Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Tom Hayden asks whether Obama will "keep his pledge to withdraw combat forces from Iraq on a sixteen-month timetable, and all forces by 2011?" Inquiring journalists need to only to look at the continued construction at bases throughout Iraq. Yes, regular ground forces will depart. But a serious contingent will be needed to protect the embassy. Then there will be the special forces personnel who will stay behind to continue training Iraqi security forces. Those special forces will not operate without intelligence assets flying overhead or combat aircraft to provide on-call firepower. Even these limited forces leave a large footprint, requiring logistics, intelligence and administrative support. Those left behind will near 10,000.

James Aragon

Ventura, CA

Jun 12 2009 - 10:15pm

Web Letter

I agree with Mr. Hayden that silence acquiesces and its direct effects of collateral damage which it causes. Moveon.org became too big, too fast and now suffers from megalithic disease. Power. They became a jaded organization that coerced and stifled the voice of its grassroots movement. I liken this to the antiwar and the disarmament movement of the '60s and '70s who sold out, now are burned-out and perhaps broke after they bought into notions of the corporate systems. Tsk tsk tsk...

I lost my confidence in Move on after the last election because it did not stand on justice under democratic principles and could have taken on healthcare, disarmament, voting regulations and the antiwar issues and it sold out. It has also sold out on climate change, and this will cost them their future, and ours. They betrayed our trust, perhaps its owners are too young to appreciate what others have so brilliantly fought and struggled for.

What do they care? They now have money and connections. They squandered the best chance for our country by making the decisions they have. They exploited instead of creating restorative initiatives because it is much easier to go along with an economy that thinks it’s cheaper to destroy the earth than to promote the hard decisions and work it will take to sustain it.

They are compromising by greenwashing climate change and supporting the same cap-and-trade policy of the EDF and NRDC that have too small of cuts in carbon emissions and will not make a bit of difference in the time we have left.

Now add them to the list for reform school.

Forever blue,

Elaine Cimino

Albuquerque, NM

May 29 2009 - 4:48pm

Web Letter

Tom Hayden is correct as far as he goes. Yet he sidestepped MoveOn's transformation. As soon as Moveon endorsed Obama's campaign, it ceased being a gressroots peace organization and became a de facto grassroots extension of the Obama campaign. Once wedded to Obama, MoveOn became unable to voice alternatives that did not toe the party line.

MoveOn faces that problem today. This raises an important issue: was MoveOn ever a progressive movement at all? Or was it simply a convenient mechanism for Democratic Party liberals to advance a liberal agenda? Although Tom Hayden notes that MoveOn's privately held list contains peace advocates, I wonder how many on the list are progressives. This progressive has felt sold out by MoveOn ever since its move to the Democratic Party.

Theron P. Snell

Racine, WI

May 28 2009 - 5:39pm

Web Letter

MoveOn has also rendered its members voiceless on healthcare.

For some reason they chose to join at the hip with Howard Dean from day one and totally compromise themselves. The predictable end to this game is that the healthcare companies will conveniently "snip out" any sort of "public option" at the end of the process.

Result: Healthcare lobby gets everything they wanted. People get even worse and more expensive choices.

Clearly there's an MBA involved somewhere at MoveOn--or maybe a whole slew of them. They decide what is "realistic," and everybody gets screwed in the process.

MoveOn has run its course. They are so over! Just like every operation run by a bunch of MBAs.

Claude Crider

Atlanta, GA, GA

May 28 2009 - 2:14pm

Web Letter

Tom Hayden seems right on target with his assessment of MoveOn, and actually, the majority of the antiwar movement. Mr. Obama seems more interested in prosecuting his "good war" in Afghanistan than in ending the US crusade against the perceived Muslim enemies. Obama does not seem to have internalized the notion that Muslims might have legitimate grievances that, were they addressed honestly, might well isolate the most savage of the anti-American Muslims while bringing the Muslim mainstream back into a peaceful relationship with the US.

John W McCarthy

Jaffrey, NH

May 28 2009 - 1:44pm

Web Letter

I have moved on from Moveon during the 2004 election, and have stopped supporting Commondreams before the 2008 election. It is difficult to fully support The Nation for many of the same reasons. Why?

Because of their support for the corporate Democratic Party leadership candidates--the candidates who never said that they would stop the war in the Middle East; never said that they would decrease the military budget; never said they would investigate war crimes; and never said they would support single-payer healthcare.

Continuous war under a Democrat should be just as unacceptable as under a Republican.

In fact, Mr. Hayden's endorsement of Obama seemed contrary (and irrational) to his stated positions prior to the election, and contrary to this article. He had an opportunity to not endorse the Democratic Party corporate candidate (and maybe even endorse a third party candidate). He didn't.

I guess "people" wanted someone "winnable," but what did they win?

There are not always do-overs, and sometimes you run out of time. The nature of society is not to stand up for truth but to lie down for easy, but false, marketing slogans.

If there weren't enough reasons to not vote for the Democratic corporate candidate this past year, then there never will be enough reason.

So sorry. Hope is the opiate of the masses.

Attila Gyenis

www.NotOneMore.US<br />Mad RIver, CA

May 28 2009 - 3:05am

Web Letter

MoveOn put in place its current green jobs campaign, which now seems to be its principal emphasis, with a Stalinist type poll: the few Cheneyists who disagreed with its all-or-nothing premises could be swept aside easily.

This is an organization that pretty much admittedly conflates flash mobs with democracy and, exactly like Tom Hayden writes, is a little oligarchy that is primarily concerned with managing its worker bees.

David Smith

Fort Lauderdale, FL

May 27 2009 - 8:25pm

Web Letter

We appreciate Tom Hayden's attempt to start a discussion here about the progressive posture on security issues, and we even understand his attempt to use MoveOn as a foil. We agree that it's time to confront the organizing challenges of building an effective peace movement in the Obama era, and we expect MoveOn and MoveOn members to play an important role in this.

In order to have a productive conversation, however, we have to make sure the facts are correct: Tom's characterization of our democratic process is inaccurate, and in the lead of this piece he completely mischaracterizes Justin's conversation with the president. Our executive director, Justin Ruben, never "indicated that MoveOn would not be opposing the $94 billion war supplemental request, nor the 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, nor the increased civilian casualties from the mounting number of Predator attacks." And the article by Ari Melber that Tom referenced as a source does not say that Justin said this. That particular conversation was about MoveOn members' current organizing focus on energy, health care, and the economy. And our belief that the administration should "go big" on progressive policies in these arenas.

Ilyse Hogue

Washington, DC

May 27 2009 - 5:40pm

Web Letter

I am addressing this perwonally to Mr. Hayden, as I have done with the same theme four times now, without an answer. What should America do to protect the little girls who are getting battery acid thrown in their eyes as a punishment for attending school? Do you care?

Or would you prefer a "diplomatic" solution that says this behaviour is tolerable?

Unless you can address this problem, you have no credibility and will accomplish nothing.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

May 27 2009 - 2:46pm

Web Letter

At least MoveOn does survey their membership to find out what the members think are priorities. Democracy for America does, as well. However, Progressive Democrats of America has never surveyed their membership for any opinions or viewpoints. It is the membership of an organization who should be deciding the stand that organization takes on policy and tactics.

Doris Freeman

Phoenix, AZ

May 27 2009 - 1:51pm