From pro-war to anti-warLiving through America’s transformation [Archives:2005/860/Opinion]

July 18 2005

By Walid Al-Saqaf in Washington, DC
I must say that I am among the many lucky Arab journalists to have been able to observe and live through the incredible transformation in the public opinion in the United States from a pro-war to an anti-war majority. The anti-war percentage has also been growing by the time I wrote this article. After staying for more than four months in Washington DC, I have no doubt that this is a landmark and pivotal point in American modern history.

Having said so, this doesn't necessarily mean that Americans have become less favorable of preemptive strikes, but rather because of the ongoing war's devastating impact that Americans are starting to feel in their own lives and threatening their own wellbeing. As more American soldiers are dying and as conditions of security in Iraq continue to deteriorate, more reports are surfacing in the media and talked about on various levels. As more spendings are made for the war and as volatility continues in the Middle East, oil prices are rising steadily reaching record highs and impacting every household budget across the country, especially through this summer, and fingers are crossed for an anticipated a tough cold winter when oil prices could rise because of over-consumption for heating.

There hardly is any American state today that doesn't have activists calling for the return of soldiers from Iraq. The other day I noticed a sign posted near a bus stop in Washington DC saying “Bring our troops home”. American friends told me that they could not have even imagined such a thing happening, at least in this pace, a year ago. This trend is becoming more visible as Americans are becoming more aware of the true picture of the happenings in Iraq and their direct and indirect consequences on their lives.

Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda insurgency has demonstrated its propaganda capabilities in spreading out its news on various websites and discussion groups all over the internet. In its latest video, which was designed with high quality digital audio and video formats, Al-Qaeda was able to reach out to even more sympathizers. From the responses in discussion rooms, it seems Al-Qaeda has gained some sort of solid existence on the web. This will probably add to the insurgency activity in the war-torn country, whose citizens are blaming the US for the mess they are in today.

The pressure on the US administration has been mounting and not only coming from families of soldiers in Iraq and non-governmental activists, but nowadays politicians even from Bush's Republican party are beginning to question the implications and cost the war has had and some have openly called for the return of soldiers. Those anti-war Americans with less political influence have used the Internet more than ever. Hundreds of websites are now actively using it to reach out to potential campaigners to call for the return of the troops. George W. Bush is being referred to now as Dubya more than ever -Dubya represents the Texan pronunciation of his middle initial 'W'-, reflecting his diminishing popularity in polls and public opinion. One simple Google search for the word 'bring troops home' will result in hundreds of thousands of pages, most of them criticizing the war and calling it a mistake from the very beginning.

One of the major factors behind the growing anti-war trend online is the growing number of bloggers – a blogger is a person or group that posts to their own weblog, usually with a controversial approach- who have been setting the stage for an unprecedented flow of new conspiracy theories raising more questions than answers.,, and are among the most widely read. Many of the most influential bloggers believe the mainstream media had played a negative major role in motivating the public to support the war on Iraq by not scrutinizing the facts presented by the administration concerning the motives behind the war and issues concerning the mysterious issues with the 911 attacks.

This time is quite critical in American history because it resembles a somewhat worrisome transformation for Bush and may well rise to an unprecedented level. Some speculate that if things continue to deteriorate in Iraq and a crisis occurs, i.e., American forces are forced to withdraw because of casualties, then American President may face impeachment for taking the country into a war based on weak evidence that Iraq was a serious threat to the US, while costing hundreds of billions of dollars and unrecoverable damage in the form of loss of thousands of lives.

It is indeed an exciting time in the US and for many who have been following the poll numbers carefully, there is a wide belief that things are not predictable from now onwards. Simply said, it is a critical time for all Americans, and if there is some person who should be worrying the most about the situation, then it should be Bush himself.

I am not certain whether the future could result in an impeachment of Bush or not. But as Americans are becoming more skeptical of the war and less eager to support it, I am certain that 'Dubya' will have a lot of explaining to do to.