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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Digby’s new column on importance of Norman Solomon campaign

Norman Solomon vs the empire

by digby - Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Problem:

Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, the media is already handicapping the presidential election big time, and the neck-and-neck opinion polls are pouring in. But whether President Obama gets his second term or Romney enters the Oval Office, there’s a third candidate no one’s paying much attention to, and that candidate is guaranteed to be the one clear winner of election 2012: the U.S. military and our ever-surging national security state.

The reasons are easy enough to explain. Despite his record as a “warrior-president,” despite the breathless “Obama got Osama” campaign boosterism, common inside-the-Beltway wisdom has it that the president has backed himself into a national security corner. He must continue to appear strong and uncompromising on defense or else he’ll get the usual Democrat-as-war-wimp label tattooed on his arm by the Republicans.

Similarly, to have a realistic chance of defeating him — so goes American political thinking — candidate Romney must be seen as even stronger and more uncompromising, a hawk among hawks. Whatever military spending Obama calls for, however much he caters to neo-conservative agendas, however often he confesses his undying love for and extols the virtues of our troops, Romney will surpass him with promises of even more military spending, an even more muscular and interventionist foreign policy, and an even deeper love of our troops.

Indeed, with respect to the national security complex, candidate Romney already comes across like Edward G. Robinson’s Johnny Rocco in the classic film Key Largo: he knows he wants one thing, and that thing is more. More ships for the Navy. More planes for the Air Force. More troops in general — perhaps 100,000 more. And much more spending on national defense.

Clearly, come November, whoever wins or loses, the national security state will be the true victor in the presidential sweepstake.

The solution (or at least the beginning.) Here's Howie today:

We need Norman Solomon in Congress. America needs Norman Solomon in Congress. If you can give him support, now's the time. His primary against a pack of business-as-usual Democratic careerists is in 3 weeks. He's on the Blue America page. It scares us that most other progressive groups haven't recognized this race for what it really is. Today, 20 or so progressive activists joined me signing this public letter from PDA. I was proud to be a signatory along with lifelong fighters for the cause of the 99% like Noam Chomsky, Tim Carpenter, Phyllis Bennis, Phil Donahue, Medea Benjamin, David Swanson, Sarah Anderson, Mimi Kennedy, Bob Fertik, Andrea Miller, Leslie Cagan, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Jodie Evans, Sam Husseini, Danny Goldberg, Michael Eisenscher, David Segal, Karen Dolan, Daniel Ellsberg, Thom Hartmann, Tom Morello, and Carolyn Eisenberg. I doubt there's another candidate for the House who could ever get that kind of principled support behind their race, even if they can roundup some compromised labor leaders or some progressive operatives in DC. And the letter every one of them signed for Norman? The heart of it:

This open letter will be straight to the point-- if you opposed the Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq-- if you knew Bush and Blair were lying about the Downing Street Memo-- if you wanted (and still want) Guantanamo shut down-- if you oppose the "secret" drone wars-- if you opposed the Obama "surge" in Afghanistan-- then there is one anti-war candidate running for Congress this year who stands head and shoulders above everyone else-- Norman Solomon.

In fact, if you have demonstrated against any of the undeclared, unconstitutional wars that the U.S. has waged over the last 40 years, from Vietnam to El Salvador to Iraq, Norman Solomon was right there with you. He marched; he was arrested for nonviolent protest; he wrote and spoke out; he organized high-profile peace missions to Iraq and Afghanistan; he led the fight for "Healthcare, Not Warfare!"

And since next year's Congress will be missing two of our most dedicated peace leaders, Dennis Kucinich and Lynn Woolsey, we need Norman Solomon elected to stand up for us, no matter where we live.

We know Norman. We've worked with him against illegal wars for 4 decades now. And we can state for a fact that there is no pro-peace candidate running for an open seat in Congress this year who is more deserving of the votes, the donations, or the volunteer help of anti-war activists all across the country.

...Norman Solomon has spent his life opposing wars and standing up for peace. He's earned our support. The question for the peace movement is-- will we come through for him?

This race is extremely important for progressives everywhere. What happens if there's nobody in the congress even advocating for peace, much less organizing and working with others to exert some elective state power on its behalf? Can he single-handedly change American foreign policy? Of course not. But without some progressives holding the anti-war position in the congress, even if a social movement emerges to take on this cause, there won't be anyone on the inside to make the case.

Norman Solomon is a proven progressive leader and we need people like him to help start the process of turning this ship of state away from policies that perpetuate the American military empire, erode and impede individual rights and liberties and benefit the 1% to the exclusion of everyone else. He is running in one of the most liberal districts in the country. Progressives need to plant their flag there and elect one of the most impressive liberal activists of his generation.

I've said it before. If not there, where? If not now, when? If not him, who?