November 5, 2007: This website is an archive of the former website, traprockpeace.org, which was created 10 years ago by Charles Jenks. It became one of the most populace sites in the US, and an important resource on the antiwar movement, student activism, 'depleted' uranium and other topics. Jenks authored virtually all of its web pages and multimedia content (photographs, audio, video, and pdf files. As the author and registered owner of that site, his purpose here is to preserve an important slice of the history of the grassroots peace movement in the US over the past decade. He is maintaining this historical archive as a service to the greater peace movement, and to the many friends of Traprock Peace Center. Blogs have been consolidated and the calendar has been archived for security reasons; all other links remain the same, and virtually all blog content remains intact.THIS SITE NO LONGER REFLECTS THE CURRENT AND ONGOING WORK OF TRAPROCK PEACE CENTER, which has reorganized its board and moved to Greenfield, Mass. To contact Traprock Peace Center, call 413-773-7427 or visit its site. Charles Jenks is posting new material to PeaceJournal.org, a multimedia blog and resource center.
A Shaky Media Taboo -- Withdrawal from Iraq
By Norman Solomon
January 19. 2005
The latest polls show that most Americans are critical of the war
in Iraq. But the option of swiftly withdrawing all U.S. troops from that
country gets little media attention.
So far this year, many news outlets have lapsed into conjecture on
what George W. Bush has in mind for the Iraq war. At the end of a recent
lengthy editorial, the New York Times noted that “there’s speculation
about whether President Bush intends to use the arrival of a new elected
government [in Baghdad] as an occasion to declare victory and begin
pulling out American troops.” (photo © 2003 Charles Jenks)
Right now, that kind of speculation amounts to a smokescreen for a
war-crazed administration. Its evident intention is for large numbers of
U.S. troops to stay in Iraq for a long time.
Predictably, as Seymour Hersh reports in the Jan. 24 edition of the
New Yorker, “Bush’s re-election is regarded within the administration as
evidence of America’s support for his decision to go to war. It has
reaffirmed the position of the neoconservatives in the Pentagon’s
civilian leadership who advocated the invasion.” According to one of
Hersh’s sources, Donald Rumsfeld told the Joint Chiefs of Staff after
the Nov. 2 election that “America was committed to staying in Iraq and
that there would be no second-guessing.”
Recent opinion polls show that most of the U.S. public has a
negative view of the war -- but Americans seem to be all over the map
about what to do now.
“Support for the war in Iraq has continued to erode, but most
Americans still are inclined to give the Bush administration some time
to try to stabilize the country before it withdraws U.S. troops,” the
Los Angeles Times reported the day before Bush’s re-inauguration. The
paper’s new national poll “found that the percentage of Americans who
believed the situation in Iraq was ‘worth going to war over’ had sunk to
a new low of 39 percent.” In the poll, 47 percent of Americans “said
they would like to see most of the troops out within a year,” while 49
percent “say they could support a longer deployment.”
Politically, as a practical matter, Bush can maintain plenty of
leverage to keep escalating the war in Iraq. We should remember that the
Vietnam War went on for years longer while public-opinion data showed
that most Americans thought it was wrong.
Now -- at the outset of Bush’s second term -- strong advocacy for
immediate withdrawal should become part of the national debate.
Sixteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives launched an
initiative in that direction on Jan. 12 with a letter to President Bush
urging him “to take immediate steps to begin the withdrawal of U.S.
forces from Iraq.” Led by Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California, the signers
contended: “It has become clear that the existence of more than 130,000
American troops stationed on Iraqi soil is infuriating to the Iraqi
people -- especially because Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of
mass destruction and did not have a connection to the tragic events of
Sept. 11, 2001, or to the al Qaeda terrorist organization. Indeed, the
very presence of Americans in Iraq is a rallying point for dissatisfied
people in the Arab world.”
Few media outlets beyond California did any substantive reporting
on the letter. But it could turn out to be an initial step on a long
journey for efforts to achieve a congressional cutoff of funds for the
Iraq war. Such efforts can only be successful if immense grassroots
pressure develops to compel members of Congress to take action.
Rep. Woolsey is set to take another step by introducing a
resolution in the House of Representatives calling for U.S. troops to
come home from Iraq as soon as logistically possible. Her office told me
on Jan. 19 that Woolsey’s resolution -- still in draft form and not yet
circulated to House members -- was scheduled to be introduced in late
If left up to newsroom editors and mainstream pundits, the Woolsey
resolution will scarcely cause a ripple in the national media pond. But
the resolution could do much more than sink like a stone. It has the
potential to serve as a catalyst for nationwide debate.
Whether that happens will depend on grassroots activists around the
country. The Woolsey resolution could have historic impact if they take
up the challenge and effectively demand that congressional
representatives get behind it.
At a time when the media terrain is so bleak and the media-framed
debates are so narrow, the possibility remains to create historic news
and not just consume it.
Norman Solomon’s next book, “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits
Keep Spinning Us to Death,” will be published in early summer by Wiley.
His columns and other writings can be found at www.normansolomon.com
January 19, 2005 - page created by Charlie Jenks