A grassroots (apparently) movement is afoot to make January 20, 2004 "Not One Damn Dime Day". The website got rolling when Jesse Gordon, a self-described 44-year old progressive activist, received an email with the basic suggestion. The protest suggests not spending any money on January 20th, Inauguration Day, in order to bring more attention to the view that the war in Iraq is "illegal and immoral."
Grodon says success would be getting President George W. Bush to acknowledge the protesters point of view.
Will it bring our troops home any sooner?
What will the protest really accomplish? I'm game for anything that will advance the question. The problem lies in defining a solution. A rapid withdrawal will likely leave the several factions of the Iraqis engaged in conflict with one another and strengthen the terrorist training camps and havens that exist today. Iraq is a quagmire and one we shouldn't be fighting. Owing in part to our misplaced aggression the people behind the September 11th attacks remain free.
I would like very much to bring our troops home. Too many, both Iraqi and Americans have died in bringing about the end of a tyrant's regime. The United States is engaged in trying to force a form of government on another country. It is a form that has served us well but not one that can be easily forced on another country. A key difference with the Declaration of Independence, is that in that historic document it was the people of a country establishing their own country and later government. Notably, even that dedicated group of people took more than a decade to form the foundation of the government we have today.
The best would be to have everyone, the hawks and doves, both work on what the exit strategy is. Current indications are that in four years we'll have another presidential election and likely have two candidates take pro- and anti- war positions, but will still be wanting for an answer as to what we should be doing to end the situation. Iraq is not an island and what we do in Iraq is critical to what happens in the Middle East and ultimately what happens to our country.
The election is over. "Stay the course," and cliches about changing horses will no longer win the day. Like those organizing this protest, I'm dismayed that all sides are not having a more frank discussion about what the solutions are. We all know that the mission is not accomplished and that there are many long years to come. The question is what to do? How do we bring our soldiers home and help the people of Iraq find a way to their tomorrow? Even if it is an echo chamber so far, we need to discuss what the answers should be so when we get to having the discussion, be it now or in four years, we know what to say. "I told you so," won't cut it.