( – promoted by buhdydharma )
As one of MoveOn’s 3.2 million members and a participant of some years’ standing in MoveOn vigils, living room events, online activities, etc., I opened yesterday’s MoveOn email from Nita Chaudhary with considerable interest. It was entitled, simply, “Iraq.”
My interest quickly turned to shock and then anger.
Your letter does a grave, grave disservice to the anti-war movement in this country. And it does so just when the movement, already fatigued after six years of protest, is facing a whole new set of challenges and not having an easy time adjusting.
One big problem with your letter is that it treats a Presidential promise to have all troops out of Iraq by the beginning of 2012 (almost three years from now) as a clear sign that the war is all but over, even though not a single soldier has been withdrawn yet and the killing and dying continue apace. Accompanied by a slide show of images of anti-war protest, it is valedictory in tone:
We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the work that you’ve done over the last six, dark years–trying first to prevent the war before it happened and then working tirelessly to end it–to thank you, sincerely, for all you have done.
This moment is possible because of you, and millions of people like you across our movement.
The email immediately goes on to urge us to contribute to a fund to help injured veterans, as if that was the main thing left to worry about. Yes, there’s a vague cautionary note further in: “Of course our troops aren’t home yet” and a grudging recognition that Congress is right to “raise questions” about the pace of withdrawal.
Which brings me to the other big problem. One reason the troops won’t, in fact, be coming home any time soon is because a lot of them are being shipped to Afghanistan, 17,000 deploying directly. That’s on top of the 34,000 soldiers and Marines already there. And the additional 17,000 look to be only a down payment on an expanded occupation for which no one in the government can identify a strategy. Or goals. Or an exit plan.
And this letter says not one mumbling word about it!
I don’t know enough to speculate on the whys of this all. I simply observe that encouraging your millions of members to act as though the US is no longer is no longer at war, or as though there is no longer a crying need for anti-war protest, is worse than irresponsible.
The anti-war movement will continue, of course, and adjust. There are groups and projects at the national, regional and local levels that will keep up the fight until these unjust and unjustifiable occupations are ended. Just the locally-based, grassroots project I spend most of my time on, the Iraq Moratorium, will sponsor scores of events this month around the sixth anniversary of the war, mostly in rural areas, suburbs and smaller cities.
I am certain that I am not alone in hoping that MoveOn will come around and put its shoulder to the wheel. Soon. There is work to do.
New York City
Crossposted at DailyKos, and soon, OOIBC.