Sunday, July 09, 2006

Editorial: American wants the war over now

The Green Party's National Committee has endorsed the VotersForPeace pledge, a national effort to organize the emerging 'Peace Vote' as a voting block with the power to determine the outcome of elections.
The pledge reads "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."
"We encourage all voters who agree that U.S. troops must be withdrawn from Iraq to sign the VotersForPeace pledge," said
Rae Vogeler, Wisconsin Green candidate for the U.S. Senate. "The only way to stop the war is to get Democratic and Republican warhawks out of office."

The above is from the Green Party's press release, "Green Party Endorses Voters for Peace Pledge." United for Peace & Justice supports and notes the pledge in "No Peace, No Vote: Sign the Voters for Peace Pledge:"

Last March, the ever-outspoken Molly Ivins wrote that she was fed up with "every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch" in Washington DC. Denouncing the sparseness of antiwar candidates, she proclaimed, "This is not a time for a candidate who will offend no one. It is time for a candidate who takes clear stands and kicks ass."
We couldn't agree more. It's time to put every Congressional candidate -- incumbents and newcomers alike -- on notice that if they want our votes, they must take a clear, public stand on ending the Iraq war and preventing any other unjust, illegal war.
We urge you to stand up with other outraged voters and
sign the Voters for Peace pledge:
"I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."

Others are endorsing it as well and we'll get to that in a moment, but to pull back a moment, Editor & Publisher reports on a recent Gallup poll which found:

roughly 2 in 3 Americans urge a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, with 31% wanting this to start immediately. Gallup's director, Frank Newport, sums up the results today: "Taken together, it is perhaps fair to say that a significant majority of Americans would like the United States to either withdraw troops from Iraq or make specific plans to do so, although there is no majority demand that troops be withdrawn immediately."

The poll found that a third of the people responding were happy to wait and see what tomorrow might bring (apparently chaos and violence make for "happy thoughts" -- quick, someone tell that to Peter Pan!). A third wanted an immediate pullout and another third wanted a timetable for withdrawal. The poll, again, found that two-thirds of Americans (surveyed) wanted the troops withdrawn from Iraq.

The people turned against this war some time ago. The 'brains' on up the chain at various papers and news organizations haven't grasped it but, more surprising?, neither have a number of politicians. Only thirteen Senators supported the Feingold-Kerry proposal to set a timetable for withdrawal (twelve Democrats -- counting John Kerry and Russ Feingold -- and the Senate's only independnet, Jim Jeffords). Demonstrators camped outside of War Hawk Dianne Feinstein's new home but "Diane Feinstein, Girl Senator" can't seem to grasp the plain message they're sending. War Hawks Maria Cantwell and Joe Lieberman are having a rough go of it in their primaries. One political party grasps the importance to voters of the illegal war and, no surprise, it's not the Democratic Party.

The pledge is well known. Short of debating whether or not it should include the words "under God," we don't think it could get a great deal more attention than it's already received. Katrina vanden Heuvel noted the pledge in "The Peace Race" (Editor's Cut, The Nation):

VotersForPeace has initiated the Peace Voter Pledge along with 18 other antiwar organizations -- including United for Peace and Justice, itself a coalition of 1,400 local groups.The pledge is focused on the Iraq war as well as potential armed conflicts such as that with Iran, and -- using language crafted by The Nation in its cover editorial last November -- it reads: "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."

As vanden Heuvel notes, before there was the pledge, there was The Nation's November editorial. The point here is that this idea (which isn't all the new, it's had traction in previous wars as well) didn't just spring to life last week. But timid Democrats (as well as War Hawks) act as though they're completely unfamiliar with it. If they continue to remain willfully oblivious, you may hear what a political consultant told us Saturday, if the Democrats can't address the war, expect a huge number of people to stay home in 2008.

That shocked us. Not for the remarks, which we agree with, but because they came from someone who would never say that publicly. We're honestly surprised he said it privately. What changed his mind? The rough go of it so many are having from challengers, established candidates holding office having to fight off challengers not from opposing parties but from their own Democratic ranks.

We were given permission to paraphrase this: If Democrats don't start addressing the feelings on the war, it will only be worse in the 2008 elections.

Somewhere along the way, when Cindy Sheehan woke up the country with Camp Casey in Crawford, the public mood shifted and it's not going back now. When two-thirds are saying the war needs to end, it's not a minority opinion -- no matter how editors and politicians attempt to marginalize it. Fence straddlers and War Hawks don't seem to grasp their current positions are no longer "safe" or electable. Possibly, more time at home in their districts and less time in the Beltway would straighten that out for them.

Something needs to. America wants the illegal war over.

To cite one more organization, CODEPINK has noted the pledge on the front page of their website for months now:

Take a Stand by Signing the Voters Pledge!
What if millions decided to vote their conscience and said 'No More War Candidates'? The Voters Pledge makes visible a powerful political force, the peace vote, a force that politicians cannot continue to ignore. It sends a clear message to the hawkish minority that leads both major parties to end the occupation of Iraq and to end unprovoked attacks on other nations. Sign the Voters Pledge and ask at least 10 of your friends to sign as well. You can help get 2 million signers in 2006!
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