Peacenik Obama Voters – Where are you Now?

Obama Expands War, Slaps Peace Voters

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The Obama Administration has engineered a triple setback for the U.S. peace movement and the millions of Americans who opposed the Bush Administration’s unjust, illegal, immoral wars.

In the last two weeks of February, President Barack Obama — upon whom so many peace supporters had counted to change Washington’s commitment to wars and militarism — delivered these three blows to his antiwar constituency:

1. By ordering 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan Feb. 17, President Obama is continuing and expanding George W. Bush’s war. It’s Obama’s war now, and it’s getting much bigger.

2. By declaring Feb. 27 that up to 50,000 U.S. soldiers would remain in Iraq after “combat brigades” departed, President Obama is continuing the war in a country that remains a tragic victim of the Bush Administration’s aggression and which has taken the lives of over a million Iraqi civilians and has made refugees of 4.5 million people.

3. By announcing Feb. 26 that his projected 2010 Pentagon budget was to be even higher than budgets sought by the Bush Administration, President Obama was signaling that his commitment to the U.S. bloated war machine — even at a time of serious economic recession — was not to be questioned.

Whether or not Obama’s actions will revive the peace movement is another matter. Antiwar activism during the election year was minimal. And now that a Democrat is in the White House it may be further reduced, since most peace backers voted for Obama. The movement’s strength will be tested at the demonstrations in Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities on the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war March 21.

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11 responses to “Peacenik Obama Voters – Where are you Now?

  1. There is no “Peace Movement” in America, per se; there are a bunch of groups with competing agendas, one item of which may be the war in either Afghanistan, Iraq, or perhaps both.

    Many times the other items on their broad agendas clash, making it nearly impossible for them to act as one entity and have an impact.

    There have also been occasions in the recent past where peace organizers have been extraordinarily shrill, or tone deaf; it is hard for many Americans to coalesce around a movement whose members hold placards like “maimed for a Lie” outside Walter Reed, or “Support Your Local Caliphate” on the National Mall.

    And let’s face it, some of these activists are aging hippies, who do not have enough time in between all of the organizing and civil disobedience to practice personal hygiene, and they just plain smell kind of funny. . .

    Just Kidding 🙂

  2. For the most part, the peace movement folded into the democratic party. Those who are still a voice for peace, who actively oppose war, may be considered traitorous. It can be dangerous (post 9.11) to be a dissenting patriot, to speak against the actions of the government.

  3. Dissent is dangerous in Cuba, China, and Myanmar, but America?

    Dangerous is a bit out on a limb; passe (accent missing, too tired to html tonight) is a more accurate description of what protesting has become here. Dissent is practically a cottage industry in the US; some organizations actually pay instructors to teach Americans how to organize and execute Civil Disobedience activities; in many other places not so much.

    There are so many protests in so many places for so many reasons that most Americans simply do not pay attention any more. Whenever I see people protesting something on the National Mall (usually when I am running during lunch) I usually am envious of the fact they can just cut out from work to do crap like that.

    Of course, on the rare occasions when I play hookie, I normally spend time with my family, not within the cacophony of the American Protest subculture.

    Maybe if more people are out of work, and have more time on their hands that will change, but. . .

    And what exactly does one stand to lose protesting something in the United States? A good night’s sleep perhaps, employment at the absolute worst, but not too much else.

    I would argue that a traitor is someone who betrays his/her country; in this country there are fairly clear statutes for treason in American Law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, no?

  4. ‘A disruptor is an American citizen… that criticizes Bush; or a member of civil rights, environmental, anti-war or counter-recruiting groups who protest Bush policies; or a person who invades Bush’s bubble by criticizing his policies.’

    Bush to criminalize protesters under Patriot Act as “disruptors”

  5. I don’t buy the police state thing.

    Mocking and disrupting Bush was the lowest of low-hanging fruit for 8 years. Everyone did it! Late night show writers had to tire of the obligatory Bush jokes night after night after night. . .

    Letterman and Olbermann seem like they are in fine health, though. Huffington Post and Daily Kos rarely dedicated an electron of goodwill for the former President, and those orgs seem no worse for the wear, either.

    People openly mocked President Bush during the recent inauguration, for goodness sakes.

    Contrast that with the rest of the world. There are people in Cuba, Myanmar, and elsewhere who are in prison right this moment for doing exactly what the knuckleheads at Take Back NYU did two weeks ago, what Cindy Sheehan did in an almost obsessive fashion until people tired of her a few years back, and for what you and I are doing right now, simply posting comments on a blog.

    And I would argue that freedom of speech is stronger in this country then many others in the Wes, toot. You can still make a goofy Mohammad cartoon (maybe a black velvet painting of Mohammad playing cards with Elvis and Scooby Doo or something) in the U.S. without everyone evacuating their bowels, how about in France or Denmark?

    Look at today’s rabblerousers; blowhards Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are likely to get bonuses at the end of the year for all the trouble (and ratings) they stir up for the administration from their little pulpits. The dissenting patriot Michael Moore profited handsomely during the previous administration as well, did he not? He is definitely in a higher tac bracket than he started at the beginning of the previous administration, no?

    I do agree that people get branded pejoratively as “unpatriotic” all the time, that’s just politics these days, and the electorate seems tired of it; four years ago, people who did not support the President’s Iraq policies were disloyal communists; four hours ago, people who did not support the President’s bailouts and stimuli and budget plan are a bunch of right wing homegrown terrorists.

    We are getting close to the point where people who most clearly explain their ideas to the American people have a shot at governing the country; keep your fingers crossed, it may even happen in our lifetimes!

    Cheers.

  6. that’s tax, not tac, sorry. . .

  7. jon stewart has a few shows on obama, already, that are an accurate ‘mockery’ of his policies, which are basically, no different than bush’s.

    re activists as terrorists:

    Md. Police Put Activists’ Names On Terror Lists

  8. Barbara,

    I live just down the road from the MD story, it was covered thoroughly on NPR here in DC and NOVA.

    Look what happened to the protesters: nothing, although many of them will likely get enough for a new car in some kind of lawsuit in the near future.

    Was it a national/systematic effort to deny citizens of their rights? Were the perpetrators villified once the activity was discovered?

    Contrast that with dissenters in South Africa and elsewhere, who spent decades in prison when they expressed their opinion or conducted acts of civil disobedience. Or who simply disappear, never to be seen again. . .

    I respect everyone’s right to self expression and point of view, but I do not look upon civil disobedience in the United States as an act of heroism; civil disobedience may be inconvenient, and it requires dedication and commitment, but it is far from dangerous compared to many other places in the world.

    The President shows far more courage throwing out the opening pitch to the Washington Nationals every year than the average protester does.

    Yes, SNL, Daily Show, etc readily mock the new President, just as they did the last one. All is well in the Republic.

    Anyone who lives here and believes they are truly devoid of rights should spend some time staring across the demilitarized zone in the Republic of Korea, or in a former Soviet Socialist Republic, and talk to some old timers there. It is unsettling, to say the least.

    Cheers,

    bob W

  9. Dissenting in some parts of the world can be dangerous; this is true. But we are discussing dissenting in America, a right, a responsibility, written into the Constitution.

    With the advent of the Patriot Act, these rights are being taken away. If you speak with anyone who identifies themself as a ‘patriot’, they will tell you unequivocably, that we live in a ‘Republic” and the rights built into the Constitution must be upheld.

    Protesting patriots may not be heroic, and their actions may not make a *noticeable* impact, but what they are doing is what everyone of us ought to be – speaking out.

    -=-=-

    Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.
    — Harry Truman

    …and this is what we have, an increasing level of fear. I’ve spoken with people who are afraid to protest because of the possible implications for disagreeing with their government. When we compare ourselves to repressive regimes in other parts of the world and congratulate ourselves for not being locked away for years for daring to speak out, we do the Constitution a grave disservice.

  10. I have been surprised at the administration’s reaction to critics of its economic policies; calling out private citizens by name is a little alarming and over the top, no?

  11. i’m not familiar with that, but concerning, yes. I think that anyone thoroughly paying attention is critical of how the administration is handling the economic situation. How many bailouts will the banks be given before America is in total collapse?

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