An unhappy anniversary

The Iraq Moratorium marks its first anniversary on Friday, but it won’t be a celebration.

The goal when the Moratorium was launched in September 2007 was to put itself out of business by ending the war and occupation of Iraq.

Perhaps that was a bit optimistic.Despite George Bush and John McCain’s belief that we are somehow winning, there are more US troops there now than there were a year ago. The war itself is five and a half years old.

If McCain becomes president, there is no end in sight. If Obama does, we’ll eventually get out, but it will take continued pressure on him and the Democrats in Congress to do the right thing. (We elected a new Congress two years ago to end the war; how’d that go?)

The Iraq Moratorium, inspired by the Vietnam Moratorium that helped end that war, was created to reach out to the two-thirds of the American public who say they oppose the war but don’t do anything to try to end it. It’s what Nixon called the silent majority, except that now they are on the antiwar side. But they are still silent.

The Moratorium is a simple idea. It asks people to interrupt their daily routines once a month, on the Third Friday of every month, and do something to call for an end to the war and occupation of Iraq.

It can be something simple, like wearing a button or armband to work or school. Or it can be dramatic, like taking part in some kind of major rally, march, occupation, die-in or other action. Some choose to challenge authority and get arrested. Others send an email to their Congress member. There is room for all of that and everything in between. There are no rules, and only one requirement to be part of Iraq Moratorium day: Do something!

You’ll find lots of ideas for individual action and a listing of events at the Moratorium website. You’ll also find reports, photos and videos from previous actions.

Wisconsin has been a leader in the movement, with more events each month than any other state but California, with six times the population. See a list of Wisconsin events here.

Operating on a shoestring and relying on volunteers, the Moratorium sparked at least 1,322 events in 42 states and 256 communities during its first year of operation. (Those were listed; many others just happen and are never added to the list or the count.)

Imagine what it could accomplish with a little money and even a tiny bit of media attention?

Help make it happen. Donate something if you can, knowing that every badly-needed dollar will be put to immediate and effective use in the cause of peace.

But, more importantly, do something.

You may not end the war. But acting can be its own reward. Give it a try.

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