In Support of Weakness on National Security
By David Swanson
A senior staff person for one of the most progressive and courageous members of Congress recently advised a room full of peace activists that they won’t be able to persuade Democrats to oppose the war simply by showing them polls finding that a majority of Americans oppose the war. Rather they must assuage the Democrats’ fears of being called “weak on national security.”
But that’s not possible. Opponents of a war will inevitably be called weak on national security. And even if that ceases to be the case, Democrats will continue to fear it for a generation or more. My advice to you, Democratic Members of Congress, is to embrace it and change the discourse. Don’t run scared of someone else’s language. Learn to recognize when the greatest gift you could ask for is to be attacked by your discredited, despised, and indicted opponents.
The majority of Americans not only oppose the war, but oppose the President and disapprove of his handling of national security. More Americans believe the war has increased the chances of terrorist attacks than believe it has decreased them. And war is the top issue on people’s minds; so, pretending it’s not an important issue will not help you. You cannot retake either house without addressing the top issue on people’s minds and without taking the position that is 1. moral, 2. fiscally sane, 3. most popular, and 4. distinct from the position of the other party