My local town of Eureka in northwest California had a pretty good peace rally on March 18, to mark the third anniversary of the US attack on Iraq. They’ve put them on every year, including a big one just before the war started. An ad hoc local group called Communities for Peace worked for eight weeks and, with the help of Veterans for Peace, pulled 2,000 people into the municipal auditorium on F Street. There were plenty of young people, and the crowd sat a bit restlessly through three speeches before hitting the streets. There were four marching bands.
They headed down to the square in Old Town, next to the rehabbed waterfront, where I was the designated final speaker. I cheered them all up by telling them no one present should ever look in the mirror and tell themselves they’re not smart enough to run the country. The country is being run by morons.
I read out some of the more spectacular moron predictions from 2003, finishing up with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, “We’re all neocons now,” and Vanity Fair‘s answer to Clausewitz, Christopher Hitchens: “This will be no war–there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention…. The president will give an order. [The attack] will be rapid, accurate and dazzling…. It will be greeted by the majority of the Iraqi people as an emancipation. And I say, bring it on.”
I told them that two out of three Americans now oppose the war. The problem is not in the heartland. The problem is at the national level. There is no visible national strategy to end the war and bring the troops home. I attribute this in considerable part to the disastrous fealty to the Democrats of the leadership of some of the big organizations. This explains why United for Peace and Justice, for example, was missing in action for most of 2004. It didn’t want to rock the Kerry boat, even as Capt. Kerry was drilling holes in its hull.
Then I read to the crowd Dana Milbank’s account in the Washington Post of how Russ Feingold’s Senate colleagues have reacted to his motion of censure of a President who has used the Bill of Rights to clean up after his dog.
Barack Obama of Illinois: “I haven’t read it.”
John Kerry of Massachusetts: “I really can’t [comment] right now.”
Hillary Clinton of New York rushed past reporters shaking her head, then trying to hide behind the 4’11” Barbara Mikulski.
Charles Schumer of New York, who would normally run over his grandmother to get to a microphone: “I’m not going to comment.”
Chris Dodd of Connecticut: “Most of us feel at best it’s premature. I don’t think anyone can say with any certainty at this juncture that what happened [the NSA’s eavesdropping] is illegal.”
Even while I was speaking, the weekend news shows were detailing the latest campaign plan of the Congressional Democrats. It’s called “Real Security.” And no, “security” here doesn’t mean a living wage, a pension, a health plan and no stop-loss order for your kid to stay in Iraq. It means guns and cops and lots of flag-wagging.