A J'accuse for CAP, MoveOn Afghanistan Silence

President Obama went on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday to make the case for his great big war in Afghanistan.

The good news is that Obama says, "What I will not do is to simply
assume that more troops always results in an improved situation."

The bad news is that Obama is dispatching more troops to a country that has never taken well to occupation.

So where is the MoveOn.org blast condemning the ramping up of an
undeclared war and the president's refusal to rule out an even more
dramatic expansion of that war to Pakistan? Where is the memo from the
Center for American Progress outlining the case against giving the
president "a blank check for endless war"?

Don't hold your breath, says John Stauber, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy and the co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq and The Best War Ever: Lies, Damned Lies and the Mess in Iraq, two of the most scathing books on the Bush-Cheney administration and its war in Iraq.

In a no-holds-barred critique of groups that earned their
reputations as critics of the rush to invade and occupy Iraq, Stauber
argues that the Obama administration has effectively co-opted some of
the nation's most high-profile anti-war groups.

Here's what Stauber writes in a piece titled: "How Obama Took Over the Peace Movement," which appears on the CMD website:

John Podesta's liberal think tank the Center for American Progress strongly supports Barack Obama's escalation of the US wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is best evidenced by Sustainable Security in Afghanistan, a CAP report by Lawrence J. Korb.
Podesta served as the head of Obama's transition team, and CAP's
support for Obama's wars is the latest step in a successful co-option
of the US peace movement by Obama's political aids and the Democratic Party.

CAP and the five million member liberal lobby group MoveOn were behind Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), a coalition that spent tens of millions of dollars using Iraq as a political bludgeon against Republican
politicians, while refusing to pressure the Democratic Congress to
actually cut off funding for the war. AAEI was operated by two of
Barack Obama's top political aids, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes, and by Brad Woodhouse of Americans United for Change and USAction. Today Woodhouse is Obama's Director of Communications and Research for the Democratic National Committee. He controls the massive email list called Obama for America
composed of the many millions of people who gave money and love to the
Democratic peace candidate and might be wondering what the heck he is
up to in Afghanistan and Pakistan. MoveOn built its list by organizing vigils and ads for peace and by then supporting Obama for president; today it operates as a full-time cheerleader supporting Obama's policy agenda. Some of us saw this unfolding years ago.
Others are probably shocked watching their peace candidate escalating a
war and sounding so much like the previous administration in his
rationale for doing so.


Stauber's piece has circulated widely in recent days, stirring the same sort of dialogue that his previous criticisms of MoveOn inspired.

The truth is that important players in the anti-war movement are speaking out against Obama's Afghanistan buildup.

Peace Action is petitioning
Congress to oppose Obama's Afghanistan plan. Peace Action executive
director Kevin Martin has compared the president's moves with those of
John Kennedy in Vietnam:

"It's a shame President Obama believes he can pursue
the same militaristic strategy as his predecessors and produce a
different result. While President Obama has made some good statements
on increasing diplomacy and economic aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan,
the emphasis is clearly on military operations. John F. Kennedy was in
a comparable situation when he was elected. He chose to escalate then
as well, and the consequences of his decision left our country mired in
an unwinnable war."

The Friends Committee on National Legislation,
which maintains the largest peace lobby in Washington, says that "more
troops won't bring more peace in Afghanistan. Instead, the U.S. should
invest in long-term diplomacy and development assistance."

United for Peace and Justice,
of which both Peace Action and FCNL are member groups, is organizing
coordinated local actions on April 6-9 to pressure Congress to oppose
the Afghanistan escalation.

But Stauber's broad point is an important one.

There is significant discomfort with the expansion of the U.S. presence
in Afghanistan, and opposition has been expressed by political leaders
abroad and at home (including Democrats and
Republicans in Congress). This is a time when genuine anti-war groups
could be expected to harness that discomfort and build a stronger
movement to shift U.S. policy.

As such, it is a time of testing for organizations that came to
prominence opposing not just George Bush and Dick Cheney but the
wrongheaded war-making of the White House -- no matter which party
happened to occupy the Oval Office. And that makes Stauber's J'accuse a particularly stinging one.

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