Last night President Obama announced to the nation that he is sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. He’s a powerful communicator — much more persuasive than his predecessor, George W. Bush. Yet, the majority of Americans do not approve of this troop increase. We’re not buying it, sir.
There is finally a growing movement against this war, and the war in Iraq. Finally.
Obama has raised a challenge to the peace movement to continue to push to have the war end and troops return home. The peace movement is showing signs of stepping up after being confused by a media that labeled Obama the peace candidate. Cindy Sheehan is leading an effort in Washington, DC, Peace of the Action (see www.PeaceoftheAction.org), that promises “an historic escalation of Peace Activism like we have not seen in the United States for a very long time.” Another new coalition, End US Wars (http://www.enduswars.org) is bringing together anti-war activists for an emergency rally against the escalation on December 12th. Plans are being made for mass anti-war rallies in Washington, DC on the anniversary of the Iraq invasion on Saturday, March 20th.
People who oppose the war need to remember that under the Constitution it is the Congress that declares war and funds war. So, Obama is not the last word. And, in Congress it is our job to make sure they hear our voices.
Peace advocates need to support efforts in Congress for an exit strategy from Afghanistan (Rep. Jim McGovern’s resolution favoring an exit strategy H.R. 2402 which is 100 co-sponsors deserves support) and efforts to stop funding of the escalation (Rep. Barbara Lee’s bill to prevent funding, HR 3699, has 23 co-sponsors). Rep. Obey, the Chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, is talking about a war tax to pay for the war, but the White House and Democratic leadership does not seem interested. The peace community needs to point out the U.S. cannot afford more war. Anti-war advocates are counting heads in Congress, see http://noescalation.org/ and http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/whipwars — join the effort.
We cannot let Obama’s vague 18 month withdrawal confuse us. War does not equal peace and escalation does not equal withdrawal. Americans know better than to believe that. The anti-war movement needs to unify and speak against the wars so that the majority of Americans who oppose them recognize they can make a difference.
This is the time, my friends. We know better.