I have been sending emails to groups that have and still are organizing marches for peace, basically posing to them the question: what’s next. Specifically, I sent emails to MoveOn and a more local organization Instead of War. The only email I’ve gotten in return from both is group emails for new actions.
Instead of War sent an email listing several new peace marches, some focused around the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. According to the note, one of the marches is sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday Committee. I’ll be honest that even if I were still marching to protest the war in Iraq, I would not march in a protest sponsored by a committee that considers the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr a ‘holiday’. I’m sorry, but I only commemorate Dr. King’s life. This march has a very confused message.
I’m not surprised that I haven’t received any response from Instead of War in regards to “What’s Next?” From my previous experience with protests against the Vietnam war and transporting nuclear waste across Washington state as well as several other environmentally and politically related issues, I have found that protest organizations are very conservative.
The MoveOn organization, though, sent an email that started with the following:
The war with Iraq continues. No one knows if it will last weeks, months, or years. Even after the fighting stops in Iraq, the fallout from this war could span decades. We can only hope that it ends quickly, with an absolute minimum loss of life.
The email addresses the question of What next? by starting a letter to the editor campaign focusing specifically on the issues that I find myself focused on — working against a US controlled occupation of Iraq:
Even as the troops march towards Baghdad, a big controversy is brewing over what will happen when the war does end. The neoconservatives like Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle envision a longer U.S. occupation of Iraq, directed entirely by the Pentagon and with only minimal participation by other countries and the U.N. Their scheme calls for setting up a provisional government in which Americans head each of the 23 ministries. In essence, they want to win the peace the way the U.S. has pushed for war: alone.
The U.S. State Department, the C.I.A., Prime Minister Tony Blair, the major humanitarian relief organizations, France, Germany, and most of the rest of the countries in the world disagree with this plan. They’d like to see the reconstruction of Iraq as a collaborative, international effort lead by the U.N. And many of them believe the Pentagon plan is a recipe for disaster.
The decision on how post-war Iraq is to be managed will be made in the next several days, and the Administration is split. The consequences will play out in Iraq and around the world for generations. By writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, you can help to sway the balance away from the unilateralism that has done so much damage and toward a collective rebuilding process.
I’m not sure that a letter to the editor campaign will help sway the balance away from the unilateralism but it will start the conversation in that direction, and this is not a bad thing. In fact, the same letter should be sent to congressional members and local politicians, in addition to those who are campaigning for political positions in upcoming elections. Start the letters with, “I am a registered voter…”.