Players, Not Cheerleaders
So said Dick Cheney when asked last week about public opinion being overwhelming against the war in
His attitude about the the fact that the number of
This brick wall of indifference helps explain the paradox in which we in the anti-war camp find ourselves five years into the occupation of
Sixty-four per cent of Americans tell pollsters they oppose the war, but you'd never know it from the thin turnout at recent anniversary rallies and vigils.
When asked why they aren't expressing their anti-war opinions through the anti-war movement, many say they have simply lost faith in the power of protest. They marched against the war before it began, marched on the first, second and third anniversaries. And yet five years on,
There is no question that the Bush administration has proven impervious to public pressure. That's why it's time for the anti-war movement to change tactics. We should direct our energy where it can still have an impact: the leading Democratic contenders.
Many argue otherwise. They say that if we want to end the war, we should simply pick a candidate who is not John McCain and help them win: We'll sort out the details after the Republicans are evicted from
This is a serious strategic mistake. It is during a hotly contested campaign that anti-war forces have the power to actually
And when it comes to
Despite the calls for
For the first time in 14 years, weapons manufacturers are donating more to Democrats than to Republicans. The Dems have received 52 percent of the defense industry's political donations in this election cycle--up from a low of 32 per cent in 1996. That money is about shaping foreign policy, and so far, it appears to be well spent.
While Clinton and Obama denounce the war with great passion, they both have detailed plans to continue it. Both say they intend to maintain the massive Green Zone, including the monstrous
They will have a "strike force" to engage in counterterrorism, as well as trainers for the Iraqi military. Beyond these
In sharp contrast to this downsized occupation is the unequivocal message coming from hundreds of soldiers who served in
The candidates know that much of the passion fueling their campaigns flows from the desire among so many rank-and-file Democrats to end this disastrous war. It is this desire for change that has filled stadiums and campaign coffers.
Crucially, the candidates have already shown that they are vulnerable to pressure from the peace camp: When The Nation revealed that neither candidate was supporting legislation that would ban the use of Blackwater and other private security companies in
This is exactly where we want the candidates: outdoing each other to prove how serious they are about ending the war. That kind of issue-based battle has the power to energize voters and break the cynicism that is threatening both campaigns.
Let's remember: unlike the outgoing Bush administration, these candidates need the support of the two-thirds of Americans who oppose the war in
Courtesy of the New York Times Syndicate