ON MARCH 2, the liberal organization MoveOn.org–known for mobilizing opposition to the Bush administration through the Internet–sent an e-mail to its membership that declared the
Dear MoveOn member,
I’m sure you’ve heard about President Obama’s plan to finally bring an end to the disastrous war in
We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the work that you’ve done over the last six, dark years…to thank you, sincerely, for all you have done…
This war is coming to an end in part because of the work you did.
While the letter acknowledges that "our troops aren’t home yet. Hundreds of thousands of them are still in harm’s way, and will continue to be for longer than any of us would like," it says the bottom line is that "now there’s a date certain for them to come home."
Reading this, I was reminded of the final line of Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises: "Isn’t it pretty to think so?"
But MoveOn is not alone. Much of the antiwar movement has folded its tents. The
So it’s no surprise that the fine print of President Barack Obama’s plan in
Rather than pulling all
The plan would maintain relatively high troop levels through
Obama’s plan says nothing about the private contractors and mercenaries that are an essential part of the occupation of
Obama calls the troops who will stay in
And in accepting the logic of the Bush administration for not withdrawing the troops immediately–that they are needed to fight al-Qaeda, engage in "counter-insurgency operations," and continue the "war on terror"–Obama has opened the door to keeping them in
Indeed, in his speech about the
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WE KNOW that Iraq will remain under occupation until at least the end of 2011, but there is very good reason to believe that between now and then, the Iraqi government, which owes its survival to Washington, will cut a deal to allow U.S. forces to remain longer. Such an agreement would also likely give the
The fact remains that
MoveOn should be letting its members know this–and urging far more than to "keep watching
Obama has said all along that he sees Afghanistan as the "central front" in the "war on terror," and that he would commit more troops to the war there. But Justin Ruben, MoveOn’s new executive director, told Nation correspondent Ari Melber that the organization did not intend to oppose Obama’s plan to send more troops to Afghanistan.
The message being sent to the antiwar movement is: It’s over. We can "move on." Leave it to the generals to wind it down. But if we do that, we will find ourselves without the forces we need to challenge Obama and Congress.
The year 2011 is already too late to end the occupation of Iraq, which should never have started in the first place. And shifting troops from Iraq to Afghanistan is not ending the war.
Without an antiwar movement that is loud, active, in the streets and raising its own independent demands beyond the limits set by the Democratic Party, U.S. troops will not be coming home.
The empire has not folded up its tent, and neither should we.