Andrews: State of the Antiwar Movement Is ‘Complex’
Congress is set to vote on another $170 billion for the Iraq war, which is as unpopular as it’s ever been. Moqtada Sadr is threatening yet another spasm of violence, and Condoleezza Rice says meh to all that. This month’s Petraeus hearings didn’t have remotely the political impact as last year’s, yet there’s no clamor to end the war. What’s going in this country? If the antiwar movement had a Facebook status update on its relationship with the country, it would read: It’s Complicated.
“First,” said Tom Andrews, the former Maine congressman who heads Win Without War, which opposed the Iraq war back when it was a twinkle in President Bush’s eye and a fleck of spittle on Vice President Cheney’s fang, “many are angry, particularly when they see that Congress is about to vote for $170 billion more [for the war] in light of what we know now.” Andrews is spending the spring and summer pushing the Democrats to finally cut the funding cord for the war: he wants money to provide for the troops’ safe departure from Iraq; for an influx of diplomats; and for practically nothing else unless it comes with a sell-by date for getting the U.S. out of Iraq.
“The Democratic Party has the power to shut this war down,” Andrews said while enjoying a beef kabob at Bistrot du Coin, conveniently located just blocks from The Washington Independent’s office. “If it wanted to, it could end the war. The reason [why it doesn't] is because the Democrats do not have a unified caucus on the war.” Hence Win Without War’s efforts. It plans on presenting a letter from a coalition of antiwar groups to Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), the Vietnam vet-turned-Iraq dove chairman of the defense subcommittee in House Appropriations.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. This year, Andrews believes, the election provides “at least a fighting chance not just to end the war, but to bury the Bush Doctrine once and for all.” We’ll see.
Update/Clarification: Andrews points out that my original formulation of WWW’s position — desiring to “resupply/reequip the troops” in Iraq — suggests that the group wants an open-ended occupation. Which is, you know, exactly what they don’t want. So that’s why I’ve changed the language in this post.