What we can do about the war in Iraq

The elites in Washington are not the only people that can stop this war.

For more than four years now, the war in Iraq has raged without any peaceful conclusion in sight. Over 60,000 Iraqis have died, as have more than 3,000 of our soldiers. On top of that, this country has amassed debts that will likely be paid by generations to come. For the war’s $400 billion price tag, we could have given health insurance to the entire country, or we could have cut taxes even more.

The midterm elections gave our country a chance to find an end to this conflict. The Democrats regained control of the House and Senate, largely because of the country’s failed policy in Iraq. Unfortunately, the change brought by the Democrats has only taken us so far.

To be sure, the Democrats have improved the situation, but more must be done to stop the war. They’ve breathed fresh air into the situation by actually representing the public’s opinion, but they’ve stopped short of giving the president an ultimatum. They could end the war by cutting the funds, but they’re afraid of looking like they don’t support the troops.

In all of this, it seems we forget that the elites in Washington aren’t the only people that can stop this war. History proves that sometimes the formal political process isn’t enough. Much can be said about doing things that way, but what would the civil rights movement have looked like if it waited for politicians to come to their senses?

We know exactly what would have happened if black people didn’t organize sit-ins, freedom rides, or the march on Washington. Nothing would have changed, and politicians would have had no reason to change the situation on their own.

The same logic could be used to stop this war. Unfortunately, the country hasn’t experienced any large-scale opposition. At the war rally in Minneapolis last month, about 4,000 people marched down Hennepin Avenue into Loring Park. In contrast, nearly 3 million people live in the Twin Cities region. If we are to believe the polls, more than 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the war. The question is: Where are they?