Mother Jones on “The Peace Movement and Darcy Burner.”
In all, five anti-war leaders spoke during the Take Back America panel discussion and not one of them devoted more than a half-sentence to the surge, which any reality-based observer would admit seriously complicates the anti-war movement’s efforts to generate popular opposition to the war. And none made any mention of how America ought to withdraw.
But then Darcy Burner spoke.
A former Microsoft middle manager who is taking her second run at Congress in Washington State, Burner said that she was fed up with telling voters she wanted to end the war, only to be stymied by the question of how she planned to do so. So she met with Paul Eaton, the retired army general responsible for training the Iraqi military between 2003 and 2004, and developed a comprehensive withdrawal plan.
On the key issue of removing troops, Burner’s 30-page plan, dubbed “A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq,” glosses over the details. It notes that “troop draw-downs should begin immediately and continue until no more troops remain in Iraq,” but the timeframe for the withdrawal and the path(s) out of the country aren’t described. Eventually, they will be “based on planning provided by our military leadership.”
But the plan is comprehensive in every other respect. Using a combination of Iraq Study Group recommendations and legislation already before Congress, the plan provides for refugee assistance and a diplomatic surge that would bring together regional leaders and aims to initiate political reconciliation within the country. It would create non-military Provincial Reconstruction Teams that would “strengthen the capacity of towns and villages to resist the insurgency” and would reach the “entirety of the Iraqi population.” It calls for the departments of State, Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation, Justice, and the Treasury to work with international groups to rebuild the country. In short, it de-militarizes the occupation.
The plan also aims to restore habeas corpus to detainees, make extraordinary rendition illegal, and phase out the use of private military contractors. (It can be read in full here.)
It is far from a perfect plan, and it would likely get seriously reworked if it were introduced in Congress, no matter how large the Democratic majority. But it recognizes the anti-war movement’s need to add depth to its rhetoric. For that, Darcy Burner has done folks like Cagan, Chaudhury, and Swan a great service.
At last count, 29 Democratic challengers have already signed on to the Responsible Plan, with more to follow shortly. I’ll post a complete update tomorrow.