March 19, 2008

Stop the Iraq War

My country is at war. That seems like a strange statement, especially when this is the fifth year it has been true. In examining my daily life, nobody would guess I was a citizen in a nation at war, and I am hardly unique in this respect. With the exception of those who have close friends or family serving in Iraq, the daily lives of my fellow Americans remain largely unaffected by this war. Is this why we are not out in the streets demanding immediate withdrawal? Or perhaps our inaction reflects the sort of learned helplessness that sets in after years of observing the utter lack of accountability which pervades our government. Our president and his minions do what they want without regard for the law, and our Congress refuses to reign them in at all.

I cannot think about America's war in Iraq without remembering how we got there in the first place. The American president lied us into this war, betraying the Constitution he swore to uphold and blatantly violating the public trust. We did not know this at the time, but he was fully aware of what he was doing and the likely consequences of invasion. This unjust, preemptive war was initially Bush's folly and his alone, however Congress would soon sign on to be a willing accomplice. Some so-called Democrats even authorized Bush's use of aggression. So much for our two-party system.

As the years rolled by and the war continued, making Americans progressively less safe from terrorism, the scope of Bush's crimes emerged. The American people finally decided to send a message. We elected more Democrats to Congress in the hope that this shifting balance of power would allow them to stop the war and hold the corrupt regime accountable. What we did not count on was that they had little interest in actually doing either. Impeachment was immediately removed as an option, and Congressional Democrats made it clear that stopping the war in the only way they could was a political risk they were unwilling to assume.

And then something even worse happened, something that reflects just how dire this situation was becoming. The American people signed on to the war too. Through our apathy and inaction, we gave this administration and a failed Congress exactly what they most wanted. Instead of demanding an end to the war and impeachment of those who lied us into it, we folded. Instead of pressuring the Democratic majority we had just elected to uphold their promises to represent the will of the people, we gave up. After all, the war has had little impact on our daily lives, and say, that Britney Spears sure seems interesting. In greater numbers, we turned off the news and turned on American Idol. We disengaged from the process, telling ourselves that we had tried and done what we could.

With the Democratic presidential primary making news and Obama generating so much excitement among new voters, a brief window of opportunity is opening. The November presidential election will offer the American people one last chance to send a message on Iraq. We can elect McBush, assuring what this unjust war will become the longest in American history and that our reputation abroad will be irreparably damaged, or we can elect someone who promises to end the war and then make sure they actually do so.

Of course, it is not my intention to suggest that we must wait for November to make our voices heard. If our continued involvement in this war makes you as mad as it does me, there are things you can do now. Here are a few ideas:
  • Contact your elected officials and make sure they know that ending the war in Iraq is important to you. Let them know that you vote and are not willing to keep voting for them if they continue to neglect their duty to the people.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local paper expressing your position on Iraq.
  • Call for the impeachment of President Bush.
For more, see this post from BuzzFlash. And finally, now is the time to be proactive on Iran so that it does not become next on Bush's list.

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