The American Street Speaks
My article is out in Salon.com, The “American street” speaks: Will the Democratic Party listen? The lede is:
“As more and more Americans turn against Bush’s Iraq war, Democratic politicians remain silent. Their play-it-safe strategy isn’t just cowardly, it also won’t work.”
‘ In a mid-September CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, about a third of respondents wanted to bring at least some troops home, and another third wanted a complete withdrawal. Only 26 percent wanted to just keep the same number of soldiers there, while a gung-ho 8 percent were in favor of sending yet more troops. Many of the protesters on Saturday were similarly divided between those who wanted immediate withdrawal and those, like MoveOn.org, that advocate beginning a phased withdrawal next year.
The American movement to withdraw from Iraq is being called “the American street” on the Arabic satellite news networks. Although many Shiite and Kurdish Iraqis have mixed feelings about it, other Iraqis have taken heart. Khalida Khalaf, 52, told the Los Angeles Times of Cindy Sheehan, “Of course she’s a mother, and just like our people are hurting, she’s hurting too … Just as she wants America out of Iraq, so do we.” Khalaf, a Shiite of Sadr City in Baghdad, lost her Iraqi son, Majid, to the same clashes between the U.S. military and the Mahdi Army that took the life of Casey Sheehan. About 120 members (out of 275) of the elected Iraqi parliament have called for a short timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The Sunni Arab political elite wants the U.S. to get out of Iraq yesterday, as does the puritanical Shiite Sadr movement. There may be an increasing convergence of opinion on the prospect of the U.S. troops staying in Iraq, between the Iraqi public and the American.
As her supporters chanted, “Not one more,” Ms. Sheehan thundered, “We’re going to Congress, and we’re going to ask them, ‘How many more of other people’s children are you going to sacrifice?’ We’re going to say, ‘Shame on you.'” The necessity of going to Congress was underlined by the virtual absence of sitting legislators at the protest. Only Rep. Cynthia McKinney among Democratic representatives addressed the rally, though Rep. John Conyers of Michigan attended. ‘
The rest is at Salon.com.