Leave No Soldier Behind

Leave No Soldier Behind


Despite polls showing that the majority of Americans are sick and tired of war in Iraq, see the invasion as a mistake, and want the troops to return home, the Democrats have managed to go through half of their quadrennial convention with barely a mention of the conflict. It’s safe to say that expeditiously ending the war is not now the Democratic presidential priority that many Obama supporters would like it to be — and the pro-war Biden’s selection certainly doesn’t help.

The Iraqis themselves may succeed in establishing a plan to kick us out before the next US president even has the chance to put his stamp on a new policy but, in any case, the more political pressure that can be applied on whoever is occupying the White House, the more likely he’ll be to implement a speedy withdrawal.

I haven’t been focusing nearly enough on the many efforts underway to end the war. So today I’m going to start regularly highlighting antiwar initiatives, projects, protests and programs. Peace Action’s No Soldier Left Behind is a campaign promoting a comprehensive plan to end the war and embark on humane reconstruction through a withdrawal of all troops and private contractors within one year; a “diplomatic surge” that engages Iraq’s neighbors (including Iran and Syria) and the international community; major donor efforts for Iraqi-controlled reconstruction and humanitarian aid and the establishment of international peacekeeping and stabilization forces, if requested by the Iraqi people. The campaign is collecting names on this petition urging the next president to consider the goals enshrined above.

No Soldier Left Behind is also a network of volunteers who are confronting candidates at campaign stops and pushing them to answer tough questions about what they plan to do about Iraq, if elected. Between now and November, the aim is to build momentum in Congress and on the campaign trail behind a plan to replace the open-ended occupation with a diplomatic surge and resources to rebuild Iraq, delivering a clear mandate to the policymakers we send to DC in 2009. Click here for information on the volunteer network page, including how to get involved.

Witness Against War is another grassroots effort to draw attention to the necessity of ending the war ASAP. The campaign holds both the Democrats and Republicans accountable and responsible for continuing and ending the Iraq war and is currently staging a 500-mile walk from Chicago to Saint Paul, which the marchers expect to reach on August 31 to march in step with the Veterans for Peace at planned antiwar protests at the Republican National Convention.

Let me know what other antiwar efforts I should be covering and listen to a podcast of a conversation recorded yesterday in Denver as part of The Nation‘s daily conversation series at the Democratic National Convention. In this discussion, The Nation‘s John Nichols, Nation editorial board member Tom Hayden and Rep. Jim McDermott offer the details for what could be both a progressive and responsible plan for expeditiously bringing the troops home.

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