Saturday, June 27, 2009

MoveOn Resumes Anti-War Stance

By Tom Hayden
The Nation

MoveOn resumed its historical anti-war stance this week, symbolically breaking with the Obama administration for the first time.

After being criticized for abandoning the anti-war stance that won it millions of activist supporters, the organization sent targeted mailings supporting the demand for an Obama administration exit strategy report contained in HR 2404, by Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts.

The measure, which requires the Pentagon to outline an exit strategy from Afghanistan by December 31, had only 84 co-sponsors last week, and was blocked by the House Democratic leadership from consideration as part of the supplemental military appropriation of $100 million. Currently it is pending in the House, still opposed by the Obama administration.

The bill represents an uncertain trumpet for Democrats who were willing to impose exit deadlines from Iraq on the outgoing Bush administration. Both President Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have spoken in favor of an Afghanistan exit strategy in the past, which means their opposition to the McGovern legislation reflects a deep-running struggle between the executive and legislative branches over war-making powers. The White House was extremely active in lobbying Democrats to vote for the war supplemental without conditions. Only 32 Democrats were willing to stand up against the administration.

The refusal of MoveOn to engage in the supplemental fight, or oppose the escalation in Afghanistan, meant a reduction of grass-roots anti-war pressure on wavering Congressional members. Until last week, Congressional anti-war leaders were questioning where MoveOn, with its five million members, stood on the vote.

Despite its modest nature, MoveOn’s entry into the debate could be an important factor in legitimizing anti-war criticism of the Obama policies among Democrats. Anti-war sentiment at the grass roots is smothered by the unwillingness of several organizations to openly oppose the war escalation, despite their roots in the anti-war movement against Iraq.

The silent organizations thus far include Democracy for America and its founder, Howard Dean, Ben Cohen’s True Majority, and the Obama campaign’s offshoot Organizing for America. The Feminist Majority even supported the $80 billion war supplemental with an amendment supporting women’s programs in Afghanistan. The Feminist Majority argued against another anti-war organization, Win Without War, taking an oppositional stand on the supplemental. National Peace Action, while opposing the supplemental, also supported the Feminist Majority’s amendment to the supplemental, which failed anyway in the end.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Politics of Excusing Torture In The Name of National Security

Friday, May 15, 2009
Allow me to share some analysis about the way things work in Washington। President Obama's flip-flop on his agreement to turn over photographs of detainees being tortured by American soldiers is a message with broad and clear implications। Those who believe that the Obama Administration should expose and prosecute persons who committed war crimes should understand that it is not going to happen the way they would like, or as quickly, because Obama is having internal battles as well। His pullback is not occurring because he fears that Republicans will attack him (he knows they will); rather it is occurring because he needs the national security community behind him, and they fear they will be further embarrassed and humiliated if more information is revealed .John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Young people are on the frontlines of many of the world’s human rights crises, but it’s all too rare that we get to hear their perspectives. The second edition of Youth Producing Change shares 10 powerful stories from young filmmakers across the globe as they turn a camera on their own lives and share their visions of change.Discussion with filmmakers from Boston, Mozambique, New York, San Francisco and Seattle to follow. Click here to view trailer.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Playing For Change:

Peace Through Music is a film that explores our connections in a world overwhelmed with division. Through the process of making this film we traveled around the world and discovered that music opens the door to a place where we can come together as a human race. Music helps us to persevere through struggles and celebrate our differences which changes the world into a more peaceful place. Look for the DVD of this award-winning film in stores in late 2009. LOVE & PEACE Tim Nolan