(In a recent number of The Nation, 60s radical Tom) Hayden's "Field Guide" exhorts antiwar activists to get out the vote for 2008-for whichever candidate becomes the anointed Democratic nominee. "Only in this way," Hayden argues without evidence, "will the peace movement succeed in expanding and intensifying antiwar feeling to a degree that will compel the politicians to abandon their six-year timetable for a far shorter one....(But) why would politicians feel pressured to change their pro-war policies when legions of antiwar activists are already working for grassroots votes on their behalf? Far from empowering the antiwar majority, this strategy appears doomed to enabling the pro-war and bi-partisan status quo...It's a pretty compelling argument, imho. Emphases added.
(Activist) Phyllis Bennis: "It is very hard, at an emotional level, for people to understand that none of the Presidential candidates likely to win in 2008 is committed to ending the war. Still, it matters very much who gets elected in 2008."
Both main parties do, however, share certain overriding aims that dwarf their differences. One of those aims is their shared desire to preserve the credibility of U.S. imperialism, and that requires salvaging a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq, in the form of permanent military bases. This is the reason why Clinton et al refuse to commit to removing all U.S. troops by the end of their first term in 2013. Indeed, according to White House adviser General Douglas Lute speaking to the Financial Times, the Bush administration is already negotiating a bilateral agreement with the Iraqi government authorizing a "continued presence for US and other coalition troops outside of the UN Security Council mandate."
All movements must aim to influence government policy. There is no evidence to support the claim that supporting pro-war politicians furthers the aims of the antiwar movement, while there is plenty to discredit it.
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