Why you should want the primary to continue if you hate the war
Naomi Klein recently published what I consider to be the best book on politics in at least a generation. I've mentioned it in previous posts, and I will undoubtedly do so again. Many times. It should be required reading for anyone who claims to be politically informed. So, I also want everyone to click over to Huffington Post, and read her new article, with Jeremy Scahill:
Sixty-four per cent of Americans tell pollsters they oppose the war, but you'd never know it from the thin turnout at recent anniversary rallies and vigils.
When asked why they aren't expressing their anti-war opinions through the anti-war movement, many say they have simply lost faith in the power of protest. They marched against the war before it began, marched on the first, second and third anniversaries. And yet five years on, U.S. leaders are still shrugging: "So?"
There is no question that the Bush administration has proven impervious to public pressure. That's why it's time for the anti-war movement to change tactics. We should direct our energy where it can still have an impact: the leading Democratic contenders.
Because Klein and Scahill also understand that although both Democratic candidates are much more honest and realistic than John McCain, when discussing Iraq, neither is coming close to being honest and realistic enough.
Look past the rhetoric and it becomes clear that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton has a real plan to end the occupation. They could, however, be forced to change their positions--thanks to the unique dynamics of the prolonged primary battle.
Despite the calls for Clinton to withdraw in the name of "unity," it is the very fact that Clinton and Obama are still fighting it out, fiercely vying for votes, that presents the anti-war movement with its best pressure point. And our pressure is badly needed.
While Clinton and Obama denounce the war with great passion, they both have detailed plans to continue it. Both say they intend to maintain the massive Green Zone, including the monstrous U.S. embassy, and to retain U.S. control of the Baghdad Airport.
Crucially, the candidates have already shown that they are vulnerable to pressure from the peace camp: When The Nation revealed that neither candidate was supporting legislation that would ban the use of Blackwater and other private security companies in Iraq, Clinton abruptly changed course. She became the most important U. S. political leader to endorse the ban, scoring a point on Obama, who opposed the invasion from the start.
This is exactly where we want the candidates: outdoing each other to prove how serious they are about ending the war. That kind of issue-based battle has the power to energize voters and break the cynicism that is threatening both campaigns.
Let's remember: unlike the outgoing Bush administration, these candidates need the support of the two-thirds of Americans who oppose the war in Iraq. If opinion transforms into action, they won't be able to afford to say, "So?"
Yep. Klein, and not for the first time, gives me hope. My support goes to Hillary for Social Security, Universal Health Care, and because I won't reward people who leverage Hillary Hatred. I've always considered the two candidates a wash on Iraq, going forward. But Klein gives me hope that we could still make a difference. Ideas? Ideas for making a difference?
NOTE I'm happy to see Lord Kos and Jane trying for the McCain takedown. But isn't ending the war more important?