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Why I Left the Anti-War Right
FrontPageMagazine ^ | 2/09/04 | Anthony Gancarski

Posted on 02/09/2004 2:37:49 AM PST by kattracks

Edited on 02/09/2004 2:54:25 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]

If someone had told me a few months ago that I’d be writing a piece for Front Page on this theme, I would’ve dismissed him as a lunatic. After all, then I was supporting the positions expected from those on the so-called antiwar right. I was harshly critical of Israeli defense initiatives, more willing to talk up for Noam Chomsky than the sitting President, and insistent upon baiting “neo-conservative” Michael Ledeen of National Review into admitting that he sought to see the regime in Tehran overthrown by any means necessary, including US Military involvement.

I was as self-righteous in these positions as I was strident -- and why wouldn’t I be? Principled opposition to aggressive, preemptive wars, to me, seemed a position of deepest honor and true conservative principle. I saw valor in it -- the same sort I attributed to Patrick Buchanan when he opposed Desert Storm from what I saw at the time as a conservative perspective. That position seemed eminently principled and legitimate, leading me to work for the Buchanan 1992 Primary campaign when I was nineteen years old.

Despite this political involvement, I saw myself as a “creative writer”, and did what creative writers do. But on September 11, 2001 that changed. That day’s events struck me as signaling the end of the American Century. My reaction was: the “chickens coming home to roost,” and the ubiquitous flag imagery didn’t stoke the patriotic fire in my heart. The heavy symbolism of the media culture seemed to me like a usurpation of love of country, independent thought, and other things I couldn’t name. I looked around for people who saw things as I did.

It was then that I delved into the work of Chomsky, the folks at CounterPunch, Robert Fisk and scores of others who I saw as having dared to stand against America’s reckless embrace of global “hegemony.” So, more or less without meaning to, I went hard-left. This happened even though I take a dim view of socialism, even though I think wealth redistribution is a shell game and that legalized abortion is a front for mainstreaming eugenics, and despite finding utterly moronic the question “Why couldn’t we listen to what our friends in the world are telling us what to do?”

I bought into the antiwar position of the neo-Communist left readily enough to write for CounterPunch. After a ridiculous email from Alexander Cockburn – a man whom George Will said should be put into the Smithsonian as “the last Stalinist” -- which claimed the US budget deficit presented no obstacle to socialist wealth redistribution schemes, I moved over to Antiwar.com to write a weekly column for them at $25 per pop. The lesson there: ideologues work cheap. That was a raise from my CounterPunch pay.

When writing for either site, I couldn’t help but notice that a lot of the emails I got regarding my work fell into one of two categories: gushing, disjointed missives from one person or another pushing “anybody but Bush”, and even more disjointed letters from opponents of Israel. Well, not just opponents of Israel -- but also of Jews themselves, and their “imperialist lackeys,” et cetera. An emailer from Germany forced me to block him from my inbox when he asked me to help him “combat the Zionist devil empire.” Along those lines, emails from Iran, Thailand, and Australia warned about the Jewish menace -- the same tired conspiracy theories and rationales that surface when people are trying to legitimize their anti-Semitism.

My work was getting linked to by people I wouldn’t let into my living room. Raving pan-Arabists and Indymedia hacks from four separate continents used my work to support their positions. US interview requests were scarce, but I was sought after by Muslim radio station hosts in South Africa for my wisdom. Always, it seemed, the world’s problems were traced to the “war criminal” Ariel Sharon, while solutions turned out to be generalized support for the “Palestinian cause”.

Rinse, repeat, ad nauseum; I began to have serious doubts about my work that I couldn’t even verbalize. I started to wonder -- is my opposition to the US action in the Middle East, however noble and well-intentioned it seemed to me, actually playing into the hands of America’s enemies, strategic adversaries, and economic competitors?

Such realizations gave me pause. But then I’d read another article about the Straussian noble lie, or another seeming fabrication of the “cabal” in Washington who drove us to war just for kicks, and my resolve came back. I played into the can-you-top-this? mentality common among polemicists of the political extremes in the US. But the self-satisfaction among those who opposed the war in Iraq (whether from the right or left) and trumpeted every piece of bad news about the Administration or US soldier movements -- as if missteps validated their position! – began to strike me as misguided at best, and treasonous at worse. As those thoughts entered my mind while I filed my columns, my mailbox brimmed with dispatches trumpeting the efforts of the MoveOn.Org posse as the only rational redress for the Administration’s historically unprecedented iniquities.

Against the backdrop of charmless mash notes from those who found John Ashcroft a greater menace than Saddam Hussein, I reread histories of the 20th century and noticed how massive the body counts were in the wars for freedom in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, and the European theatre. Compared to these, the Bush Administration’s crusade to topple Saddam Hussein was a tea party. At the same time, the President’s post 9/11/01 assertion that there was no middle ground -- “you’re either with us or with the terrorists” -- took root in my heart against my will. For the first time since the atrocities of “September 11,” I was no longer able to deny what I already knew.

Whatever could be said about what some on the political extremes call the “PNAC Axis,” – named after Bill Kristol’s Project for the New American Century -- at least they understand the game America had to play for the foreseeable future. Attempting to create democracy in the Middle East can’t be airily dismissed as an imperialist policy objective -- not when the security of the United States in an age of terror depends as much as it does on what goes on internally in Islamic countries, or on maintaining stable, reliable allies in the Persian Gulf, central Asia, and other volatile regions. Realizing that led me to an inconvenient conclusion: I had “outgrown” the position that had gotten me started writing about politics seriously in the first place.

I began to see certain initiatives of the antiwar right -- like the seemingly monthly coronations of Howard Dean as a viable, Presidential figure in such outlets as The American Conservative -- as beyond suspicious. Never mind that I had written articles that argued that Howard Dean wasn’t “antiwar” in any meaningful sense, and that the paleos’ embrace of New Left “liberal” was curious at best. What possible affinity did Mr. Culture Warrior Pat Buchanan have with Dean beyond a shared animus against their own government?

I couldn’t imagine Pat Buchanan throwing his support to the man who made it a feature of his stump speech pandering to the LGBT community to say “I refuse to be divided by sexual orientation.” Yet there Dean was, propped up by Buchanan’s magazine as the Democratic Goldwater. Of course, Buchanan ran on the same ticket in 2000 with the Marxist-racist loon, Lenora Fulani -- equal parts Sister Souljah and Lyndon LaRouche -- so I really shouldn’t have been surprised by the Dean gambit.

For the most part, however, I avoided public criticisms of the paleo-conservative courtship of Howard Dean. Though a freelance writer, I like to be a team player. But such constraints only went so far, and didn’t stop my shock at a bomb that Antiwar.com Editorial Director Justin Raimondo threw in late November in his “Behind the Headlines” column. “Go #### Yourself, Mr. President,” he wrote on November 26, 2003.

This set off a number of alarms. Who was Justin Raimondo? Why was he so lacking in respect for a sitting President? Did Raimondo even think how such a column might strike his own readers? I am still at a loss to understand it. When the column appeared, it was hard for me to read much it without revulsion. Raimondo justified his attack by saying he was “sick of George W. Bush: sick of his petulant preppie voice, sick of his studied belligerence, and, most of all, damned sick of his threats. If we don't toe the line and support his crazed foreign policy of ‘preemptive self-defense,’ he constantly claims, we will reap the whirlwind.”

Well, since you put it like that, Justin, one might ask why failure to support “preemptive self-defense” is a position without attendant risk? But Raimondo understands all too well that he’s preaching to his own “Amen Corner.” Raimondo doesn’t hesitate to compare preemption to “totalitarian rule,” to claim that every rationale for US involvement overseas is rooted in deception. At the same time, he chides the Administration for not going after Osama bin Laden! Unless Raimondo has taken a secret fact-finding trip to Afghanistan on his own, how would he know what the government is or is not doing to capture Osama? By reading Robert Fisk?

Continued....



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antiamericanism; anticapitalists; antiwar; antiwardotcom; antiwarright; buchanan; chomsky; editorial; howarddean; justinraimondo; noamchomsky; openedhiseyes; sawthelight; september12th; terrorists; usefulidiot; usefulidiots; waronterror; wot
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1 posted on 02/09/2004 2:37:50 AM PST by kattracks
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To: kattracks
I started to wonder -- is my opposition to the US action in the Middle East, however noble and well-intentioned it seemed to me, actually playing into the hands of America’s enemies, strategic adversaries, and economic competitors?

This cuts to the heart of the matter of what a "useful idiot" is. One who provides aid and comfort to your enemies even if it is under a misguided notion of being right. "Red dupe" is another term although it is seldom used these days.

2 posted on 02/09/2004 2:47:01 AM PST by weegee
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To: weegee
This author sounds completely confused and dangerously malleable. He seems to have changed his political views completely at least three times in three years. And anyone who thinks Noam Chomsky has anything at all of value to say is just being silly.
3 posted on 02/09/2004 2:56:55 AM PST by jocon307 (The dems don't get it, the American people do.)
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To: kattracks
This is why I love conservatives. They are so down to earth and plain spoken. The guy who wrote this article lost me after the 1st paragraph. What the heck is he trying to say in simple terms?
4 posted on 02/09/2004 3:07:32 AM PST by beckysueb (Lady Liberty is in danger! Bush/Cheney 04.)
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To: beckysueb; All
What the heck is he trying to say in simple terms?

To boil it down, he hooked up with the Anti-War "Right" and found that they were perfectly willing to support the worst scum and villany the hard left had to offer - Moore, Dean, Clark, Cockburn, etc.

So he finally put two and two together and realized the Anti-War "Right" isn't right (as in rightwing) or remotely right (as in correct).
5 posted on 02/09/2004 3:13:22 AM PST by swilhelm73
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To: beckysueb
"I have too much time on my hands."
6 posted on 02/09/2004 3:20:18 AM PST by gobucks (http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/classics/students/Ribeiro/laocoon)
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To: kattracks; Valin; tubavil; Stopislamnow; SJackson; BayouCoyote; nuffsenuff; Helms; Taiwan Bocks; ...
bttttttttttttttt
7 posted on 02/09/2004 3:22:13 AM PST by dennisw
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To: kattracks
Yeesh. This guy has all the intellectual steadiness of a pinball. Welcome to our side...I guess.
8 posted on 02/09/2004 3:26:29 AM PST by prion
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To: kattracks
This moronic, over-wrought, over-wordy rant makes listening to Aunt Margaret's hour long discourse over why she left her first husband thirty years ago seem positively riveting. No wonder he gets $25 per article. With this guy's inability to be concise, he's working for about .0000000025 per word.
9 posted on 02/09/2004 3:49:05 AM PST by Hardastarboard
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To: kattracks
He's wrong, he hasn't got his credibility back. He never had any, and he still doesn't. I am glad he has seen the error of his previous ways, and he is able to write english sentences. But he can't seem to think his way out of a paper bag. It is not a very exacting qualification to have not been an idiot about this stuff for the past two years, and he doesn't clear even that bar.
10 posted on 02/09/2004 3:49:48 AM PST by JasonC
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To: beckysueb
That the paleo-right are such sore losers they've thrown in with the commies because at least they bash Bush. He hadn't figured that out until quite recently, because they paid him. Oh and because he is not all that bright.
11 posted on 02/09/2004 3:52:11 AM PST by JasonC
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To: prion
and I would say I'm not holding my breath that he can find
"our side" without considerable help.
12 posted on 02/09/2004 3:52:32 AM PST by wita (truthspeaks@freerepublic.com)
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To: kattracks
I simply have to read this later. Chomsky, Raimondo, dare I say Buchanan? What a group of All-Stars.
13 posted on 02/09/2004 3:55:14 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: prion
Maybe FrontPage pays more than $25 per column?! :)

He just can't bring himself to say the obvious in a direct manner: Those who he found to be in opposition to the war were anti-Jew racists and left-wing nuts.
14 posted on 02/09/2004 3:57:09 AM PST by the_Watchman
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To: jocon307
And recently Noam Chomsky spoke to the United Nations Correspondence Association where he received a Medal... I believe, having to do with his book Hemogony & Survival.. Quest for Global Dominance. He is a first class commie/socialist. When he was asked how Bush could have won the election in 2000, Chomsky commented that the Presidents platform was all about Religion and Guns. I couldn't believe my ears. This was on C-SPAN and I'm sure will be repeated.

This country is full of leftists... that much I know. Time to send them to France and Germany in exchange for their capitalists.
15 posted on 02/09/2004 4:00:10 AM PST by Gracey (John Kerry - The Shar Pei Candidate)
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To: kattracks
For a guy who claims to be from the right, he sure spends a lot of time in the enemy camp.
16 posted on 02/09/2004 4:03:23 AM PST by Drango (Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.)
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To: kattracks
I'm underwhelmed by this totally & hopelessly confused little wad of silly putty. He ends the article by saying he has his credibility back. What a guffaw. Here's a little piece of career advice, Tony buddy--try your hand at penning mindless sit-com scripts; the political pool is too deep for you.
17 posted on 02/09/2004 4:07:58 AM PST by elli1
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To: kattracks
Jatsuzz!! That was a painful twisted tale of woe!
18 posted on 02/09/2004 4:08:22 AM PST by mylife
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To: Atlantic Friend; Michael81Dus; Gracey
This country is full of leftists... that much I know. Time to send them to France and Germany in exchange for their capitalists.

So A.F. and M.D. What are you waiting for?

:)

19 posted on 02/09/2004 4:08:36 AM PST by risk
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To: kattracks
An anti war right? HA. More like a seminar(neo con liberals) right.
I reckon.
20 posted on 02/09/2004 4:10:59 AM PST by wgeorge2001 (Pr. 8:36 36. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death)
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