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RALPH NADER: The Anti-War Movement

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    This War Has Left the US Poorer, More Despised and Less Safe Restarting the Anti-War Movement RALPH NADER, CounterPunch March 15, 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 2, 2005
      This War Has Left the US Poorer, More Despised and Less Safe

      Restarting the Anti-War Movement
      RALPH NADER, CounterPunch
      March 15, 2005

      Political movements require momentum, they need to consistently build
      and aggregate. When they take a lengthy break from organizing and
      stop the momentum it is difficult to re-start.

      During the Vietnam War there was a consistent expansion of anti-war
      efforts. Every year the movement built and grew. Anti-war activists
      did not take breaks during election years. In fact, they targeted
      members of both political parties for their support for the war.
      Indeed, their work led to a sitting president, Lyndon Johnson;
      dropping out during the primaries as it became evident the Vietnam
      War would destroy his chances of re-election. This occurred even
      though Johnson was elected in what was the largest landslide ever in
      his previous 1964 campaign. And when that election year was over even
      Richard Nixon was pressured to announce a withdrawal plan.

      The anti-Iraq war movement showed its power before the war putting
      millions of people in the streets. We were years ahead of the growth
      of the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era. Now that the Iraq war
      and occupation have unfolded all of the predictions of the anti-war
      movement have come true. Iraq is a quagmire, has led to the deaths of
      tens of thousands of civilians and more than 1,500 U.S. troops,
      hundreds of billions of tax dollars are being spent resulting in cuts
      of many stateside domestic programs. U.S. corporate interests have
      invaded Iraq and the widespread corruption related to corporate
      business is being exposed. But yet, the anti-war movement with few
      exceptions chose not to have a demanding impact on the presidential
      election and John Kerry.

      The Iraq War and occupation have made the United States less secure.
      CIA Director Porter Goss testified before Congress this February
      saying that Iraq has become a training ground for terrorists,
      saying: "Those Jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced in
      and focused on acts of urban terrorism. They represent a potential
      pool of contacts to build transitional terrorist cells, groups and
      networks." This analysis is consistent with the findings of
      government reports and comments of intelligence officials. Yet, the
      anti-war movement failed to make this point during the election
      giving both major parties a free ride for their support of a war that
      makes us less secure.

      Military intelligence, active and retired, as well as repeated
      documented exposé have found no WMD's, no Saddam-Al Qaeda or 9/11
      connections and no threat to his more powerful neighbors from his
      tottering dictatorship with a dilapidated army unwilling to fight for
      him. Yet the silence of the anti-war movement during the election
      allowed both parties to avoid criticism for their support of the war
      based on false information.

      The U.S. is poorer, less safe, and less respected because of the Iraq

      If the peace movement had continued to advocate for an end to the war
      during the presidential election year, rather than remaining silent
      where would be today? We would have built on the successes of our
      beginnings rather than having to start anew. We'd be nearer the end
      of the war-occupation, not farther from it. President Bush would be
      on the defensive, not on the offensive. Iraqis would be seeing the
      light at the end of the tunnel, when they would get their country and
      economy back, rather than the darkness of continued occupation.

      How does the anti-war movement recover from this lost momentum? There
      is much work to do to respond to this question; but it can be done
      because the people can have the power to make it happen.

      Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate who has worked on a wide range of
      issues including civic skills, environmentalism, control of
      corporations and election reform. He has worked against the Iraq War
      since 2002.

      Nader will be one of three people authoring a blog on Democracy
      Rising focused on their "Stop the War" campaign. (See:
      www.DemocracyRising.US). People can comment on the Nader blog on the
      site. In addition, Kevin Zeese, a director of Democracy Rising,
      authors a blog, the first one focusing on Iraq being worse off two
      years after the war; and Virginia Rodino, another organizer of
      Democracy Rising and a member of the steering committee of United for
      Peace and Justice, authors a blog focused on the strategy and tactics
      of the anti-war movement.



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