Coffee with the Troops at Yearly Kos

You can watch some powerful video of our August 5th Coffee with the Troops online at AfterDowning Street and Alternet. We filmed the entire event, which was attended by more than one hundred people at the Sunday in Chicago. We plan to have the entire one hour session viewable on YouTube soon.

Leaders of the Iraq Veterans Against the War spoke at Coffee with the Troops hosted by the Center for Media and Democracy and moderated by yours truly. Speaking for IVAW were Garett Reppenhagen, Aaron Hughes, Josh Lansdal and Geoffrey Millard who then answered questions about the growing resistance to the war among active duty troops. IVAW members believe that the war on Iraq is illegal and that soldiers have the right to refuse an illegal war.

The event has begun to stir what can only be a healthy discussion and debate about the Netroots, its relationship to the Democratic Party, and the horrific quagmire that is the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Author and filmmaker Stephen Marshall of GNN TV has posted a challenging critique titled “Bad Cop, bad cop … ” in which he concludes:

“If the progressive blogosphere is going to play a meaningful role in the future of American democracy, it is going to have to wean itself from celebrity nipple of the Democratic party. If that doesn’t happen then we are going to zoom into 08 with the most influential leftist bloc on the net acting as a de facto adjunct of the establishment Democrats. In that capacity, MoveOn and The Daily Kos|DailyKos will simply limit the parameters of the debate and push for the most winnable candidates in a game of lesser evils that can only drive us further into the war-torn destiny of a declining empire.”

I’ve been asked how exactly this event came to be organized. A few weeks ago when I examined the schedule for Yearly Kos it was clear that there would be no meaningful strategy session on the war in Iraq. I decided to create that session, and I arranged through the convention hotel for a Sunday morning event that would feature leaders of the Iraq Veterans Against the War.

The Yearly Kos refused to put our event Coffee with the Troops onto their conference schedule despite the fact that no other event was scheduled at the time. Not to be deterred, I arrived at Yearly Kos with 800 flyers that I personally distributed to attendees, and I blogged about the event during the conference.

The event was a tremendous success and one of the best-attended sessions of the Yearly Kos, demonstrating the hunger of the Netroots to address this issue.

JOHN STAUBER is the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wisconsin. With Sheldon Rampton he is the author of five books including Banana Republicans, Weapons of Mass Deception and Mad Cow USA.

He can be reached


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.