Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Netroots and the Iraq War


The Center for Media and Democracy is sponsoring a “Breakfast with the Troops” in Chicago on Sunday, August 5, 9 a.m. at the Yearly Kos extravaganza in the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.

Join Sheldon Rampton and me for coffee, pastries and a moderated discussion of how online activists can better support our troops in their own resistance to the war in Iraq. We’ll be discussing the war with Garett Reppenhagen, Aaron Hughes and other soldiers who are the backbone of Iraq Veterans Against the War, IVAW.

I’ve never attended a Yearly Kos. I’m looking forward to this annual gathering of the Netroots crowd, the online movement that has become a powerful force in Democratic Party politics and fundraising, liberal and left activism, and the news media. The Netroots emerged in 2003 from a convergence of on-line opposition to the Iraq war and the presidential campaign of Howard Dean, the current Democratic Party chairman.

August 5th’s “Breakfast with the Troops” is an opportunity for Yearly Kos attendees to converse with a constituency crucial to stopping the war, anti-war soldiers themselves. Coincidentally the 40th anniversary conference of Vietnam Veterans Against the War is also being held in Chicago the same weekend as Yearly Kos, and Iraq Vets Against the War will be attending. Appreciation continues to grow for the work and leadership of pro-peace Vietnam soldiers in stopping that war. The 2006 documentary Sir, No Sir! illuminates the activism of thousands of soldiers who demonstrated in the streets, organized war crimes tribunals, and often went to the brig for peace.

The “A-list” bloggers and political consultants Jerome Armstrong, who coined the term Netroots, and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, after whose Daily Kos website the conference is named, wrote a 2006 book titled Crashing the Gates: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics. In it, they noted the unique importance of the Iraq war as an issue among liberal bloggers:

The Netroots activist, much like the new generation of grassroots activist, is fiercely partisan, fiercely multi-issue, and focused on building a broader movement. It’s not an ideological movement – there is actually very little, issue-wise, that unites most modern party activists except, perhaps, opposition to the Iraq War, (although opposition to the war seems to be uniting the entire country as of late).

With the Democratic Party’s Congressional victories in November 2006, the gates have been officially trampled. Many of the blogger barbarians are now comfortably ensconced in the castle, a power within the mainstream Democratic Party establishment. Nevertheless, the US debacle in Iraq drags on unabated. The Democratic Congress has funded the war with no strings attached, and Hillary Clinton who is seen by many as the Democratic presidential candidate for 2008 has told the New York Times that “when” she is president she will keep US forces in Iraq but run a better managed, smarter war. How different is her position from the current Bush policy in Iraq enunciated in the Joint Campaign Plan that calls for US forces to impose “sustainable security” on all of Iraq over the next two years?

What’s up with the Netroots and the war? Is stopping the war still an over-arching issue that unites liberal bloggers? Or will the online partisans be taking their lead now from presidential candidates and Party strategists? What can bloggers do to hasten the end of the war and support our troops’ own resistance?

Join us for a discussion of these issues at our “Breakfast with the Troops,” Sunday, August 5, 9am, in Chicago at the Yearly Kos.

JOHN STAUBER is Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin and co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception and The Best War Ever. He can be reached at:



John Stauber is an independent writer, activist and author.  His books include Toxic Sludge Is Good for YouMad Cow USA and Weapons of Mass Deception.  In 1993 he founded the Center for Media and Democracy to exposed corporate, political and media propaganda campaigns.  He retired from the Center in 2008.

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future