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May 05, 2007

Back in 2002 . . .

. . . there were only a relatively small number of us on the Internet.  I was not one of them.  I came to the blogs in spring of 2004 and fell in love with democracy all over again.  In the three years since then, I've watched myself and so many other folks increase their participation in politics. There are all these folks who have created pieces of community, many small, some large and wildly interactive. 

I'm convinced that had we had the Internets in all their current glory back in 2001 and 2002, the Iraqi war would not have happened.  We would have been able to come together and make it clear to those Congressfolk that George Bush and those crazy neocons were out of their minds.  "No, of course you're not going to vote for that stupid war authorization bill, are you?  I don't think so.  Not and stay in Congress, you're not."

We would have highlighted those Congressfolk who were smart and courageous enough to come out against the very idea of the U.S. going preemptively into war with Iraq, a country not remotely connected with Al Qaeda  or the Taliban.  Ha, ha, ha.  What about going to war with Mugabe in Zimbabwe who'd ruined a whole country and been the cause of enormous loss of life and lands?  Or Nazarbayev of Kazachistan?

Meteor Blades did that over at Daily Kos today.  She (at least I think Meteor Blades is a she) listed the 156 Representatives and Senators who said, "NO" to that bill to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.  Included on that list were Senator Patty Murray, Congressman Brian Baird, Congressman Rick Larsen, Congressman Jay Inslee, and Congressman Jim McDermott.  And Congressman McDermott was sliced to smithereens for going to Baghdad to talk with people there and report back what he saw.  There weren't people there to back him up, to make it clear, as we were able to do when Nancy Pelosi went to Syria, that she speaks for us. 

I was living in California at the time in the district of Congressman Pete Stark.  We'd just been redistricted into his district so I hadn't had the opportunity to pay that much attention to him.  I'd been to a Town Hall of his; he was unusually good at staying in touch with his constituents.   He had come into politics specifically to oppose the war in Vietnam and his heart was consistently in the right place.  But he was tired.  He looked like he was just going through the motions.   I truly hoped that he would retire for his own good.  That's how de-energized he seemed to me. 

But boy, he rose to the occasion when it came time to speak against that terrible bill.  Turns out that Daily Kos gave over the content of the one post of the the day, October 11th, to Congressman Stark's incredible speech about why we shouldn't go to war with Iraq. 

It was a profound and prescient talk.  Here's an exerpt of the entire speech:

It sets a precedent for our nation - or any nation - to exercise brute force anywhere in the world without regard to international law or international consensus.

Congress must not walk in lockstep behind a President who has been so callous to proceed without reservation, as if war was of no real consequence.

You know, three years ago in December, Molly Ivins, an observer of Texas politics, wrote: "For an upper-class white boy, Bush comes on way too hard. At a guess, to make up for being an upper-class white boy."

"Somebody," she said, "should be worrying about how all this could affect his handling of future encounters with some Saddam Hussein." How prophetic, Ms. Ivins.

Let us not forget that our President -- our Commander in Chief – has no experience with, or knowledge of, war. In fact, he admits that he was at best ambivalent about the Vietnam War. He skirted his own military service and then failed to serve out his time in the National Guard. And, he reported years later that at the height of that conflict in 1968 he didn’t notice "any heavy stuff going on."

So we have a President who thinks foreign territory is the opponent’s dugout and Kashmir is a sweater.

It goes on.  It is both sad and lovely now in retrospect.  He foresaw the horrendous consequences of such a war - on our young men and women, on our treasury, our place in the world.  All of it. 

How I wish we'd been here then.  I was at march after march.  But we didn't have each other.  We didn't know how many of us there were. 

Plus it was very interesting to see what DailyKos looked like back then. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on May 5, 2007 at 08:43 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink


That AUMF vote really separated the wheat from the chaff, didn't it? Which is why I'm so tepid on Edwards.

Posted by: op99 | May 5, 2007 8:51:34 PM

I remember thinking we were headed right for a train wreck. There were a lot of folks jumping up and down and saying - "No, no, don't go in that direction."

I traveled a lot at the time and the only thing I could think was that the impact of 9/11 had terrorized the folks back east more than here, making them less able to see what was happening.

Posted by: Lynn | May 5, 2007 9:50:50 PM

And it does mean that Senators Edwards and Clinton have slightly higher speedbumps to get over to convince me that they get it.

Posted by: Lynn | May 5, 2007 9:53:53 PM

I hope the other candidates jump all over Clinton's "residual force" in permanent bases bullshit. She's really been getting a free pass on that so far.

Posted by: op99 | May 6, 2007 10:06:48 AM

Lynn, I often wonder how things would be different if the internet we have today were in place in late 2001 and forward; I have to believe that the accountability factor for our Congresspeople would have been so much higher and could perhaps have changed that AUMF vote.

Of course, I also suspect Bush would have found a way around that, had it not passed.

Voting to sunset the AUMF may be one of the right steps tp take, but Hillary is kidding herself if she thinks it allows her to forget about her vote for the AUMF.

Was it ignorance or naivete that allowed so many of us to know, in out gutand our hearts, that war with Iraq was wwrong? That we were being lied to an manipulated with fear, and expected to ignore the weapons inspectors and the reports being issued?

For me, knowing my own skepticism and questinging of the intelligence and information, I can't help being angry at those in Congress who went along with the AUMF, who weren't listening to us - even if some of them have admitted it was a mistake.

Posted by: Anne | May 7, 2007 5:53:43 AM

Yep. And for the lamest of reasons, if my memory serves me. They simply wanted that issue off the table so they could get on with campaigning for the 2002 elections - which of course they got creamed in.

Posted by: Lynn | May 7, 2007 7:35:16 AM

FYI, Lynn, Meteor Blades is male. From http://www.dailykos.com/special/about2 we read:

Meteor Blades (Timothy Lange)
Contributing Editor

Meteor Blades is the on-line moniker of Timothy Lange, born in 1946. He has been politically active since 1964 when he participated in voter registration in Mississippi with the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee in Freedom Summer. He was involved as an organizer in Students for a Democratic Society and, for 16 years, as a member of the American Indian Movement. He was incarcerated at the Industrial School for Boys in Golden, Colorado, for 23 months and spent 13 months at a federal prison camp for refusing the draft.

He has remained active as a foot-soldier in the antiwar and anti-intervention movement ever since. His most serious political campaign work was in third-tier paid positions for Pat Schroeder and Tim Wirth during their first election efforts in 1972 and 1974, respectively.

In 1973, together with 14 other women and men, he co-founded and served on the board of the Boulder Valley Clinic, the nation's first nonprofit abortion provider. He has been a reporter, editor and publisher for both alternative and mainstream publications, including Front Range Publishing, Westword, the Associated Press, Rocky Mountain News, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and Los Angeles Times Syndicate. He lives with his wife and stepdaughter in northeast Los Angeles.

Posted by: N in Seattle | May 8, 2007 3:37:51 PM

Thanks, N.

Posted by: Lynn | May 8, 2007 5:36:05 PM

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