|The US Congress is seeking to cut the country’s budget by $1.2tn – and one option would be to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and to cut the military budget [REUTERS]|
On October 7, 2011, the United States will have been at war for ten years.
Let’s mark the occasion by making a clamour for peace so loud that Congress, the president, and big media will have to pay attention.
October 7 happens to fall on a Friday this year. If you get to choose, Friday is not necessarily the most strategic day to make a national clamour for peace, because 1) Congress will likely not be in session 2) Friday is, in general, a crummy day to try to get media attention and 3) even if these two things weren’t true or relevant, Friday is not a great day to try to hold public attention. People’s thoughts are turning to the weekend, and then the weekend erases the chalkboard.
Moreover, the press has to cover the anniversary of the war, but these stories are going to be largely written and produced before Friday. The default media narrative will be: America has lost interest in the wars, because of the economy and unemployment, because “the wars are already winding down”, or some other story that journalists or editors will make up. We have to beat this default media narrative. To beat it, we need to get in front of it.
So let’s mark the occasion on Thursday, October 6. Let’s have a national, “ecumenical” day of action for peace: to end the wars and cut the military budget.
By “ecumenical”, I mean this: everybody will “worship” in their own way. People who are willing to call Congress, will call Congress. People are willing to go to demonstrations, will go to demonstrations. People who get active online will get active online. But everybody who wants peace will do something for peace on October 6. In the comments below, tell us what you are going to do to act for peace on October 6.
Call Congress: right now, the Congressional “Supercommittee” is considering proposals to cut the US government debt by $1.2tn over ten years. One obvious choice: end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and cut the military budget. Poll data shows that when you ask people “if the supercommittee cuts the budget, where should they cut?” military spending walks to victory. But the military contractors and war profiteers, who have grown fat from ten years of war spending, are pressing Congress not to cut the military budget and to cut your Medicare benefits instead.
If you do nothing else for peace on October 6, call at least one of your representatives in Congress – particularly if they are on the Supercommittee – and tell them to end the wars and cut the military budget. The Congressional switchboard is 202-225-3121.
In this speech on the budget, I explain why people who don’t want Congress to cut domestic spending and want to save the hundreds of thousands of jobs threatened by domestic spending cuts should be pounding on the supercommittee to end the wars and cut the military budget:
Demonstrate: on October 6, peace advocates will occupy Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. All around the country, “# occupy [city]” protests are already springing up in solidarity with the Wall Street protests. If you can get to one of these protests, go. On October 6, raise the banner of peace. If “occupying” isn’t your cup of tea, have a vigil outside your Representative or Senator’s office, or a federal building, or any place where you will be visible to the public. Send a press release to all local media the morning of the day before, and call the local media and make sure they got your press release and are thinking of coming. Here’s an idea that might spark media interest: form a group called “Tea Party Patriots for Peace”, demanding cuts to wasteful big government spending on war. After all, war spending is the majority of federal discretionary spending. Stop taxing us to pay for war!
Buzz it up online: On October 6, help “action for peace” be a focus of attention online. Blog and comment about actions taking place for peace; share writing about and coverage of actions for peace by others. Help it be the case that you can’t look anywhere online on October 6 without seeing action for peace.
On Friday, October 7, don’t let big media say that Americans aren’t acting to press for peace. In the comments below, tell us what you are going to do to act for peace on October 6.
Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy.
Follow Robert Naiman on Twitter @naiman
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent al Jazeera’s editorial policy.