Imagine yourself sitting down transfixed and watching video footage of U.S. bombs hitting Iran. You see children ripped limb from limb, mothers screaming and wailing, people panicked, tortured, traumatized, and killed. Imagine asking yourself at that point: What was I doing these past many months that I thought was more important than preventing this?Now ask yourself today: What am I doing that is more important than ending the ongoing hell of the U.S. occupation of Iraq?
Are you struggling to support your family? So are many, many other people who still find hours and days to commit. While congress members and senators have the gall to tell constituents that opposing Pelosi or Reid and cutting off the funding lies outside their “comfort zone,” citizens are going without sleep, ruining marriages and friendships, losing money, fasting, and risking serious jail time for nonviolent protests. Are those children hit by the bombs living within a “comfort zone”?
Are you working on an election campaign? Is that where you believe democratic activism belongs? Here are a few reasons to consider putting at least some of your energy into ending the occupation of Iraq right now: First, there is no good reason to believe votes will be honestly counted. Second, there are no candidates in the two big parties who intend to end the occupation quickly, but there might be one if the peace movement were larger – and that shift in policy would help that candidate win more than doing what he wants you to do would help. Third, a great many people will die unnecessary deaths during the next 10 months, and it is simply not true that Congress cannot prevent it. Any Senator can commit now to filibustering the funding, just as Senator Chris Dodd committed to filibustering telecom immunity. Any representative can commit now to voting No and to lobbying Pelosi not to bring the funding up for a vote. We elected them to do this in 2006, and if we do not hold them to it we will lose the power to elect anyone to do anything we want in 2008.
Are you working to pass federal legislation on an important issue that will benefit millions of people? That’s sweet of you, but a complete waste of time. As I said in November of 2006, and as has proved true over 15 months: good bills will be vetoed, bad ones will become law, and mixed ones will have the good parts signing-statemented. Building momentum to pass your bill next year is all well and good, but there will be no money to pay for it if the occupation of Iraq continues. Were Congress to find the nerve to impeach, you might get your legislation turned into law this year. And I would ask you to close your eyes and look one more time at the dying children of Iran. If that doesn’t work, open your eyes and look at these images from our occupation of Iraq: http://afterdowningstreet.org/image
Are you working to make change at the local or state level? Are you working to educate, to change our culture, to inject decency into the world of business? Are you providing direct assistance to people in need? By no means should you stop, but you will be stopped if global war results from the suicidal course our government is on. You will be stopped if global warming is not reversed. You will be stopped if the hatred for the United States that Bush and Cheney are developing around the world blows back at us in a violent form. You will have to live with the destroyed human beings who are veterans of U.S. military service in Iraq. And you will have to live with knowing that collectively we could very easily have prevented hundreds of thousands of deaths, and you didn’t do your bit.
So, let’s all do our share. Let’s do it this week. Let’s put an end to this murderous catastrophe right now and get on with the enormous task of building a peaceful and sustainable world.
So, what should you do? You should get involved in one of the events planned everywhere in the country on March 19th and surrounding days: http://resistinmarch.org
DAVID SWANSON is a co-founder of After Downing Street, a writer and activist, and the Washington Director of Democrats.com. He is a board member of Progressive Democrats of America, and serves on the Executive Council of the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential campaign, Media Coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as Communications Coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Swanson obtained a Master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia in 1997.
Last Updated March 14, 2008 4:58 PM
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