Unlike most who ponder the bog that is the Iraq War, the military fiasco overseas is not the only huge issue I have. What really irks me about Iraq is what’s happening here at home – the poor antiwar movement.

For example, after watching the Students for Social Justice portray those occupying the White House as criminals, liars and at worst, murderers, by marching through the Pit doused in red paint it seemed to me that in recent months the voice of the antiwar movement has degraded into a potpourri of isolationism and irreverence – a pity for anyone who cares about the future of domestic and world affairs.

By pushing away the center and championing immediate troop withdrawals, left-wing groups like MoveOn.org have taken over the voice of the antiwar movement.

They fail to realize the plight of the Iraqi people and the duty that this nation has to a country it has left destitute, without any form of proper government and wracked by insurgency.

America has a responsibility to Iraq, and it is a responsibility – polls indicate – most Americans believe in. The antiwar movement will never be a legitimate vehicle for policy change until it embraces this fact.

Yet, instead of demanding a coherent, long-term strategy that would benefit both the U.S. and the Iraqi people, the modern movement calls for the immediate withdrawal of troops.

In so doing, they jeopardize not only the future of Iraq, but also the future of the movement itself.

By making unreasonable suggestions, they remove themselves from any intelligent debate on the issue.

Not that they would be in it, anyway.

When not calling for immediate withdrawal, the vociferous left-wing of the movement speaks only of one issue – the White House’s faulty evidence for entering the war. More than two years after the war began they continue to question the obviously flawed evidence as though it were useful in defeating the insurgency.

Their insistence on proving the evidence wrong, and like the Students for Social Justice, showing the administration as a bunch of thieves and murderers, overshadows any reasonable solutions they have to ending the war.

This is not to say that the administration is not liable for its case. But it is extremely important that a movement purporting to be the voice against the conflict works to focus on a credible and realistic solution to the problem. What we have is one that precludes them to the fringes of foreign policy.

So where is the antiwar movement for the rest of us – the mainstream Americans who believe that we have an obligation to fix the problems that we created?

We don’t see the occupants of the White House as murderers and liars, but as people who made a mistake that needs to be fixed.

Those who opposed the war from the very beginning, yet feel a responsibility to leave Iraq a better place for the sake of its people, lack a true national voice.

As the debate in Washington fuels, it is time for these Americans to seize some ground. The mainstream opposition needs to ask loudly and publicly what the strategy for winning the peace in Iraq is and demand a clearly defined set of short-run and long-run goals. With these established and agreed upon, they can do everything in their power to ensure that those goals are met.

America will lose this campaign if nothing changes soon. There have only been a few successful large-scale military occupations in history, but Iraq can surely be one of them if the antiwar movement can unify the political center and prevent the White House from further damaging the situation.

If we can come together with a set of reasonable plans and propose them in a civilized way, we can still win this war.

So if you happen to spot the Students for Social Justice marching through Wilson Commons again in their anti-warmongering costumes, tell them to leave you alone. After all, the food is bad enough – there’s no need for a bad show.

Dordi can be reached at rdordi@campustimes.org.



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