Friday, May 11, 2007

A Real Opportunity to Influence U.S. War Policy

Readers from outside the U.S. often ask why we Americans don’t do more to influence our government. One reason is that we don’t know what to do that will have any effect. A few days ago I came across a useful article in the New York Times which reveals some contacts for Americans who want to make their opposition to the Iraq war felt by Congress, and particularly by the Democrats who were elected with a demand to end the war:
‘Antiwar Groups Use New Clout to Influence Democrats on Iraq’

The article points out that the failure of the Democrats in Congress to take genuine action to end the Iraq war – primarily from fear of being accused of failing “to support our troops” when they run for reelection – has brought about great frustration among those who voted the current herd of Democratic sheep into office. That frustration has resulted in the formation of numerous antiwar groups, many of which have now banded together under the umbrella of Americans Against Escalation in Iraq.

On the “Americans Against Escalation in Iraq” website you will find listed the organizations which have banded together. If you click on “Learn more” on the first page, you’ll be taken to a list of links which will give you the particulars about each group. Two of the best known groups are and

The NYT states there there is considerable tension between the Democratic “leadership” and the antiwar groups. It relates that leaders of, “including Tom Matzzie, the group’s Washington director who also serves as the campaign manager for the coalition, sent a harshly worded warning to the Democratic leadership.”

‘‘“In the past few days, we have seen what appear to be trial balloons signaling a significant weakening of the Democratic position,” the letter read. “On this, we want to be perfectly clear: if Democrats appear to capitulate to Bush — passing a bill without measures to end the war — the unity Democrats have enjoyed and Democratic leadership has so expertly built, will immediately disappear.”

‘‘The letter went on to say that if Democrats passed a bill “without a timeline and with all five months of funding,” they would essentially be endorsing a “war without end.” MoveOn, it said, “will move to a position of opposition.”’

There is no reason for me to list in this blog all of the antiwar activist groups you can find on the links given above, nor to describe the actions and inactions of politicians which are reported in the daily news. If you are on the antiwar side, please have a look at the antiwar coalition and take action.

It’s obvious that individual citizens have little influence on politicians, but if enough individuals gather together in coalitions (for example the NRA and AARP), they will be listened to. If we can swell the ranks of the antiwar groups sufficiently – under Americans Against Escalation in Iraq – we can make a real difference.

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