As the Iraq war debate rages in the capital, and polls show growing public frustration with the war, keep an eye on the growing groundswell of opposition in cities across the country. The DC-based Institute for Policy Studies is a key player in organizing city councils, towns and municipalities to pass resolutions calling for US withdrawal, in hopes of forcing the hand of the Bush Administration and fence-sitting Democrats in Congress.

To date, 67 cities–including Chicago, Sacramento, Chapel Hill, Gary (Indiana) and dozens of towns in Vermont–have done so. The resolutions usually call on the US government “to commence an orderly and rapid withdrawal of United States military personnel from Iraq,” while also shipping non-military aid “necessary for the security of Iraq’s citizens and for the rebuilding of Iraq.” (Disclosure: I am a longtime IPS board member.)

As IPS Director John Cavanagh concedes, cities alone cannot make foreign policy. But, he adds, “we’re at a fascinating tipping point.” He “can imagine a majority within a year to 18 months that would vote to cut off the money for the war. That is a goal.There are different ways to end the war, but that’s the one that feels clearest.”

For more, click here to read today’s Washington Post story on Cities for Peace.

And in another heartening sign that opposition is growing to a war and occupation which undermines our security, this past weekend more than 2,000 delegates at the national convention in Houston of the Union for Reformed Judaism voted overwhelmingly to call on the Bush Administration to produce an exit strategy for American forces in Iraq and to begin withdrawing troops after the December 15th elections there. The union, with 1.5 million members, represents the largest branch of Judaism in the US and it joins a host of other religious groups in calling for an end to Bush’s war.