I have gotten so many letters about our campaign to fight the smear campaign against Chuck Hagel that I can’t possibly respond to them individually, and so I’m taking to the Antiwar.com blog to answer and to give our readers and supporters an update.
It is now Day Two and a half of the petition drive, and as of this very moment we are up to 1,165 signatures. For the past twenty-four hours or so, I’ve been visiting the web sites of various news organizations, cutting and pasting my message in the comments section of each and every article on the Hagel controversy, and it goes something like this:
“Defeat the smear campaign: sign the White House petition in support of Chuck Hagel” – after which I post the link.
I’ve been surprised – and pleased – to notice, in my virtual travels, that someone has preceded me, and posted that very message or a similar one before I could get there. My strenuous – some might say over-strenuous – twittering on this subject may have been responsible for some of that, and I want to take this opportunity to urge you to help me out here.
It’s actually not as boring as it sounds: life in the comments section, as you may know, can be interesting. Just reading these numerous comments on the Hagel controversy has been very enlightening – and instructive. For example, if you go to neocon columnist Jennifer Rubin’s page on the Washington Post web site, and look at the comments appended to her anti-Hagel tirades, they are a virtual tsunami of disdain directed at the author. Commenter after commenter ridicules her transparent “arguments” that always seem to be based on the operative principle of “Is it good for Israel?” What’s good for America never seems to enter the occasion. That comments section has no doubt been a rich source of petition signatures.
The inside-the-Beltway types and their lobbyist friends have enforced a foreign policy orthodoxy that Hagel, in many ways, defies: that’s why they’re out to not only nix his nomination but to destroy him. The people, however, are with Hagel, and against the Lobby – and our job is to mobilize them, and educate them in the process.
Nearly all the responses I have seen to our campaign, coming from our supporters, have been … well, supportive. In the hours after we emailed our appeal, it was kind of thrilling to watch the numbers on the counter take a qualitative leap forward. So far, we have more than doubled the number I originally managed to garner on my own, and the signatures are still coming in.
The problem is, we need them to keep coming – and at a much faster rate. Which is why I’m here, now, hectoring you. Please help me out: I need people to troll the internet, looking for likely places to publicize this important campaign. If you have a web site, you might want to post it there: if you have a Twitter account, please tweet the link to your “followers.”
I don’t want to go on about this, but I have to say I did this on impulse. As the neocons let loose their mudslide of smears, amid growing speculation the President might cave, a jolt of pure anger catapulted me back into my office chair, after a long work day, and compelled me to go to the White House petition site. Quite aside from his views, the sight of a man of such obvious personal integrity being pilloried in a disgusting orgy of baseless slander was just too much for me to bear. I had to do something.
Well, I have to go back to what is now my job: trolling the internet and pasting my message with accompanying link: see you there.