FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Americans Voted for Peace

The message on November 7 was clear. Voters threw out pro-war politicians and sent Democrats to Congress demanding an end to the Iraq war. Since then, voter opposition to the costly US occupation has grown sharper as polls show growing opposition to the war from across the political spectrum 62% among Republicans and 88% of Democrats. Even a majority of Military Times readers oppose the war.

Yet, it took only a few weeks for the Democratic leadership to betray the majority of Americans by quickly pledging to keep the war money flowing. In doing so, Congress is in danger of once again abrogating its responsibility by not using its Constitutional “power of the purse” to control the president’s war-making. This further undermines the checks and balances system of our government.

If an overwhelming referendum by voters against the war is not enough to force a change in policy, what is left to voters in this democracy? If Americans marshal time, money and votes in support of winning candidates come away empty handed, what utility remains in the ballot box? If candidates, once elected, take office and spend vast sums of money against the explicit wishes of the voting public, what does that say of our democracy? Perhaps we must return to the methods of the Boston Tea Party because surely this is Appropriation Without Representation.

Bush, elected under controversial circumstances, is now calling on Congress–and thus the American public–to shoulder an additional $97.7 billion or more in war debt on top of $70 billion already approved for 2007 and $320 billion already spent.

Instead, Bush has whiplashed in the opposite direction foolishly rejecting the moderate Iraq Study Group recommendations to withdraw half of US troops by 2008 and to join Iran and Syria to the negotiating table. After six weeks of deliberation, he now talks of sending an additional 20,000 troops or more.

Support for a ‘troop surge’ is at a puny 11%. This viewpoint is supported by Sen. John McCain, the leading likely Republican candidate for President; it is also supported by Sen. Hillary Clinton, the leading likely Democratic candidate, ‘if it has a purpose.’

If the war is the defining issue of our time, then there need not be talk of political parties. Rather we can talk of the Kucinich-Hagel wing of the Congress and the Clinton-McCain wing. While some Democratic presidential candidates express opposition to the handling of the war, and call for beginning withdrawal in 2007, only one candidate (announced or likely) has actually called for complete withdrawal, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who is treated by the media and his party as a marginal candidate. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who has called for troops out within six months, could be the second if he decides to run.

Now that Peace is the clear political center, Congress should ask, “What do anti-war voters want?” The answer is: end the war. Even James Baker acknowledged on CNN the ‘validity of the argument’ that withdrawing U.S. troops will lessen the violence because the U.S. will “no longer be seen as occupiers.” In fact, the Pentagon reports that the vast majority of attacks in Iraq–over 80%–are directed at the U.S. and the Iraqi military, more than the highly publicized sectarian violence.

And, if we exit responsibly as suggested by Rep. McGovern (D-MA) and put forward by former Senator George McGovern and Dr. William Polk in “Out of Iraq,” we will fund the reconstruction of Iraq by Iraqis and underwrite a peace keeping or stabilization force with an Arab face. This will reduce Iraqi unemployment (estimated at over 50%), and let Iraqis know they are getting their country back, including their oil. All of this will do more to reduce the violence, then the escalation of violence inherent in a stay the course strategy. And, this plan will immediately save the American taxpayer more than $100 billion–money it will not have to borrow from China or other countries.

For voters, this is a call to action. Elected officials must be told that they ignore the American voter at their peril. Voters need to let elected officials know that being pro-war–against the will of the voters – risks losing contributions and elections. It is time for peace voters to get more organized. If you want the war to end show Congress you are serious by signing the voters pledge at VotersForPeace.US that you will not support any candidate who does not support a speedy end to the war in Iraq.

Both the ‘troop surge’ and the upcoming debate on the $97 billion ‘supplemental’ appropriation will be important litmus tests for the health of our democracy. If the will of American voters is trampled again, the peace issue will have transformed into a democracy issue. We need to put the ‘representative’ back in our ‘democracy’ and demand that elected officials do what voters expect regarding Iraq. And if they won’t, patriotic Americans might be looking to our nation’s early years for instruction on how to throw Parties to which the current King George and his loyalists will not be invited.

Linda Schade is executive director of VotersForPeace.US and Kevin Zeese is a co-founder of VotersForPeace.US and Director of DemocracyRising.

 

February 21, 2019
Nick Pemberton
Israel, Venezuela and Nationalism In The Neoliberal Era
Chris Orlet
The Bill and Melinda Gates’ Fair Taxation Scaremongering Tour
Bruce E. Levine
“Heavy Drinking” and the NYT’s Offensive Obit on Herbert Fingarette
Lisi Krall
This Historical Moment Demands Transformation of Our Institutions. The Green New Deal Won’t Do That
Stephanie Savell
Mapping the American War on Terror: Now in 80 Countries
Daniel Warner
New York, New York: a Resounding Victory for New York Over Amazon
Russell Mokhiber
With Monsanto and Glyphosate on the Run AAAS Revokes Award to Scientists Whose Studies Led to Ban on Weedkiller in Sri Lanka and Other Countries
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Fake National Emergency Moves America Closer to an Autocracy
Alex Campbell
Tracing the Threads in Venezuela: Humanitarian Aid
Jonah Raskin
Mitchel Cohen Takes on Global and Local Goliaths: Profile of a Lifelong Multi-Movement Organizer
Binoy Kampmark
Size Matters: the Demise of the Airbus A380
Elliot Sperber
For Your Children (or: Dead Ahead)
February 20, 2019
Anthony DiMaggio
Withdrawal Pains and Syrian Civil War: An Analysis of U.S. Media Discourse
Charles Pierson
When Saudi Arabia Gets the Bomb
Doug Johnson Hatlem
“Electability” is Real (Unless Married with the Junk Science of Ideological Spectrum Analysis)
Kenneth Surin
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Another Boondoggle in Virginia
John Feffer
The Psychology of the Wall
Dean Baker
Modern Monetary Theory and Taxing the Rich
Russell Mokhiber
Citizens Arrested Calling Out Manchin on Rockwool
George Ochenski
Unconstitutional Power Grabs
Michael T. Klare
War With China? It’s Already Under Way
Thomas Knapp
The Real Emergency Isn’t About the Wall, It’s About the Separation of Powers
Manuel García, Jr.
Two Worlds
Daniel Warner
The Martin Ennals and Victorian Prize Winners Contrast with Australia’s Policies against Human Dignity
Norman Solomon
What the Bernie Sanders 2020 Campaign Means for Progressives
Dan Corjescu
2020 Vision: A Strategy of Courage
Matthew Johnson
Why Protest Trump When We Can Impeach Him?
William A. Cohn
Something New and Something Old: a Story Still Being Told
Bill Martin
The Fourth Hypothesis: the Present Juncture of the Trump Clarification and the Watershed Moment on the Washington Mall
February 19, 2019
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Troublesome Possibilities: The Left and Tulsi Gabbard
Patrick Cockburn
She Didn’t Start the Fire: Why Attack the ISIS Bride?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Literature and Theater During War: Why Euripides Still Matters
Maximilian Werner
The Night of Terror: Wyoming Game and Fish’s Latest Attempt to Close the Book on the Mark Uptain Tragedy
Conn Hallinan
Erdogan is Destined for Another Rebuke in Turkey
Nyla Ali Khan
Politics of Jammu and Kashmir: The Only Viable Way is Forward
Mark Ashwill
On the Outside Looking In: an American in Vietnam
Joyce Nelson
Sir Richard Branson’s Venezuelan-Border PR Stunt
Ron Jacobs
Day of Remembrance and the Music of Anthony Brown        
Cesar Chelala
Women’s Critical Role in Saving the Environment
February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail