Left Turn has an interesting article about today’s American anti-war movement and about United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) in particular.
It ends by noting that:
Going forward, the political terrain has become dangerous for the anti-war movement. The tide seems to be turning in favor of withdrawal. More and more politicians are calling for withdrawal. Even some congressional hawks, like John P. Murtha (D-Penn.) are calling for an immediate withdrawal of US troops. But it’s not because of sudden epiphany on the futility of war. Many Democrats and Republicans are calling for withdrawal because they want to save empire from the Bush administration’s follies.…
The great challenge for the anti-war movement is to avoid having a movement to end the Iraq War transformed into a movement to save Empire. For better and worse, this task is up to UFPJ because of its central role.…
An exclusive focus on the Iraq War means that the vast majority of protesters will probably pack up their bags and go home once an agreement for withdrawal — even a flawed one — is reached. This will leave the left powerless to confront the next war. However, by broadening the struggle while keeping a focus on the Iraq War, the anti-war movement can not only revitalize but also sustain the larger fight for peace and justice.
Chances are, when “withdrawal” happens, it will look something like this: The Dubya Squad will be pulled reluctantly toward withdrawing most American ground troops from Iraq sooner than it would like, it will then declare victory and trumpet this withdrawal as a “mission accomplished” moment. Meanwhile, in Iraq, what was being accomplished by American ground troops will instead be accomplished by U.S.-allied militia groups and by increasing use of U.S. air power (this ramping-up of aerial bombardment has already begun).
Not all the U.S. troops will be out of Iraq, but enough will be that the wind will be out of the sails of the “bring them home now” crowd. Most American soldiers will be out of harm’s way, at least until the next war, but Iraqis will likely be no more safe from the threats that face them today — particularly from the shock-and-awe of the U.S. military.
Keep that in mind next time you hear anti-war speakers begging the government to “bring our troops home now” — if that is the beginning and end of their demands, then when our troops in Iraq are replaced by “smart bombs” they may stop complaining.