Last week record numbers of Americans went to the polls to vote in what many people have called the most important election of our lifetime. This level of participation is encouraging and must be sustained and widened to bring more of the public into the discussion of national security and foreign policy.

While pundits continue to holler about how "everything has changed" in the wake of the election, the truth of the matter is that nothing has changed-and that's precisely the reason I'm concerned today. We're still at war in Iraq-in fact, at an even higher level of intensity as of this weekend's assault on Fallujah. We're still at war in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden is still out there. And, right or wrong, vast numbers of Muslims still think that the U.S. is at war with Islam.

That's the playing field that still faces our nation and its leaders. There are also still many unknowns. What will happen in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the broader "war on terror"? What will transpire in Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, and the many other hot spots around the world? Will the military ultimately have to resort to a draft to fill its ranks and meet its global commitments? Will administration officials forge ahead with the Bush Doctrine on foreign policy, or will they revise it in light of the messy situation in Iraq?

We can't continue to leave all of these questions to our government. Just as "war is too important to be left to the generals," diplomacy is too important to be left to diplomats. Particularly in the Middle East and the Muslim world, our government is so entrenched in failed policies and vacuous rhetoric that it cannot resolve some of the world's most nagging and dangerous problems. Indeed, at this point, we're not even having an honest and open dialogue about the root causes and realistic solutions to these conflicts. We must deputize ourselves as citizen diplomats-get educated, speak out, and build a dialogue that engages people around the world. Ultimately, we have to create a colorful, loud, and determined parade of activists that our leaders are compelled to jump in front of and lead.

<>Through your involvement, you have helped get the parade rolling; now help us increase our momentum.

Please forward this email to friends and ask your friends to join us by clicking on this link:

Because of your efforts, together with our partners at Rock the Vote, we were able to make the military draft a major topic of discussion and debate during the final weeks of the campaign. We managed to get both presidential candidates to address the strain on the Army and Marines and the military's lack of capacity to meet its commitments. And, it is in no small part because of the specter of the draft that in last week's election young people-those most likely to be affected by military conscription-voted in record numbers, over 4.6 million more than in 2000.

As you know, that was just the beginning of the conversation. The real possibility of a draft has not gone away, nor have the myriad of other issues related to the war and the conduct of our foreign and security policy. As I've been out talking to many of you across the country on our Tour of Duty, I've heard again and again how concerned you are about the appalling mess that we're in, and I've also heard a deep desire to get involved and take action.

<>Join in gearing up for the challenging work that lies ahead, to become leaders in your communities, and to become the citizen diplomats that our country and the world need us to be. It will be a long, slow, and sometimes frustrating journey. But we've built successful citizens' movements before, and I am confident that we can do it again. Please stay tuned in the coming weeks as we begin to lay out our agenda for building this movement. For now, please forward this email to your friends, relatives, and neighbors and encourage them to visit and sign on for the ride as well: <>

We'll need all the help we can get to change our nation's foreign policies -- just as our troops overseas and returning veterans need all of our thoughts and prayers.

Alliance for Security

No comments: