There seem to be some people who would like the anti-war movement to focus its energies entirely on the issue of war. The reasoning is that this will ensure a larger coalition of supporters from a broad range of ideological backgrounds whose share only their opposition to a foolish and dangerous foreign policy agenda. To a certain extent I agree with this line of reasoning. However, I also think it is important to keep up pressure on the Bush administration’s domestic policy agenda as well.
It isn’t necessary to be a conspiracy theorist to see that there is a certain amount of wagging the dog going on right now. Bush’s State of the Union speech cynically used national security issues to distract the American public from its disastrous economic policies. (Just read the last two year’s worth of Krugman’s column.)
As with a schoolyard bully who shouts “Hold me back!” before punching another kid, the entire world is divided up between those holding Bush’s arms (the UN) and those egging him on (Tony Blair). But we must ask, why does the bully shout “Hold me back!” in the first place? Not because he doesn’t want to beat up the target of his wrath, but because he gains so much more by creating such a scene.
I don’t like to see the domestic agenda reduced to conspiracy theories, but I do think it is important not to forget about tax-cuts for the rich, ENRON, oil-drilling in Alaska, etc. when we protest the war. Otherwise we are given Bush what he wants — power to define the agenda.