Thursday, June 30, 2005

Out of Iraq NOW!
Markers on the way out

war not saviorsmall
Noticed on a church in San Jose, California

Go away for three weeks and what happens? Looks like a turning point has been reached; the US public has become aware that the war in Iraq is a miserable sinkhole swallowing up our soldiers, our resources and whatever shred of goodwill we ever had in the world.

So there's Preznit Bush on the television blithering about "freedom" and "resolve" and even the mainstream media treat it as hooey. This war of aggression has reached a limit. Media Benjamin of Code Pink laid it out: 'We've got new momentum. Now let's ride the wave."

Back in April in a speech at Purdue University, Van Gosse an historian at Franklin and Marshall University and a leader in the national coalition United for Peace and Justice laid out some markers the antiwar movement might look to as evidence we were making progress. The list is worth keeping in mind:

  • A state legislature passes an "Out Now" resolution calling for immediate withdrawal (even getting a vote on such a resolution is a victory of sorts)

  • A command rank officer resigns as an act of dissent from the war

  • A prominent Republican elected official breaks ranks with the President

  • A member of Congress loses his or her seat because of support for the war

  • A major national institution (a large religious denomination, a big union, a major association) calls for immediate withdrawal

  • A citywide campaign gets recruiters kicked out of schools

  • Celebrities from the (poor, people of color and/or rural) constituencies that provide the troops speak directly to potential volunteers, urging them not to participate in an unjust occupation

  • More state legislatures follow Montana's lead and call for bringing home their National Guard units

  • Churches start creating sanctuaries for soldiers who refuse to fight

  • A top religious leader urges youths not to enlist, and the right of military dissent from an unjust war

  • The count of members of Congress who oppose so-called "supplemental aid" to fund the war consistently increases

  • A resolution supporting immediate withdrawal is placed on the ballot in California or elsewhere-and wins

  • More and more state Democratic Party organizations follow California's in calling for immediate withdrawal [kudos to Progressive Democrats of America on that win!]

  • Congress passes a non-binding resolution opposing "stop loss" orders as a form of involuntary servitude

  • The biggest win of all, of course, would be a candidate in 2008 who repudiates not only this war, but the entire doctrine of pre-emptive military domination of the world, as immoral and disastrous -- and not only gets the Democratic nomination but wins the general election. A pipe dream? Certainly, at this point, but this is how we need to start thinking about ourselves; this is the level of responsibility we need to accept for what our government is doing to the world.

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