Monday, January 8, 2007

What's the best way to bring the troops home?

Bush announced an escalation of the war in Iraq on Wednesday night.

For the first time in a long time it feels like history is hanging in balance and that an expression of popular opinion might tip it in positive direction.

I'm ready to email my friends and ask them to join in effort to counter Bush's plan for more troops and email their friends as well. But it's not clear to me what's the best action to suggest.

(Edit on 1-9 - One thing seems clear to me. One person acting won't make any difference. The only way to defeat this is if you contact your friends as well.)

There is's petition . It automatically sends the petition to your particular representative. You can also make a contribution there to pay for advertising. I signed a personalized note and contributed $25.

(Edit on 1-9 - I also found Care2's petition and signed it. Very easy. The plus is that you get to see the comments from the people who preceeded you. Plus you can see that there is a new one every 15 sec. That helps.

These efforts are important because I can imagine someone saying "well, we never saw that many signatures so quickly from that group, there must be something going on."

I encourage you to take advantage of these petitions since they are set up to do this sort of thing at the moment. But I realize that that any message filtered through these groups is suspect from the POV of many recipients of the message. So...)

I'm looking for additional actions to take and to recommend to others. What would best get the attention of the people who might stand up and vote down the escalation? I appreciate your ideas.

(Edit 1-9 - My smart, connected friend (who shall go nameless since she terminated our IM session to take a call) says to focus on Kennedy's effort and use phone calls, faxes, and letters to key representatives, especially those other than Pelosi and the California Senators. So, here's a site of the contact info for Senators. And another for Congress.)

Here and here are earlier thoughts about getting out of Iraq.

(Edit 1-9 - if you act based on this post, please add a short comment - that helps move the thing along.)


Kaunda said...

On Charlie Rose I saw Gen. Jack Keane who's been an outspoken proponent of the escalation strategy. He came across as likable and sensible.

This Psychology Today article intrigued me as far as the conclusion that when people are told or reminded to try to be reasonable, they will be for the most part.

The article also suggests how the argument put forth in favor of escalation: "We can't afford to fail." is so effective in preventing reasonable discussion of what to do in Iraq.

Securing Baghdad is something reasonable people would probably think a good thing. But we don't look at the situation, where securing the Baghdad for many means ethnic cleansing of Sunnis. And then dealing with the intra-Shia rivalries. I don't think that al-Maliki's government can produce good results on the later.

Juan Cole has a good piece about a proposal from former Iraqi cabinet minister Ali Allawi.

Sorry for being so long-winded here. My point is that your blog post is exactly the sort of thing more of us must do. We need to create reasonable and responsible discussion instead of turning to ideological disputes.

The escalation is premised on platitudes like; "It's our last best chance." What's needed is discussion which shows the downsides to the escalation strategy and also credible presentations of alternatives. "There's no alternative!" must not be allowed to stand. It's pure fear-mongering --even with a happy face like Gen. Keane spouting it--"There's no alternative!" is harmful BS.

Haney Armstrong said...

Following up - when you sign the MoveOn petition, they generate an email urging you to call your Congressperson and they supply the name and number.