In September 2009, when Barack Obama announced he was debating the merits of increasing the United States' human commitment to an unpopular war, there were no riots. The police did not square off with masked protesters, fire tear gas into streets swarming with people, or herd malcontents into protest pens. The war's opponents were nowhere to be found.
But after the die was cast, when the president announced on Dec. 1, 2009, that he was committing 30,000 additional troops to the Afghanistan War, his critics hit the streets. The next day, hastily prepared protests took place across the country, and a large "Emergency Anti-Escalation Rally" was held at the Capitol. Another major rally, to be held in D.C. on March 20, 2010, was quickly announced.