Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Iraq War Referendums: Coming Soon to a Community Near You

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has an article today about the 31 communities around Wisconsin that are holding referendums this spring on the Iraq War. The questions vary in each community, but all deal with bringing the troops home.

Some conservatives have lashed out at these referendums, claiming they're unpatriotic. This is absolutely ridiculous.

First, since when is wanting our troops to come home quickly and safely unpatriotic?

Second, if you're going to call American citizens unpatriotic for voicing an opinion about bringing our troops home safely and soon, then what do you say to the 72% of American troops currently stationed in Iraq who, according to a Le Moyne College/Zogby International poll from February 2006, think the US should exit Iraq within the year?

Another objection to the referendums is that they have no place on a local government ballot. This is an objection worth considering. After all, what is the purpose if local governments hold no jurisdiction over our nation's war policy?

A sound answer to that is to get the public's voice heard. Since that's obviously not happening at the national level, it's reasonable to mobilize at the grassroots level and petition local government (which doesn't have the luxury of being able to ignore constituents like the federal government does).

In this sense, the referendums act very much like an opinion poll--except the referendums clearly carry more weight because of the government sanctioning of them.

I'll post a map soon showing the disbursement of the referendums around the state.


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