ukrainian victory,” no matter the cost.
The logic of the letter was solidly straightforward. Citing the massive damage of the conflict and anti-Russian sanctions to the world economy and consequent hardship to billions of people globally, as well as, still more significantly, “the catastrophic possibilities of nuclear escalation and miscalculation,” the Caucus was speaking simple truth to the president. The war is not only creating economic upheaval, Mr. President; it just might wind up killing everyone on the planet. So how about developing a “realistic framework for a ceasefire” that could start a process of peacemaking?
Sadly, we see once again that telling the truth is intolerable when it flies in the face of what the military-industrial-congressional-media complex wants. Within 24 hours, the letter was retracted, with Jayapal throwing unnamed “staff” under the bus for releasing the letter without proper “vetting.” She repudiated the letter as “unfortunate,” apologizing for the “distraction” it posed to the united war effort. Not a single member of the Caucus objected to the about-face. One can only imagine the serious spanking Jayapal and the rest of the so-called progressives got behind the scenes, and the price they will have to pay for their indiscretion of truth-telling down the line.
This is how far we have sunk: Elected members of Congress must apologize and self-flagellate for urging the nation’s top official, and their party leader, to pursue peace instead of catastrophic, and potentially world-ending, war.