In 2000 my son was 10 years old. As a founder of MoveOn.org, I was working
to change leadership in the House and Senate and looking forward to seeing
Al Gore elected president. It didn't occur to me at that time that the next
president might lead our country into a pre-emptive war which he would have
no concept of how to end.
Today my son is 18, and I realize that should our stressed military need to
turn to the draft, my son could be among those called. So as I now watch
the mother in the new MoveOn "Alex Ad" tell John McCain he can't have
her one year-old son, I'm reminded of just how naive I was eight years
ago. I really had no idea that I was working to keep my son out of war at
John McCain has taken pride in saying we are in Iraq for however long it
takes. He has had over a year to help Americans understand what his plan
is in Iraq, and still, all we know is that we should stay for as long
as it takes. This approach simply does not work in Iraq, a country where we
are not welcome and all too often our soldiers can't even tell who the enemy
This occupation of Iraq is something that history really should give
us some insights on. Sectarian conflicts go on for centuries. Those of us
that think we can fix Iraq by hanging tough are naive or in denial. The Mom
in the Alex Ad has more foresight than I did eight years ago by saying by
saying "No." to John McCain.
The Iraq occupation is a conflict John McCain has no realistic idea of
how to end. He is offering us more of the same. We can't afford more of the
same. I'm also a founder of, MomsRising.org. We are working to pass
policies that support families and ultimately our future. We are
motivated by our children. They cause us to take a long view.
Unfortunately so long as we are bogged down in Iraq, the chance of us
investing the way we need to in our future is small. We will continue
to be a country that neglects its children and families. Few people
realized that out of over 170 countries in the world, only 4 have no form of
paid leave for new mothers -- Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, Liberia and The
United States of America; our child mortality is 37th worldwide; we have
40,000 kindergarteners home alone after school and 14 million children
unsupervised; our health care system is a study in dysfunction; our schools
are underfunded and employers are deeply biased against mothers in hiring
It is time for us to responsibly exit Iraq. We are not making ourselves or
Iraq safe. Then we will be able to focus on the very vitally important
issues that must be addressed in our own back yard.
The image of one-year old Alex, with his mom saying "No," is about having
the right priorities. In addition to being an ongoing tragedy, Iraq is
distracting us from global warming, family issues, our economy, healthcare,
and other important issues at home. We need to get back on track.