By David Swanson, www.AfterDowningStreet.org
A teach-in on ending the Iraq War was held in Washington, D.C., on June 3, organized by Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). It followed, in part, a pattern established by other teach-ins, but also took an exciting new turn.
The event was familiar in that the speakers argued for the speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops, and most of the audience agreed, while others insisted that the Iraqis cannot handle their own security and are not ready to go without U.S. soldiers.
But this teach-in also developed a new focus, one on which there seemed to be unanimous agreement, namely that we need to demand the truth, that we need to bring to light the evidence of Bush administration lies about the reasons for the war.
The connection between proving that the war was based on lies and persuading people to push for an end to the war is not an obvious one. There were people in the room, and millions of U.S. citizens outside it, who believe we would have been better off without the war, but believe that now we should continue it.
However, it’s worth noting that there were some at the teach-in who professed to favor the speedy withdrawal of U.S. troops, but who argued against saying so out-loud, on the grounds that this could offend people. It seems likely to me that forcing a public discussion of the lies that started the war, and of the resolution of inquiry into impeachment that they justify, will fundamentally change what counts as acceptable to say out-loud. Once the I word (impeachment) is commonly associated with the war, ending the war might just become less of a taboo. And, of course, if the President is impeached over the war, he or his replacement may decide they have a strong motivation to end the war.
Communicating to people what is happening on the ground in Iraq could also move them to oppose continuing the war, and this approach may be greatly advanced by a US tour of six Iraqi labor leaders set to begin June 10 and discussed at the teach-in by one of the tour’s main organizers. But even knowing how much the occupation is part of the problem and how little it is advancing any solution, and recognizing Iraqis’ desire to accept the risks of governing themselves, may not