For the first time in (my) memory it seems that every remotely "progressive" organization under the sun is sending emails asking people to call or email The White House and/or Congress or sign a petition calling on our government to not engage in military action against Syria.
In our age of electronic social media one would think that such an approach would have a real impact, particularly if it can engage a huge groundswell of support for diplomacy rather than war-making. I think, however, that we are deluded if we think that this approach can have any real impact on the decision to attack Syria, a decision that (in a very real sense) has already been made long before there was talk of "chemical weapons."
Bruce Gagnon describes "war" as "the soul of our nation" in his essay published yesterday in Common Dreams (The Soul of Our Nation War). Bruce describes our situation with direct honesty; I would only add that we must ask ourselves what has become of our nation's soul that we seem to have sold off over the course of recent decades in a Faustian bargain.
President Dwight Eisenhower said (in 1953) that "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." When the Tomahawk missiles are launched by ships, already lining up for an attack on Syria, that theft will continue to feed the coffers of the weapons makers.
Gagnon puts it bluntly: "We have become a killer nation," addicted to war and the profits it reaps for corporations and the jobs that put food on the tables of our workers. Even before one war ends we are already planning the next one. We truly are losing our very soul.
I fear that petitions, calls and emails will not be nearly enough to stop the first salvos of Tomahawk missiles aimed at Syria, and the ensuing carnage. Stopping this madness will require much more than a few keystrokes in the midst of our busy schedules. It will require us to get out in the streets of our own communities (small or large) in mass, nonviolent protest.
So let us call on all these same organizations (that are advocating for nonviolent conflict resolution) to organize local actions around the country to engage citizens in peaceful protests (and a general strike if necessary) to stop the machinations of war.
It is, indeed, a question of saving the very soul of our nation!
URL for Bruce Gagnon's essay in Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/08/29-8
Thanks to Bruce Gagnon for sharing this political cartoon in his blog, Organizing Notes.