I am still recovering (physically and emotionally) from the last few weeks on the road, with the IVAW State of the Union tour, the court-martial of Robin Long, and participating in the protests in Denver and St. Paul for the major political party conventions.
I will be writing up a report (with pictures) for the folks who provided funding for me to be able to make these trip, so I’m hoping I can post it here as well sometime over the weekend.
As for some general thoughts about everything…
1. The IVAW tour was difficult and took some unexpected twists, but was overall a great success. Lori and the other organizers and participants deserve thanks and praise for all that they have done. Particularly for folks in semi-hostile military towns (i.e. Killeen, TX and Lawton, OK, the base tour was a much needed encouragement.
2. The IVAW protest march at the DNC in Denver – An intense experience. While I strongly, strongly condemn the aggressive (no other word can describe except militaristic) police presence, I have to praise the cops for being discipined and not using violence that night. And for the Obama campaign, I can not express my gratitude for thembeing willing to meet with IVAW. Of course, the future will tell the whole story, but at least they are willing to talk to anti-war GI’s, which is a major positive step.
3. The IVAW/VFP convention – I only caught the tail-end of it, but I was struck by both the strength of the movement, but also by the political and ideological diversity in IVAW. I’m hoping this diversity can in the end be a source of strength, but right now it looks lik it will also result in some tensions. One big issue is Afghanistan, and whether IVAW should oppose a redeployment of troops to Afghanistan (which is what it looks like Obama will do). Most see that as a valid expansion of IVAW’s mission, while some see it as a needless compromise of IVAW’s original points of unity.
4. RNC Convention in St. Paul – This will have to be another post. Too much to say about this right now.