He debunks spin on all sides, and surveys the opportunities and awful vulnerabilities in play for radical and social democratic politics on a number of key fronts:  the unspeakable debacle of US imperial wartime, especially in the Middle East and in Africa,  the deep ongoing structural inducements to anti-democratizing corruption, the deepening criminal fiscal irresponsibility of indebtedness (a catastrophic tax on future freedoms perversely championed by cynical greedy elites as "tax cuts"),  the outright obscenity of real indifference to the fate of New Orleans and the general indifference to the needless suffering of the swelling Precariat symptomized and metaphorized so clearly by the realities of New Orleans,  the ambivalent political force of competing populisms in a deeply racist society, among insulated elites, alienated marginal subcultures, and in the face of ongoing unprecedentedly disruptive technodevelopmental struggles articulated by the brutal imperatives of neoliberal corporate-military competivieness.
Everybody should read it, and here is a taste of his incisive and troubling discussion of the War (confirming all of my own darkest suspicions on this score), as, I hope, an inducement for folks to click the link.
[T]he Democratic leadership—the Black Caucus and a few notable progressives aside—has exploited domestic resentment against Bush policies in Iraq to consolidate, not debunk, the underlying Washington consensus about the War on Terrorism. Whereas a national anti-war movement would presumably have linked the apocalypse in Iraq with looming catastrophe in Afghanistan and a new regional war in the Horn of Africa, the Democratic platform, in contrast, reaffirmed commitment to the war against Islamists as part of a larger programme of expanding, not reducing, global counter-insurgency. ‘Bring the troops home now’ was not a Democratic plank, but doubling the size of the Special Forces ‘to destroy terrorist networks’ and increasing spending on homeland anti-terrorism are centrepieces of the Democrats’ ‘New Direction for America’ (a collection of sound bites and slogans that offers a pale shadow to Gingrich’s robust 1994 ‘Contract with America’).
The Democratic leadership likewise has deliberately avoided a debate on the constitutional implications of the Patriot Act; not a single prominent Democrat has proposed the straightforward rollback of the totalitarian powers claimed by the presidency since 9/11. Indeed Hillary Clinton has signalled that she favours imprisonment without trial and even the use of torture in certain circumstances. Speaker Pelosi, meanwhile, has emphasized that the chief Democratic goals in the 110th Congress will be, first, to pick the uncontroversial, low-hanging fruit of mainstream reform (minimum wage, prescriptions, student loans and so on), then move quickly to pass an ‘innovation agenda’ for hi-tech industries. Foreign policy debates in the House—thanks to the hawkish counterweight of more than 100 New Democrats and Blue Dogs—will not reach beyond the bipartisan assumptions of the Baker–Hamilton Plan or whatever new, coercive strategy for Palestinian national self-liquidation is proposed by Condoleezza Rice. [My own sense of things here is slightly more positive than Davis's, and I don't think it is right to trivialize the accomplishments of the First 100 Hours as only plucking "low hanging fruit" -- even though, of course, I know exactly what Davis means by all this. -- ndc]
What then has the anti-war vote actually won? [emphasis added] At the end of the day, public disillusionment with the messianic politics of the neo-Conservatives has paved the way for a ‘Realist’ restoration under the aegis of the Baker–Hamilton plan that reconciles the foreign-policy establishments of Bush Senior and Clinton. The bloodbath in Iraq has opened every sarcophagus on the Potomac, disgorging a palsied army of ancient secretaries of state and national security advisors (Scowcroft, Eagleburger, Brzezinski and, of course, the chief mummy, Kissinger himself) eager to lecture Congress on ‘rational’ approaches to imposing American will on the rest of the world. Hillary Clinton, of course, is the Queen of the Realists (except when it conflicts with Israeli interests), and the new Democratic majority in the House is unlikely to stray very far from the already manifest script of her 2008 campaign. In future debates with Rudy Giuliani or John McCain (who has recently appointed himself saviour of ‘victory’ in Iraq), Hillary is poised to be a hard-muscled gi Jane, parrying every macho gesture with even tougher stances on al-Qaeda, Iran, Palestine and Cuba.
The silver lining, if it exists, is that the Democrats in Congress, with the Black Caucus and its allies lobbying for withdrawal, are more likely to be swayed by public anger as insurgency and civil war in Iraq continue to exhaust the resources of the Occupation.
Tough stuff from my favorite American public intellectual these days, and, I suspect, all too true.