Aug. 24, 2005 — -- The dimensions of the anti-war movement are difficult to measure with any precision, but one thing is clear -- over the course of the last month, people opposed to the war have been more successful in projecting their message.
Shortly before the start of the Iraq war, when Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the country band Dixie Chicks criticized President Bush during a performance in London, she was publicly pilloried.
Today, 2 ½ years later, the most-requested video on MTV is an anti-war mini-movie depicting the anguish of troops and their loved ones.
The song called "Wake Me Up When September Ends" is by the band Green Day, whose scathingly anti-war album has twice topped the pop charts.
"People are starting to see that it's not what they were led to believe," said Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. "So I think now in the popular culture, people are starting to get the guts to come out and declare that they oppose this war."
Even the Rolling Stones, a rock band not known for social commentary, are criticizing the Bush administration in a soon-to-be-released song called "My Sweet Neocon."
Without mentioning the president by name, Mick Jagger sings, "You call yourself a Christian, I say you're a hypocrite."
There's no question public sentiment toward the war has soured. For months, polls have shown that a majority of Americans believe the war is a mistake that has not made the country safer. But that does not mean most Americans are opposed to the war.
Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan receives a lot of media attention for continuing to protest outside Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch after losing her 24-year-old son in the war. But only 13 percent of Americans, according to the latest ABC News poll, want an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.
It's unclear at this point whom Sheehan has galvanized more -- those who are against the war or those who support it.
"She's fueling a fire in the belly of those terrorists that are over there fighting against our soldiers," said Buddy McComb, a member of the group "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy!" which was formed in response to Sheehan's protest.
One of Sheehan's supporters today vowed the group will crisscross the country, building a movement.
But former Sen. Gary Hart -- who was at the center of the anti-Vietnam War protests -- says the only way for a bona fide movement to come about would be for a prominent politician to publicly and repeatedly say the president misled the country, and then to present a plan for the speedy withdrawal of American forces.
While pop songs may reflect the public mood, they may have little concrete effect without high-profile political leadership.
ABC News' Dan Harris filed this report for "World News Tonight."