Common Ground in Anti-War Appeal

The major U.S. news media is again focusing Campaign 2012 on personalities, gaffes and poll-measured momentum, a superficiality that has contributed to America’s dysfunctional politics for several decades. But ex- FBI agent Coleen Rowley describes her work with an anti-war group seeking to change that dynamic.

By Coleen Rowley

The Des Moines news reporter who noted our anti-war message at the entrance of Saturday’s Republican Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, did not stay around long enough to see the real story.

Our banners actually got an amazingly good reception!

Positioned as we were at the entrance to the event, we were surprised at how many of the thousands of straw poll attendees (even those clad in Pawlenty and Santorum t-shirts) responded positively to the “Come Home America” message.

Banners warning that “Endless War = Endless Debt” and “War IS Taxing” resonated with people of all political (conservative, libertarian, and socially progressive) backgrounds who stopped to talk, with some even giving up an hour or two of their time to help us hold the banners.

Attendees seemed genuinely interested when we encouraged them to sign our recent “Dear Obama” letter and told them we were part of a non-partisan effort focused on the most important ISSUES of the day, instead of the promises, slogans, cute winks and other crazy antics of any particular political candidate.

The truth is that progressives who support social safety nets, funding of public education, and who are opposed to the widening disparity between the wealthiest and the poor cannot possibly see their goals realized without the U.S. government changing course away from the last decade of destructive and costly wars.

Libertarians will not see restoration of civil liberties, adherence to the Constitution and away from national security policing and “War Presidency” empowerment.

“Greens” will not see more funding and research diverted to sustainable and environmentally clean energy technologies. And fiscal conservatives cannot possibly get the small, decentralized government they long for while the United States seeks costly world empire and military superpower status.

All of these worthwhile goals are connected by money and are antithetical to the U.S. government’s spending on runaway militarism.

If the American government continues to be controlled by the military-industrial-congressional-media complex, in defiance of this popular consensus, throwing away trillions of hard-earned and increasingly scarce taxpayer dollars on bombs, drone technology, armoring tanks and outright corporate contractor fraud, none of these other objectives are possible.

So while hundreds of national media in Iowa covered the actual, close straw poll finish (near tie) of Michele Bachmann (only beating Ron Paul by 152 votes) and did not seem to care or cover the enormous outpouring we witnessed from people of different political backgrounds and loyalties, the consensus for ending the wars and runaway militarism is building.

Numerous polls confirm that we’re approaching a unique moment when a variety of rationales for ending the wars are coming together that transcend prior political differences.

In any event, look for our Come Home America initiative and banners to represent this remarkable convergence outside some of Obama’s upcoming speeches as well as other major political events throughout the nation.

By strengthening the emerging consensus, it may be possible to end the insanity of these wars.

While politicos and horse race bettors constantly talk of making their selections using the “lesser of two evils” formula, one thing is clear: it is the issues that matter more than the political personalities.

And unjust, unnecessary war is not the lesser of two evils! It is the evil that corrupts and contaminates everything else.

Retired FBI agent Coleen Rowley is on the Steering Committee for “Come Home America” (

8 comments for “Common Ground in Anti-War Appeal

  1. August 23, 2011 at 14:26

    It is so refreshing to read articles like this that make sense, in our nonsensical, wasteful, reckless political environment created by republicans and democrats who actually believe these optional wars were necessary and will make us safer.

    How did the nation get where it is? Our U.S. television news programing by stifling freedom of speech by rarely allowing critics of our wars to express their valid point of view only diminishes our democracy, so much that we are now a weak democracy that allowed the most uninformed to lead the nation into one morass after another, war, economic decline and corruption.

  2. Jack Smith
    August 18, 2011 at 02:08

    Picketing the GOP makes sense but this day Obama is the Chief War Lord of the world. Why do you give Obama, who is raising more money tan all of them, a free pass?

    • August 18, 2011 at 08:01


    • bobzz
      August 18, 2011 at 13:21

      Quite correct. Obama should get no pass, but he is following in Republican footsteps. His continuing the wars, including Iraq, Afghanistan, (we shall never leave either one until a Saigon type withdrawal) and the feckless Nixonian war on drugs. I would also cite his desire to charge whistleblowers with espionage as another dangerous trend, and he exceeds Bush there. The ‘but’ here is that he inherited this mess That said, he has done nothing to reverse it.

  3. bobzz
    August 16, 2011 at 21:06

    I too agree with this piece, but has anyone seen the photos and read the blurbs about China’s new aircraft carrier? I guarantee Republicans will use it to engage the fear-mongering machine to justify additional military funding. The committee of 12 will stalemate, and we shall have a mandatory cut in military spending—but wait. If horrors of horrors, Perry is elected, Congress will fast track new legislation, which Perry will sign while the pages are still hot. I hope I am wrong, but their war-mongering, scare-the-heck out of the American people has worked for them a long time.

    • Ed
      August 16, 2011 at 21:33

      If and when someone brings up China’s ONE aircraft carrier, please remind them that the U.S. has ELEVEN nuclear-armed aircraft carrier strike forces, some of them right now off China’s coasts, in addition to military bases surrounding China as part of the expensive U.S. global empire of more than 800 military bases in foreign countries, and a fleet of Trident missile submarines, each one armed with nuclear warheads containing more firepower than ALL nations involved in World War II. The U.S. military budget is nine times that of China’s!

      • bobzz
        August 17, 2011 at 00:15

        Oh, I think our neo-cons know that. They will say China will build more. And the cost of their carriers is much less than the cost of ours. These neo-cons are not going to listen to logic. Panetta is already raising alarmist warnings about the proposed cuts.

  4. Sharon Crane
    August 16, 2011 at 19:17

    This article is absolutely right on. Even in small-town, WY, where we live, I always get agreement with saying, “We need to bring our military people home & end these wars!”

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