The Public Has Never Stopped a President from Going to War Before, But That Might Be About to Change with Syria
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Rena Schild
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Last week we wrote about what you could do to stop the war in Syria. This week we can say—many Americans are taking the action needed to stop this war.
If we succeed, and it is still a very big if, it will be historic. We cannot remember when the American people stopped a war after a president said he wanted to bomb a country.
How close are we? The Washington Post reports that 180 members of the House of Representatives are leaning toward voting no on war. FireDogLake reports 216 are leaning toward no. Winning requires 217 votes. There are 151 undecided according to FDL. We need to solidify those who are leaning toward voting no on war and convince enough of the undecided votes to vote no. ( Click here for an updated tally.)
The media is reporting that Congress is being flooded with phone calls and that at constituent meetings people are telling their representatives to vote no on war. Immediately after the President’s call for war, there were protests across the country. Hearings in Congress to authorize war were interrupted by protesters. Congress needs to hear from you: call 202-224-3121. Take part in a historic moment—stop a war!
Members of the Armed Services are speaking out against a war. Some are posting pictures on social media with messages like “I didn’t join the Navy to fight for Al Qaeda in a civil war” or “I did not join the Army to fight for Al Qaeda in Syria while my brothers and sisters are being killed by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.” Top military leaders leaked to the media their concerns about the war while intelligence officials also leaked their concerns about the shaky intelligence.
If we are successful in stopping an attack on Syria, it will teach the movement something very important. Movements need to be independent of the two parties to win. We need to be willing to push people from both parties to support our view and applaud people from both parties who do so. Or, as Martin Luther King Jr. explained: “I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both—not the servant or master of either.”
The only reason the antiwar effort has a chance is because opposition is coming from across the political spectrum, and both Republicans and Democrats in the House oppose this war. Even the classified briefings are unconvincing.
To have an impact in Congress, people from the right and left must join together. A local group in Oklahoma composed of socialists, progressives, liberals, libertarians, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats and independents who oppose war shows that it is possible. A national group, Come Home America (of which Kevin is a co-founder) has been working to build right-left opposition to war and militarism for several years.
The leadership of both parties, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, support President Obama’s call for war, but the rank and file members, in reaction to their constituents, are listening to the people. Nancy Pelosi admits that she cannot guarantee a majority of Democrats will vote for war.
And, they should be doing so. The Green Shadow Cabinet, of which we are members, is calling on Americans to make a pledge: "I pledge that I will not vote to reelect any member of Congress who votes for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Syria."
The Democrats who follow the mis-leadership of President Obama and Leader Pelosi and go against the views of vast majorities of Americans will ensure they are a shrinking minority in the House and will lose their majority in the Senate. They do not seem to realize how angry Americans are at the possibility of another war and that more people are aware of the lies that are told to foment war. Democrats who vote for war may find themselves out of a job after the next midterm election.