When voters gave Democrats control of both Houses of Congress in November, peace groups thought the country had turned a corner. United for Peace and Justice said the election results were “a clear popular mandate for peace,” and the post-election shitcanning of Donald Rumsfeld cheered those desperate for a change. Alas, change is coming: President Bush is going to announce tomorrow night that he plans to send up to 20,000 more troops to Iraq.
So peace groups are trying to seize momentum once more, with a day of protests after the president’s call for escalating the war. The idea is to meet the president’s call for a “surge” with a surge of protest.
After the election, the peace people knew that ending the Iraq disaster wouldn’t be easy: Democrats were divided on how forcefully to press for a drawdown of troops, and how fast and extensive a withdrawal to advocate. But that was a disagreement over how to accomplish a particular goal: getting out of Iraq. And while the Iraq Study Group shared that goal, conservative groups like the American Enterprise Institute did not. They have a different aim: victory, or at least something that can be dressed up to look like a win. And their interpretation of not only the war, but also the voters’ message, seems to have prevailed in the White House. Now the question is whether Democrats on the Hill will buy it —or rather, pay for it.