Across the country opposition to the war in Iraq is fast setting in. The latest Bush job approval ratings are dismal, hovering around 35%, in large part due to peoples’ wariness about the disorder and uncertainty engulfing Iraq. Two weeks ago 24 towns in Wisconsin passed antiwar resolutions.
According to the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington that pushes the total number of cities to pass similar referendums nationwide to 100. But as the sentiment against the war continues to mature, the most significant question still remains unanswered: What are all of us who want to bring our troops home now going to do to stop the war?
Getting off our lazy haunches and protesting in the streets is one thing, but until we are willing to voice our objections at the ballot box, nothing in Iraq will ever change. Marching through our Main Streets with anti-Bush placards in hand, no matter how refreshing and energizing it may seem, still doesn’t hold all the hawks accountable for the war they have instigated. And I am not just talking about the Republican warmongers. On the other side of the isle the antiwar movement is faced with its principal challenge — the Democratic Party.
It’s more than a challenge. In fact antiwar allegiance to the pro-war Democrats may well be our biggest problem. Despite the mounting opposition across the US to the war in Iraq, not one major Democrat has endorsed an immediate unconditional withdrawal of troops from Iraq. A few have supported Rep. Murtha’s “strategic redeployment” plea, which would sanction air strikes of Iraq as well as continued US military outposts throughout the region. But not one leading Democrat wants US troops home now. And what has the antiwar movement done to punish them? Nothing.
The Dems’ complicity shouldn’t come as too much of a shock.
The majority of leading Democrats in the Senate voted for Bush’s war as well as all of its boondoggle funding along the way. Sure, they may loft a few soft criticisms at the president for his handling of the botched crusade (it wasn’t mismanaged, it was illegitimate from the very start), but now that we are there, they say, we have to support our troops’ mission. Whatever that mission is (or was), I haven’t a clue. It surely wasn’t about democracy, WMDs or bin Laden. If anything, it was just a covert (overt if you ask me) expansion of US Empire. No Democrats will expose, let alone oppose, this gross underlying premise of the “war on terror”. No Democrats will resist the State sanctioned torture or killing of innocent civilians if they aren’t punished at the polls for supporting it.
The only way to compel the Democrats to oppose this mess they helped make is to oppose them until they understand they are part of the problem. Not the solution. I have no illusions the Democrats will ever come around to our side of reality, especially if we are only sauntering around in circles on our allotted day of dissent and not voting against those who support this war on Election Day.
Until this begins to happen the situation in Iraq will only get worse.
JOSHUA FRANK, editor of BrickBurner.org, is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press 2005).