Stand Down & Study War No More!

By Thomas Heaney

It’s time to wage peace


Photo courtesy of abcme.com (Google Images)

Embracing an agenda of Peace and Prosperity ought to be the vision of an enlightened electorate and their healthy functioning elected government. While the President’s record has been less than stellar on issues of War and Peace, his long-term stated vision and policy trajectory make a plausible case that he really means it when he suggests reducing the US military footprint in the world.

To be sure the pace has been painfully slow and the continuing role of the US in Afghanistan and Pakistan is problematic. Republicans, lobbyists and the corporate interests they represent are the ones to hold accountable. While the President may disappoint in many respects, he can be moved left by important social movements, like Occupy and Rebuild the Dream.

President Obama has certainly done little to allow Republicans to credibly level their predictable anti-Democrat charge of being weak on national defense. The latest Somalia raid is yet another case in point.

It is from this position of “strength”, that the President made his State of the Union case for non-obstructionism and changing domestic priorities to reflect a reasonable peacetime agenda. Efficiently implementing such a populist legislative agenda should require only a simple Senate majority to pass legislation. Even though Republicans probably won’t give it to him, it is very shrewd politics to demand it anyway and threaten to vote the consequences come November.

Dismissal of obstructionist Republicans and their enablers on the other side of the aisle in both the House and Senate and would go a long way to making real populist progress possible. This is the kind of unified case progressives should run on in 2012. They should explicitly connect kicking out Tea Party and other obstructionist Republicans with Democratic enablers in State Legislatures and Governor’s offices across the land. Republicans are vulnerable to a populist uprising across the land. Workers’ rights and direct promotion of domestic living-wage jobs with benefits are what we must demand from our elected government at every level.

Among Republican Presidential contenders, only Ron Paul is willing to embrace an anti-foreign war agenda. I wouldn’t call his agenda “pro peace “due to the domestic hatred that some of his racist positions would tolerate domestically. His uber libertarian rhetoric can sound appealing until any type of policy pragmatism is applied.

The rest of the Republican field is disturbingly eager to go to war. Much of their perverse blood thirst seems to be driven by nothing more than naked corporate greed enabled by shameless fear mongering. Toward that end they have displayed a willful disregard of basic facts regarding the nature of the real threats to world and regional peace.

The willingness of Republicans to place so many citizens of Middle East countries in harm’s way should make any rational American deeply skeptical. 10 years of war has proven to be not worth it on so many levels. Only those not sharing the sacrifice can possibly consider this course of action. Among that group, only the morally bankrupt or ignorant would favor it.

Oil obsession is a key driver in the call for war from the right. It never seems to be the right time for Republicans in Congress to consider cutting the military budget. Nor are they willing to consider the ongoing war infrastructure maintenance costs associated with continuing to fund our US military empire. The time is now.

The better vision and prize still worth pursuing is Peace and Prosperity. The most likely leader to achieve both remains President Obama. He has taken a long, difficult path and put principle first while surviving politically during an incredibly challenging time in American history.

We need a true populist more than ever. It’s time to ditch Republican branding in favor of populist pragmatism. This has become a grass-roots movement in the Midwest, as well, despite the chicanery of ALEC and some of the worst governors we can recall. Our best hope for a bright future for all remains pursuing the Common Good with the President at the helm.

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