June 2005: Phase II of the Anti-War Movement
Mon, 20 Jun 2005 09:24:53 -0700
Rep. Conyers leads the way
By Medea Benjamin
A turning point, as more Americans question future of Iraq conflict
For the history books, mark down June 2005 as the moment the U.S. movement against the occupation of Iraq got its second wind. In June, the U.S. public became solidly anti-war, Bush’s approval rating took a nosedive, and a significant number of Congresspeople started to call for an exit strategy. This marks a seismic shift from just one month ago, when Congress overwhelmingly passed another $82 billion for war-with only 44 members of the House and not one Senator dissenting.
The continued violence in Iraq, the daily deaths of U.S. soldiers, and the non-stop drain of financial resources has finally moved the anti-war sentiment from a much-maligned minority position to a mainstream one. A Gallup poll June 6-8 found that 6 in 10 Americans advocated a partial or full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and for the first time, a majority said they would be upset with the president if he decided to send more troops. An Associated Press poll showed only 41% approved of Bush’s handling of Iraq. With such negative perceptions of the war and 2006 midterm elections approaching, an increasing number of elected officials have finally started to listen to the public and push for an exit strategy.
Thursday, June 16 was a snapshot of just how much the ground has shifted. The day started off with a press conference of strange bedfellows announcing the first bi-partisan Congressional resolution calling for an exit strategy. Appearing together before the press were two liberal Democrats-Dennis Kucinich from Ohio and Neil Abercrombie from Hawaii-with Republican libertarian Ron Paul from Texas and even more astonishing, conservative Republican Walter Jones from North Carolina-the very same congressman who pushed the House cafeterias to scrap “French fries