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The Calm Before

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It's very, very early morning on Saturday, August 27, in Crawford, Texas. The roads are as dark as Dick Cheney's heart, and the stars as numerous as W's lies. All hell has not yet broken loose and may or may not do so later today. But the police are telling the media that they're preparing for trouble. And Camp Casey 2 ran a workshop yesterday on how to nonviolently respond to hostility. (Watch video on Truthout.org.)

Huge numbers of supporters of Cindy Sheehan are expected here today, along with a rumored crowd of pro-war activists (whether it will be of any size remains to be seen). And then there's the rumor that local military recruiters will work the crowd if it materializes at the high school stadium. This is one of those rumors that makes a little too much sense to seem true. What, after all, does it mean to be a pro-war activist if not to sign up and engage in the war?

Tonight at Camp Casey 2 there were a couple of hundred people around through the evening. We ate and enjoyed the performances of some extremely talented musicians and singers. Then we all gathered 'round as Cindy did an interview from the middle of the tent with Bill Maher on his HBO show. I hope to upload at some point a video we taped of the event that does not show what Maher said (we couldn't hear him), but does include shots of the crowd, which Maher could not see (we were all behind the camera), but which he clearly heard there were deafening shouts and cheers after each of Cindy's best remarks.

From Cindy's statements, it was easy enough to tell what she was being asked. She insisted more than once that Bush KNEW he was lying about the reasons for the war, and she cited the Downing Street Memo. She said the word "lies" more often than it's probably been printed in the past year by the New York Times.

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She was also clearly asked about ending her campaign, because she replied that the anti-war movement has a life of its own, and that she couldn't stop it if she wanted to.

Following the Bill Maher taping, we watched a three-giant-screen film presentation called "Artists Against the War," which told the story of the anti-war movement from the war on Afghanistan through to the War on Iraq.

As this presentation made clear, there has been an understanding of the lies that drove this war since before the war was launched, a serious analysis of the real motives, and a massive movement of resistance, all unbeknownst to the common consumer of corporate news.

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But the movement that is busy being born at Camp Casey is something new and more inspiring than anything we've seen before. It raises hopes that we may make future wars far more difficult in this country. And I'm inclined to think that even pro-war activism will help in this change for the reason that Cindy gave so brilliantly at her press conference yesterday morning: democracy thrives on participation.

If one of the motives for war is to diminish (through fear) political involvement on the domestic front, both anti- and pro-war activism work against that calculation. And if war becomes less attractive to the powerful in this country, it may be that we can turn their focus to sports or some other means of distracting people from their lives.

But another motive for war is to justify Pentagon spending. And if we are going to end wars, we must end that insane level of unaccountable waste. This is a step that is not found in any of the competing petitions and proposals that I have seen for an "exit strategy."

Unless we have a vision for massive investment in the economy through something other than the Pentagon, such as renewable energy, mass transit, education, health care unless we have a vision for a world that can handle peace, then we're going to have a hard time ending wars.

But we may not have as hard a time ending this current war as many now think. A movement is building. And it is setting its sites on demanding action from Congress. And already in Congress we are seeing movement in the right direction, perhaps most notably in the growing support in the House International Relations Committee for a Resolution of Inquiry into pre-war lies (H Res 375).

The movement born in Crawford will metamorphose into a series of bus tours targeting key congressional districts on the road to Washington, D.C., between now and September 24. For details on where the buses are going, see:


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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)

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