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      Tuesday
      Mar192013

      The Dove Is Never Free

      This article originally appeared at The Nation on March 19, 2013.

      Oh the wars they will be fought again
      The holy dove
      She will be caught again
      Bought and sold and bought again
      The dove is never free.
            —Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

      Remember how bad things were. Al Gore won the vote but the thieves won the 2000 election. After the terror of 9/11, the peace forces hadn’t been so marginal since the 1950s.

      Just in case, the Iraq War itself was designed to avoid provoking the public. No draft would mean no protest. Iraq would cost a bargain price $200 million, with no tax hike. There would be few American casualties to disturb the television watchers, just like the earlier air war in the Balkans. A cakewalk, they called it.

      Then in February 2003, millions around the world declared a new generation of winter soldiers on freezing streets. The New York Times pronounced public opinion a second superpower.

      During the next five years there were eleven national protests surpassing 100,000 in number, some well over 500,000. Individuals found their boldness and made a difference, among them: Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Robert Greenwald, Bradley Manning, Howard Dean and the individual security guard who released the Abu Graeb photos. One hundred and fifty city governments passed anti-war resolutions. For the first time, the AFL-CIO opposed a war. An American majority soon told Gallup that Iraq was a mistake. MoveOn.org raised tens of millions for anti-war candidates. Voters dumped the House Republican majority in 2006, with the issue of Iraq decisive.

      In October 2007, old New Leftists like Marilyn Katz and Carl Davidson finally found a respectable speaker for their Chicago peace rally: state Senator Barack Obama. Months later, Obama won all-white Iowa on his pledge to oppose the Iraq War. He was the first president elected on platform of withdrawing our troops during a war.

      In those brief five years, a peace movement arose mysteriously from the margins, spread to the mainstream and drove a stake through neo-conservative dreams of domination. A Shi’a regime came to power in a sovereign Iraq, and Iran was the geo-political victor. Of course, the Empire didn’t fall, the “War on Terrorism” didn’t abate, neo-liberalism proceeded, global warming worsened. In the title of David Kilcullen’s book on counter-insurgency, Iraq was only a “small war” in the course of a longer one.

      But it is important to note the impact of the peace movement as a formidable stumbling block and complicating factor for future imperial plans. It’s a tragedy that the peace movement could not be consolidated after Iraq into a version of the NAACP, NOW or the AFL-CIO. The millions raised by Move.ong were not reinvested in a lasting peace constituency. There was no Soros endowment. The political consultants turned a blind eye to the existence of the obvious peace bloc that was critical to winning. To this day, the peace movement is an unrecognized constituent force in the country. Its voice is utterly excluded from the inner circles of national security discussions.

      Until this imbalance is corrected, the spectrum of “legitimate” opinion always will tilt toward the military option. And, like the legend of Sisyphus, peace advocates always will start at the bottom of the hill.

      Long wars require a long peace movement.

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      Reader Comments (2)

      What's the endgame? With more war, violence, unemployment, homelessness, inequity, oppression, environmental degradation, hunger, poverty, imprisonment and illness on the planet than ever before, why is so little actually being done to solve these problems? Where are the popularly supported action plans for a sustainable future, why aren't our leaders mobilizing massive social movements to implement corrective action and why aren't we already well down the road to success? Humanity remains asleep while its future teeters at the edge of disaster....how will this end? An institutionalized peace movement is a good step, but unless humanity truly overhauls and re-engineers civilization planet wide, prospects for survival of the species seem dim indeed. Reform isn't enough any more, the time has come to redo the social contract on a global scale.

      March 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter McNamee

      "They" do an incredibly good job at white-washing the horrors of war. If every single day we were forced to see all of the flag draped coffins coming home, the families torn apart in distress and pain, all of the soldiers who are permanently disabled, physically and mentally, and If we were to see all of the death and destruction and loss that war brings upon the communities and families in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in any war, if the truth of it all was in our face everyday, then maybe our acceptance, lethargy, and denial would end. But "they" keep their secrets, covet their lies, and make sure that your average American is none the wiser.

      In response to this article, another commenter asked, "what is the endgame?" And when I ask "why?" there is only one answer...money! Billions and billions of it. That good ol' war machine keeps that money flowing in, filling the off-shore accounts of our one percenters! And as we all know, money is power! Even power enough to buy yourself an election, for President of the USA no less. Keep your rich and powerful friends happy. Make sure your political powers ensure them, and yourself, lots and lots of money, even if it means starting a war!

      War is good business! Peace is not....

      Our Declaration of Independence says that The People created Government, and if that Government becomes destructive, and no longer serves the well being of The People, then'"...it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government," one that"...to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." This is all contained in the second paragraph, look it up. Also, this is not a Partisan issue, it's about all of us, and a Government that has become dysfunctional, and Politicians who get away with lying, cheating, stealing, and even murder. Yes, even murder...all of the lives lost in wars that never should have happened.

      April 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Maria Schnitzler
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