This is the first installment in a four-part series written by Jonathan Matthew Smucker in collaboration with Madeline Gardner, originally published in 2007.
They won’t do it. It’s up to all of us to stop the war.
It’s 2007, and the war continues. It is even escalating with Bush’s maddening “surge.” Equally maddening is the announcement from prominent Democrats that they will not be exercising the only power they have to rein in the administration. Instead of denying Bush more funds for the war – a move, with historic precedence, that would pressure a quick withdrawal of US troops from Iraq – they are opting for a non-binding resolution, a “political statement.”
While a large majority of Americans want their leadership to bring the troops home, Democrats are using their new majority to state their heartfelt wish for the same-to pass a symbolic resolution-rather than to use actual power to make it so. New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and most other Democratic representatives are parroting Bush by equating continued funding for the war with support for our troops. They should be refuting this manipulative frame, not reinforcing it.
Many rank and file Democrats and some progressive leaders like Representatives Jim McGovern (MA) and Dennis Kucinich (OH) are pushing to end the war by cutting off the Administration’s requested funds. But it is becoming clear that the November election results – popularly dubbed a referendum on the war – are not enough for the new Democratic majority Congress to decisively exercise their power to end the war.
It is becoming clear that the majority of Americans who favor a quick withdrawal will have to exercise their own power – beyond voting – to pressure an end to the war. The politicians won’t do it without the mounting pressure of a well-organized popular movement. It is up to all of us to build such a movement.