World Can’t Wait: Nationwide Peace Protests 19 March 2009
Protests of “Obama’s War,” against continuing occupation and war in Iraq, Afghanistan, & Pakistan will take place on 19 March–the 6th anniversary of the U.S.’ illegal invasion of Iraq under false pretenses. It is sponsored by the World Can’t Wait coalition and other anti-war groups. Although I disagree with the tone of the advertisement, I am all in favor of these protests. Peace doesn’t come just by an election. We need to keep up street pressure and other kinds of pressure from to counter the pressure of the hawks: Politicians in this country tend to protect their right flank, and be more sensitive to attacks on their patriotism and “dovishness.” Without countervailing pressure from peace groups nothing happens.
FDR once said to workers pushing for Social Security, “I agree with you. Now MAKE me do it.” At the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told Pres. Johnson that a voting rights act was needed next. LBJ replied that the votes were not there and wouldn’t be for another 10 years. “I’ll get you those votes in the streets,” replied King and the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.
I may be naive, but I think Pres. Obama wants to end the Iraq Occupation COMPLETELY on a faster time table than he has announced–if for no other reason than he needs the money for his domestic agenda. I think he is realizing that there is no military solution to Afghanistan, but is afraid to leave safe havens for al Qaeda in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Peace folks definitely need to propose alternatives here.) The Beltway Consensus that we need to escalate in Afghanistan as we de-escalate in Iraq–which was nearly absolute as recently as last summer–is coming undone. It is being challenged in the media and in Congress–and not just from peace or progressive circles. Polls show the majority of Americans AT LEAST WORRIED about escalating in Afghanistan.
So, now is the time for street pressure. 19 March is a good place to begin. Look up local marches in your area.
UPDATE: Thanks to citizen activism, the debate is widening in Congress and the press. Today, Rep. Russ Feingold (D-WI), a strong progressive who was a role model for Obama when he first ran for the U.S. Senate, urged Obama to speed up his Iraq withdrawal, deeply cut the “transitional forces” and to re-think Afghanistan entirely. Keep it up, folks. And drop Sen. Feingold an email thanking him for speaking out–then send a copy to your Rep. and Senators.
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