How Obama Took Over the Peace Movement

John Podesta's liberal think tank the Center for American Progress (CAP) 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 aides 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.


It is true that they have not asked you to support their foreign policies because they are too devisive. Instead the have, as it were, put you out to greener pastures. But if you are antiwar, it is imperative for you (and moveon as well) to object to Obama's Af-Pak plan. What they revealed last week is not a plan that will ever work. It is a disaster in waiting for the US, not to mention the credibility of the Democratic Party.

As a disabled combat vet of the debacle of Vietnam, I just keep waiting for somebody to start talking about the "light at the end of the tunnel". I know it's too cynical but let's not forget who funds these guys to get elected and as much as I would like to believe in grassroots power and the tooth fairy, the reality is that the think tank "best and brightest" and the wonderfully "able" generals and Pentagon have the ear of the President because they represent money and power in Washington. Somehow the bubble needs to be broken into and people need to speak loudly and clearly that these wars are wrong, need to end, and can end IF WE CHOOSE TO END THEM! And end them with peace, not violence. peace, tw

I would like to know what happened with the peace movement...When Bush was in there were Peace Marches and rallies.. Where have they gone... I don't care who is President or which party is in... War is not the answer... We need to get out of the middle east . They have been fighting for centuries and always will.. There is no Chance for any kind of peacefullness until we leave. We would keep fighting if someone invaded our country... I bet when we brought down Sadam they didn't think we would be in there country, and region, for the next 8 to 9 years...NO MORE WAR!!!!!! OBAMA bring our Men and women home...That is why I voted for you!!..

Thanks for your post. You said: "Some of us saw this unfolding years ago. Others are probably shocked watching their peace candidate escalating a war..." Sadly, most of the people I know fall into a third category: those who don't give a shit (and these are intelligent, creative, anti-war people). Obama is their man and they're still savoring their 'victory' in the game. They were tricked by mainstream media into believing they only had two choices: McCain (booo, grrrr) or a new fresh face with a great smile and a great speech. When our choices as citizens are fraudulently presented as black vs white, red vs. blue, etc., most will accept one as 'the best we can do' and forgo honest efforts toward real progress and peace. If Obama advocates a certain strategy in Afghan/Pakistan, you'll find little opposition or concern from those who supported him. The minds of the masses have been programmed to embrace the game of elections and the Left vs Right theater. It is entertaining and sustains the fantasy that our system of government is a democracy. Here's the point, and I said this during the campaign: Obama and the Democratic Party are there to neutralize dissent in America. Under Bush, blatant lies and crimes of government where right there in our faces. The silver lining was that this united the people against war and corruption; it gave us enormous power and potential. By buying into the theory that all evil comes from the 'other' team (Republicans), the Democrats win what they want: time and control. They got a free pass from 2006-2009 that will likely continue for as long as the Obama marketing wave has power. If progressive/peace groups had put their weight behind honest leaders like Kucinich, Nader or Paul, McCain might indeed have won the election. But we would be even more angry, united and motivated. THAT would be a victory for the people – a victory for understanding what we're up against. Instead, the 'divide and conquer' strategy of the corporate elite has won again. And we're stuck in deception hell.

Precisely. The corporate elite do, in fact, play the electorate like a violin. Owing to a prolonged period of socio-political inactivity, non-involvement, complacence, etc., the electorate haven't got the stomach for a fight. For example (and this was brought to the attention of labor observer David Macaray on Counterpunch), where was American labor's presence, en masse, in DC to keep people like Specter and Feinstein on red alert vis a vis the EFCA Bill? American labor has not flexed any socio-political muscle--to any material degree--since Seattle, 1999. The result: EFCA Bill will emerge still born, i.e., corporate powerbrokers have thrown far too much money at K Street for it to receive a fair toss. When "We, the Sheeple" get close enough to the slaughter house that denial ceases to offer any solace it will then, in fact, be too late: the noose will have been cinched snugly to the throats of the halt and the blind. The Trifecta of Evil--the business sector/MSM/DC are perfectly willing to play hardball. That's how the game is won. Anyone who fell for ANY aspect of the campaign rhetoric--underwritten by $700+ million in media expenditures--is either a callow adolescent or utterly, and hopelessly naive. There are, of course, individuals eager to be led. That "personality" only serves to cultivate the top-down control by careerists--DC, Wall Street--whomever--currently wrecking our lives as well as our environment, i.e., the planet. We, the Sheeple: look up ahead. What do you see?

but this exquisite fake swept into office wiping out decades of work on reform: elections, healthcare, economics, media and the military industrial complex. He represents a continuation of the subversion of our government for private profit and power. His stealthiness, his lying to the public about his intentions certainly rings my bell with the current CMD article on the illegality of using propaganda domestically. I don't think one can be a propaganda tool and uphold the oath of office at the same time.

So who cares. Long ago, after the 'Nam War and the Central America horrors I decided that most US citizens like and support war: They know where the goodies come from. All I can hope for is the financial load on the system will cause its collapse a la USSR. Bin Laden has been quite open that this is his strategy. Terror is just his tactic. Chris Herz

Good article on the nuts and bolts but it does not mention how Zionists have long controlled (they more or less created) the Left/peace movement. Jeffrey Blankfort is a Jewish person who lives in CA and tells many stories of the Zionists sabotaging the peace movement regarding the Middle East. Noam Chomsky can wail about East Timor but if anyone tries to connect Israel to human rights violations the Left will pounce all over it saying you are not blaming Imperialism as the Left Trots and their gatekeepers do. Try pointing out that Israel is the dog tail that wags the dog and find yourself marginalized, ignored, or villified. Read the books by Mearsheimer and Walt, James Petras and Stephen Sniegoski and you can understand why the Left and Peace Movement (har) are ineffective from the get go.

There are more kinds of lefties than you think. I for one favored intervention in Afghanistan in the 1990s. After 9/11, I thought it was a mistake to conflate the two - terrorism & Afghanistan policy, and especially with everyone so emotional and whipped up - but I still fundamentally supported tackling the Talibani nutcases. Invading Iraq is still stupid, according to this logic, monumentally stupid in a way that invading Afghanistan is not. I mean, one is a failed state, the other just a repressive but fully functioning state. The difference could not be more clear and a calculus of intervention should treat them separately. You may not like this logic, but I have noticed it is somewhat widely spread among liberals, and it was explicitly endorsed by Obama. Don't suppose people were fooled - many knew exactly what they were voting for. I did. And those who question his commitments to pacifist causes - I think you have no idea how difficult it is to reverse a major foreign policy commitment. Being president is not about "I believe this so let it be so" - no, being president is about sustained commitment to public persuasion and coordinating public policymaking. Governing is delicate regardless of the topic but no topic more delicate than war. Rather than judge on an all-or-nothing basis, look for incremental dismantling of the Iraq war infrastructure and foreign policy groundwork to blunt this sort of thing from happening in the future, to the extent that it is possible.

The point is that Obama postured himself as THE candidate for "CHANGE you can believe in." Playing kowtow to neo-Zionists--via AIPAC largesse lining DC pockets, proferring a "No comment," to the wholesale slaughter of Gazans (known then--and confirmed now--as the targeting of the civilian population), adding 21,000 troops to the 38,000 in place in Afghanistan (although he did, indeed, threaten to do as much), the purposefully open-ended engagement in Iraq, the re-marketing--and prolonging--of rendition, the temporizing on Guantanamo's closing, hiring Geithner and Summers to address the economic meltdown with cosmetic make-overs to the neo-liberal agenda underwriting Wall Street, all but abandoning the EFCA issue to corporate interests--via K Street tactical warfare: this is DC legerdemain shored up by the corporate media, i.e., its biases, selective focusing and so-called "concision," and bold-faced deceptions. Obama knew full well that he could rely upon this muddling of issues by the MSM (and still does, in fact)--to whatever degree--to keep the rank-and-file off balance. The margin of doubt manifest in those who feed at the MSM disinformation trough--and the all-important moment of hesitation--inhibits those who would that this polyarchy be dismantled in favor of the only democracy functioning in any meaningful sense of the term: a PARTICIPATORY democracy. The System is not in crisis: the System IS the crisis, i.e., it cannot be "rehabilitated," which is what, e.g., Bernanke, Summers, and Geithner are desperately trying to impose upon us: neo-liberalism, redux. Obama is a rhetorician and a careerist--NOT a leader. To put it into context: what would Dr. King's response have been to the wholesale slaughter in Gaza for twenty-two days? His outrage would have been immediate, unremitting, and unequivocal. What did we get?: a soundbite. Jay Leno, indeed. Too cute. "CHANGE you can believe in"? Try this instead: "Truth in advertising."