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WAR: Is Obama immune to antiwar protests?

Letter by Thomas L. Arter Jr., Tacoma on Aug. 24, 2012 at 11:32 am with 33 Comments »
August 24, 2012 1:01 pm

My impression that there has been an increased number of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers killed in Afghanistan was sadly confirmed in articles that recently appeared in The News Tribune. It is a bitter pill to swallow that the change promised by President Obama has not come to pass, as he carries on the Bush war in Afghanistan with only rumors of a plan to end it.

It is difficult for me to understand that lack of action. Has Obama sold out or fallen to pressure from the military-industrial complex?

I have also noticed a lack of news about antiwar protests. This was confirmed in an article I recently read about a PBS report that indicated the number of war protests steadily decreased after Obama was elected, to such a level that protests have been virtually nonexistent for the past two years.

The only reasonable conclusion that I can draw is that unlike the Vietnam War era protests, where war was protested whether a Democrat or Republican was president, today’s antiwar groups will not hold a Democratic president accountable.

Hopefully, Obama will soon announce a plan for a speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan. If not, I pray that I am proved wrong about the antipathy of antiwar groups to protest with a Democratic president in office, and the protests will resume.

Otherwise, it appears that the only way to restore public and political pressure to end the Afghan war may be to elect a Republican to the presidency.

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Leave a comment Comments → 33
  1. Frankenchrist says:

    Obama is no different that the Bush/Cheney junta of draft-dodgers. Nor is Romney/Ryan, for that matter.

  2. alindasue says:

    There’s an anti-war protest group regularly (every few weeks) in front of the federal building in Seattle. I pass by it and say hi (I’m also anti-war) with my son when we are up there. It just doesn’t make the news any more.

    The bulk of the troops are out of Iraq now and we at least have a timetable for when they are coming out of Afghanistan.

    The biggest thing though is that the wars were eclipsed in the media by the economic crash in 2008 and the attention deficit American public has moved on to discussing gas prices, underwater mortgages, and national budgets.

    The same thing happened during the Vietnam conflict. Even though the war didn’t officially end until 1975, the larger protests – the ones that made the news – were during the late 60s and 1970.

  3. sandblower says:

    To say thar President Obama has no plan to leave Afghanistan is false. It has already begun. I hope we stay, in some form, long enough to keep the Taliban from returning to power.

  4. averageJose says:

    Oddly, we haven’t seen the weekly casualty counts in the MSM either…

    Kooky you ask? Nope, predictable.

    At least he closed GITMO.

  5. Frankenchrist says:

    The anti-war movement all but disappeared after George W. Bush left office. Sadly, the majority of the anti-war crowd didn’t have the stomach to protest a Democratic president which proves my thesis that most of them were just anti-Bush for starting an illegal and immoral war. As soon as a Democrat took over it was mission accomplished.

    Same with OWS crowd which should have been “Occupy Congress” for that is where the real criminals reside. OWS was just a reaction to the excesses of Wall Street. They didn’t have the heart to attack the real source.

  6. LeePHill says:

    I wonder what is stopping the letter writer from staging a protest.

  7. SandHills says:

    And what deserted island have you been on for the las 11 years Thomas?

    This war has never roused any protests – except from a few mothers who lost their sons. Those able to send their kids to college did so without any thought of sacrificing them in the service of their country. No war bonds to pay for it, and certainly no draft card burnings by college students blissfully unaware that their peers were bleeding and dying halfway around the world, not enjoying tailgate or Frat parties.

    At the height of two wars, when things looked dire in Iraq, there was no protests….so why your concern now Thomas?

    Unless you can show me you had the same attitude before January 2009, well you are just a hypocrite trying to make a political point.

    It has been only those who volunteered to serve in the military that has paid the cost, way too many the ultimate cost. And the numbers of KIA before Jan 09 was much greater than since…so again Thomas, where was you when most of our combat deaths were occurring in Iraq? Well I can excuse you for being on a deserted island, but not for being naive, and most certainly for being a hypocrite…

  8. SandHills says:

    “most certainly NOT for being a hypocrite” – correction, but again, mostly, for emphasis…..

  9. truthbusterguy says:

    WAR: Is Obama immune to antiwar protests?

    Answer: YES, they voted for him and don’t want to appear hypocritical as well as dim witted, misguided, uninformed, mislead, foolish, mistaken, deluded, and just plan WRONG!

  10. SandHills says:

    The truth is buster that there has never been an organized anti-war movement, even at the height of combat in Iraq.

    The fact that any protest is lukewarm, at best, now under Obama is because it was lukewarm, at best, under Bush – in spite of the fact that there never were any WMD found, the main reason we were sold on that war.

    So why would anyone expect any protest over a war that only affects the less than 1% of Americans serving in uniform.

    And that, as they say, “is the facts Jack”.

  11. aislander says:

    It is high time for an antiwar third party to take on the warmongers!

  12. Sandhills, do you have any idea what the demographics of the military looks like? What economic background they come from?

    Did not think so.

    FC, take the illegal/immoral line out and I agree wholeheartedly.

    Alindasue, the term “anti-war” is a little amateurish. Call yourself an isolationist or the like. But war has been here forever and is necessary at times.

  13. SandHills says:

    CT don’t know what pointnyou are trying to make on demographics….my point is that ONLY the military, of which I was one, are the ONLY ones bearing the cost pf these wars – except we have a credit card to pay off that they were charged on.

    There has been no noticeable protest because no one else cares, except for lip service from both side of the political breach on this country, when there are political points to be made to “to support the troops. You think wealthy send their kids, do you think liberals send their kids? Certainly not if they can afford a Harvard, or an Evergreen State.

    Both of my kids are now serving, what about you?

    So tell me what demorgraphics have to do with that 1%ers in uniform who are the ones bleeding and dying for what some on this forum sees as a Bush war or now an Obama war. Discusting, whenever we send troops into harms way it should be America’s war – and the height of political upmanship shown on this forum is indicative that both sides seem to forget that.

    Again, discusting for a letter to complain that there are no war protesters now…in order to make a political point.

    Demographics? CT8 I retired out pf that demographic, what about you – just a blind political hack spouting political dogma without any idea of service to nation, regardless of politcal views.

  14. SandHills says:

    Been a great day on this forum whenever I get hit hard from both CT8,7 (is that some of month count) and Frankenstein. I certainly feel a balance in my universe to be on the opposite side of those two on the same day…

  15. Honestly, I saw the 1% plug and misread it. Thought you were going down the typical ‘only the poor kids serve’ line of thought.

    My apologies. And I know a great deal about service. Before you try and measure !?@$s, I suggest you take a breath.

    Yes, Iraq and Aghanistan are a political talking point to the masses. You can say that makes them out of touch and blame pols, media, etc or…say the fact that war is a distant thought to the average citizen is a sign of success.

    Thanks to your and your kids for their service.

  16. SandHills says:

    Well thanks CT, it is progress when misuderstandings can be straightened out without getting into a pi$$ing contest quips, and cheap shots prevalent on this board.

    My son flies helos (AF Academy grad) daughter in Naval Flight training as an ensign. As patriotic as I am, I would not want either of them on any “training mission” in Afganistan. I would do everythong in my power to go as their bodyguard against green-on-blue events that have happened way too many times to just be brushed off so casually by senior leaders.

    Barring that, I guess I could see myself out there being more vocal against this war, it’t hard to always be a centrist. Actually I was strongly for the original action to take out the Taliban and their “guests” , post 9/11 – and although I spent nearly 3 out of the last 7 years in Iraq, I was never sold on that one. Now it is just time to leave, too much money, too much blood, and as one other letter writer said this week, those people are still living on the 7th century and it has proven to be to much of a cost.

  17. Almost went aviation but chickened out because of the commitment. Ironic since I served long past the six-seven years I would of had to commit. Good for them. No regrets, infantry is where I found my calling.

    The blue on green is terrible, but I am not sure that should change our overall mission, but definately the tactics.

    I have no heartache on Iraq. I saw the ugly then the progress at the end. I hope our gains last, but lately I question their staying power.

    As to Aghanistan, I think our mission there is just and necessary. I do think we can adjust numbers based on the desired outcome. I think if we stick with denying a safe haven, it can be accomplished with way fewer troops.

    The average dude on the street is clueless, and as I said earlier there is a benefit to that. It means we (the defense establishment at large) are doing our job. Blow just stop using the military as a political pawn.

  18. Almost went aviation but chickened out because of the commitment. Ironic since I served long past the six-seven years I would of had to commit. Good for them. No regrets, infantry is where I found my calling.

    The blue on green is terrible, but I am not sure that should change our overall mission, but definately the tactics.

    I have no heartache on Iraq. I saw the ugly then the progress at the end. I hope our gains last, but lately I question their staying power.

    As to Aghanistan, I think our mission there is just and necessary. I do think we can adjust numbers based on the desired outcome. I think if we stick with denying a safe haven, it can be accomplished with way fewer troops.

    The average dude on the street is clueless, and as I said earlier there is a benefit to that. It means we (the defense establishment at large) are doing our job. Nlow just stop using the military as a political pawn.

  19. alindasue says:

    CT8 said, “Alindasue, the term “anti-war” is a little amateurish.”

    I wasn’t aware that being a pacifist required professional level terminology.

    “Call yourself an isolationist or the like. But war has been here forever and is necessary at times.”

    I am not an isolationist. In fact I firmly believe that we as Americans can’t continue to behave as if we aren’t part of the international community. We have to work together with other countries for mutual benefit or suffer the negative effects of not doing so.

    While I see nothing wrong with defending ourselves, I have not seen a war that was truly “necessary” for us to start or join in since maybe WWII. Fighting for ideals, political systems (“commies”), or taking sides in civil wars just puts our soldiers in harms way just for the sake of politics.

    You said it yourself: “Now just stop using the military as a political pawn.”

    On that we agree.

  20. As one of the few folks who went out and protested the threatened and then actual invasion of Iraq I can attest to the fact that the anti-war protests never were very large – even when the war was front page in the news – and, in fact, there was more of an outpouring of pro-war demonstrations.

    So this letter, and the contention that the anti-war expressions are hypocritical because they lay low for Democrats, is completely false. Perhaps the letter writer forgets this popular chant during the Sixties:
    “Hey, hey LBJ
    How many kids have you killed today?”

    LBJ – in spite of his successes in passing liberal policies, came to the nation “with a heavy heart” to announce that he would not run for a second term. This is completely due to the anti-war sentiment in the country at the time.

  21. truthbusterguy says:

    Can’t believe this sandhill person. He/she even blames the lack of war protesters on Bush.

    Is there no end to their lame excuse of blaming Bush? Can’t you be more creative than that?

  22. alindasue says:

    truthbusterguy said, “Can’t believe this sandhill person. He/she even blames the lack of war protesters on Bush.”

    I went and reread all of SandHills’ posts three times and could find where he (she? I don’t know) blames anything on President Bush. He does seem to not 100% support the wars despite having fought in them, but that’s not the same thing.

    I, however, do partially blame the lack of protesters on President Bush. These wars were presented in a way that the American people were not supposed to feel. No one, outside the families of the soldiers, was asked to sacrifice anything. The first few years of the wars were conducted outside of the budget, so there was no immediate impact on the economy. We were told to “go shopping” to stimulate the economy while soldiers’ bodies were being brought home quietly in the dead of night.

    During WWII there was rationing and everyone was expected to conserve resources for the war effort. There was the draft and everyone knew we were at war. Even though the fighting never got any closer than Hawaii, the war affected the lives of everyone in the USA.

    During the Vietnam war, the draft was on everyone’s minds. People not only didn’t support the war, but even those who might be ambivalent about it had a friend or relative who received a draft notice. Being personally affected has a way of driving even the most apathetic people into action.

    Now we have fighting in the middle east, but to most of us it’s just a daily blurb sandwiched between the price of gas and who cheated on who today – brought out on holidays with our flags and car magnet ribbons and a lame shout of “Support the troops!” before over-indulging on hot dogs or when someone wants to look particularly “patriotic”.

    We have a draft registration, but no one wants to commit the political suicide of actually implementing the draft. That might actually bring out the protesters. Instead, we now read of soldiers dying on their third/fourth/fifth tours on the front – when we bother to read about them at all.

    So, yes, I blame President Bush and Congress for creating a war that is about as “real” to the American people as the average MTV show – all over some faulty “intelligence”. I blame President Obama for not pulling us out of President Bush’s wars fast enough… and Mitt Romney’s over-eagerness to get us involved in two more war fronts scares the heck out of me.

    Like beerBoy, I was there to protest before the troops entered Iraq and I am still protesting.

  23. All I can say is that at the corner of 320th & Hwy 99 (Federal Way), there was an anti-War protest every weekend, for about two years, prior to Obama becoming POTUS. Since then? Nothing.

    Demos/libs/progressives will not hold Obama accountable just as Repubs/Cons did not hold Bush accountable for spending,tax cuts and deficits. To believe that ANY politician that rises to the level of POTUS in our system is not bought and sold by the military industrial comples and corporatists is pure folly. Until the system changes, politicians get put in office by money, note votes.

    All the talk of hope and change was just that…talk. He’s a Chicago politician…what else do you need to know?

  24. Not part of the international community? We saved the free world twice. We fund the socialist body known as the UN while they call us evil. NATO.

    We catered to the international community too many times, now they expect us to bend over and take whatever crap they throw our way.

  25. We saved the free world twice

    Not so sure the U.K. would agree with that assessment.

  26. Actually, I blame the tepid anti-war movement upon the liberal!!??? media that was cheerleading the whole time, banging the drums of war. One only has to recollect the steady streams of pro-war lies published in the NYT by Judith Miller to see that there were few contrary voices allowed to be heard in the media.

  27. SwordofPerseus says:

    “Only the dead have seen the end of war” ~ Plato

    It seems unlikely given the current situation in politics where corporations are in control of Congress and the White House, that we will deviate from our empirical tactics and world hegemony, i.e., continuous war. Bread and circuses keep the timid masses satiated in their self centered lives and limited notions of satisfaction regarding the pursuit of happiness. Peaceful protests are viciously put down by the over militarized police departments, if they seem to be embarrassing the so called leaders. Anyone remember the pepper spray incidents at OWS protests? The time for protest has passed. Keep your powder dry.

  28. LeePHill says:

    “socialist”

    As opposed to “anti-social-ist”

  29. To address a few comments:

    The Afghan war never roused protests? Check out Wikipedia for “afghan war protests bush” and you will see that protests have gone from crowds estimated to be in the 10’s of thousands during Bush to 100 or 200 as of 2 years ago.

    I googled war protests and found little for the past few years. I consider PBS to be a reliable source and they indicated the same.

    I’m sorry the Seattle protesters get no coverage.

    What’s to stop me from staging a war protest? I don’t see that relevant to my point that President Obama let those of against the wars down. He campaigned against the Bush wars and he won the Nobel prize for peace. I think that it was a reasonable expectation that some of the change he was going to bring included ending the wars. Instead he orders his own surge and three and a half years after being elected he still commands 80,000 troops in Afghanistan that he has the power to order home. I stand by my belief that he he has given in to the military industrial complex.

    Thomas L Arter Jr

  30. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    alindasue,

    where did you go to school? You can’t read. This must be what TBG was referring too. sandyhillperson said.

    “The fact that any protest is lukewarm, at best, now under Obama is because it was lukewarm, at best, under Bush”

    Sounds to me sandyhillperson is blaming Bush for lukewarm protest. Sorry your union schooling failed you again when it comes to reading comprehension skills.

  31. averageJose says:

    Uh, correction… Obama didn’t “win” the Nobel… it was pre-emptively given to him.

  32. taxed – you need to improve your reading comprehension skills if you somehow are taking this statement

    “The fact that any protest is lukewarm, at best, now under Obama is because it was lukewarm, at best, under Bush”

    to be an attempt to blame Bush.

  33. As a student during the height of the Viet Nam war I observed and participated in rallies. I was a ‘Hawk.’ In NYC there were rallies attended by 50,000+ crowds marching in support or opposed to the war. There were sit-ins. There were fire bombings of recruitment stations and ROTC buildings.

    To me there appears to be one significant underlying reason for the lack of protests, significant protests. There is no draft. As in the Viet Nam period it was easy to ignore the war unless it was actually touching you and your family. Students were always in peril of losing their student deferments. A test was actually administered one year to see if you should continue on the student deferment.

    Now there is a mercenary army paid to do the country’s defense or military/economic goals with borrowed money from overseas. Unless you or a family member are in the military, it does not effect you. You don’t even have to pay for it. The tab is running on it, being kicked down the road.

    I’d venture to say, if there was a draft, there would be protestors in the street. At least in the current conflicts the citizens, if opposed to the wars, are not spitting on their sons and daughters.

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