Peace forces have accomplished more these past four years than many are able to comprehend, due to their understandable bitterness over the proliferation of drones and civil liberty issues. The achievements made possible should not be forgotten, but instead built upon. As the Peace and Justice Resource Center and Congresswoman Barbara Lee advocated, President Barack Obama's re-election platform included ending two quagmires and reinvesting the revenues in rebuilding America, though a withdrawal from Afghanistan is scheduled more slowly than progressives would have preferred.
The application of massive US ground forces to implement the Long War doctrine has been ended for the reasons we predicted: it is unwinnable, unaffordable and therefore unpopular with a majority of Americans.
The PJRC never promised that ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would end the militarized thrust of US foreign policy in defense of global strategic interests like oil and natural resources. But the military withdrawals, combined with the budget crunch, can only make future interventions harder and diplomacy more necessary.
A vital focus of the PJRC in the coming year will be on revising the War Powers Act in order to prevent the return of the Imperial Presidency. The broad outline of the proposals will include:
- Continued pressure to cut funding for military operations in Afghanistan;
- A diplomatic settlement involving Afghanistan and Pakistan;
- Radical reduction of the use of drones as part of the diplomatic settlement;
- Reinvigoration of Congressional war powers to cover drones, cyber war, CIA secret armies, and arbitrary detentions, which now are under secret executive control.
Obama has felt the pressure from civil liberties, peace and media groups, and said to Jon Stewart on October 18 that he would welcome Congressional help “to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president is reined in,” by designing new “legal architecture” to cover the new nature of warfare.
Revising the Nuclear Arms Race
Ignored in the election was the sharp difference between Obama, a lifelong opponent of the nuclear arms race, and Romney who wanted to modernize and grow the US nuclear arsenal against a Russian government, which he denounced as our number one geopolitical foe. Now there is an opportunity for Obama to move forward with his zig-zag quest for nuclear arms reductions. Unfortunately, Obama is hampered by the understandable lack of a peace movement on the scale of the nuclear-freeze campaign in the 1980s.