FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Stuff to Do to Stop the War

The war in Iraq is degenerating … a lot. For American troops, Iraqi police, and Iraqi civilians, the last two months have been filled with dread, death, and disfigurement. In spite of around-the-clock spin by the administration and show-dog obedience by the bouzhie-press, the reality of the war is filtering into the public’s consciousness. Certain phrases are haunting us: “weapons of mass destruction”… “yellow-cake uranium”… “al Qaeda connection”… “mission accomplished”… and “bring ’em on”…

The Bush administration carries on with a brave face — being far removed itself from the smell of burning vehicles and bleeding bodies — secure in the knowledge that they cannot and will not have to run for re-election. The polls that show 60 % of Americans now believing the war was wrong have no effect on them, because they are securely situated in power, and they can continue for the next 3.7 years to roll the dice in Iraq with other people’s lives and hope for a miraculous breakthrough.

But there are 435 House and 35 Senate seats that could be contested in 2006, and many of them also staked their futures on this war, and they are watching these poll numbers with very grim faces indeed. Many are beginning to feel a little like the ballroom dancers on the Titanic, and while they praised her virtues yesterday, the icy fingers of self-preservation are clutching at their hearts and vanquishing superficial loyalties.

Nixon, they remember, was elected in a huge landslide in 1972. On August 9, 1974, he resigned in arrant disgrace and had to rely on the newly ascendent President Gerald Ford to pardon him on September 28 from all future criminal charges.

Some people’s eyesight is better than others, and they can read the signs along the road from further away. Representative Walter Jones, Jr., a North Carolina conservative Republican, has his driving glasses on. He is working with some Democrats and other Republicans on a resolution to name a departure date from Iraq. This is the same man who re-named oily fast-food potatoes “freedom fries,” after the French refused to co-sign the Bush war in the UN Security Council. He has two major military installations in his district, and his constituents, along with those troublesome poll numbers, are telling him enough is enough.

Like the white Southern segregationist politicians who had religious epiphanies after the Voting Rights Act passed, and abandoned their racial ideologies in exchange for those big pools of Black Belt votes, Jones has undergone a miraculous conversion on Iraq.

He may the first of many. In the same way that Democrats developed a public allergy to their own commander in chief, when the DNA was extracted from the blue dress and the presidential cigar… well… As the USS Bush begins to take on water in earnest, you can bet that more Republicans will be looking to the lifeboats.

This should also send a quiver of distress up the spines of the most Machiavellian Democrats.

In 2004, they could have their war and their anti-war voters, too. They had that special power to say, “We are all you’ve got.”

But what happens if Republicans begin to oppose the war? That is to say, what happens when the pressure of the American masses, slowly waking to the reality of the war “over there,” is such that the war becomes an issue? With two pro-war candidates, there was nothing left to the confused masses but Roe v. Wade on the one hand and the cherished homophobia of the right on the other. What if, these most guileful of Dems must ask themselves, there are more Walter Joneses, and antiwar voters can turn away from their Democrat-dependency to register their opposition to the war?

The polls that are increasing Maalox sales along Constitution Avenue not only showed that the Republican position of maintaining current troop levels in Iraq was unpopular, but that the most unpopular position was the very one articulated by the John-John Democratic Party ticket for 2004 — that is, send MORE troops. Ain’t life funny?

Suddenly, the masses have this period when a window of power, however small, has opened. Given the herd behavior of Congress generally, and the political poopie-on-the-shoe that Iraq is now becoming, a flood of demands from the public to these intrepid politicos to end the war has what I like to call stampede potential.

I’m not talking about lobbying. Don’t think so. I’ve done lobbying before. That’s when you dress up in something “respectful,” due deference to their positions and all that, and ask them nicely to “please, sir” support my little pet-bill. They need a flood of emails, letters, telephone calls, and visits from people wearing shower shoes and cutoff jeans (hey, it’s hot, dammit!) demanding that they do everything in their power to get the US out of Iraq… yesterday! Lobbying gives them the power. They need to be harassed like stray cats caught in a schoolyard.

I’ll personally contact my jellyfish Democrat, David Price, and tell him that I’ll vote a Republican out of sheer delicious spite if he doesn’t overcome his issue-aversion. If he were a Republican, I’d tell him the same thing about a Democrat challenger. This is the year of the anti-war tidal shift, so it is the year to stoke the terrors of incumbency.

Republicans have their own fears to deal with. Bush is still in the White House, and none of his cabinet seem to be getting any smarter.

That’s my suggestion, just a starter suggestion. Every week from now on, write your Congress-hack (there are a few who don’t deserve this) and tell him (or her) that you are extremely disappointed in them for not having stopped the war. Get as many people as you can to do the same thing. Call them on the phone until they sign out a restraining order against you for stalking. Take delegations to her (or his) office.

Warning: This stuff is harder than whining, and requires a certain amount of time and effort.

Then organize at least two public events — one in July and one in September, no matter how small, in your local community — that explain why the war is wrong. If you want to know how to answer that business of “we broke it, we own it,” I have talking points listed at http://stangoff.com/index.php?p=134. That’s the next layer we have to win over — the people who didn’t want the war, who don’t want the war, but can’t conceive of how the US can simply leave.

Contact Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Gold Star Families for Peace, September 11 Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow, and Iraq Veterans Against the War, and have them contact local reps to attend these events. They have immunity from pro-war, patriot-baiting nonsense. At each of these events, badger people unmercifully to come to Washington DC on September 24-26 for a mass mobilization against the war. Information is available at http://www.unitedforpeace.org/. Don’t just badger them to come, badger them to get others to come. Badger them to pay for at least one person to come that can’t afford to come.

Because when a poll makes Walter Jones, Jr. abandon his “freedom fries” chauvinism in a district where the 2nd Marine Division lives, there is fear stalking the halls of the federal legislature, and we should exploit it without shame. It is now mid-June. We have over three months, around 95 days, in fact, in which to drown out the air conditioners droning in the offices of Wall Street’s political representatives. We have 95 days to pre-Nixonize George W. Bush, before we show up on their doorsteps and tell them, “Enough!”

Or we escalate…

STAN GOFF is the author of “Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti” (Soft Skull Press, 2000), “Full Spectrum Disorder” (Soft Skull Press, 2003) and “Sex & War” which will be released approximately December, 2005. He is retired from the United States Army. His blog is at www.stangoff.com.

Goff can be reached at: sherrynstan@igc.org

More articles by:

November 19, 2018
David Rosen
Amazon Deal: New York Taxpayers Fund World Biggest Sex-Toy Retailer
Sheldon Richman
Art of the Smear: the Israel Lobby Busted
Chad Hanson
Why Trump is Wrong About the California Wildfires
Dean Baker
Will Progressives Ever Think About How We Structure Markets, Instead of Accepting them as Given?
Robert Fisk
We Remember the Great War, While Palestinians Live It
Dave Lindorff
Pelosi’s Deceptive Plan: Blocking any Tax Rise Could Rule Out Medicare-for-All and Bolstering Social Security
Rick Baum
What Can We Expect From the Democrat “Alternative” in California?
Thomas Scott Tucker
Trump, World War I and the Lessons of Poetry
John W. Whitehead
Red Flag Gun Laws
Newton Finn
On Earth, as in Heaven: the Utopianism of Edward Bellamy
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail