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Questioning the Integrity of the Anti-War Movement
| January 17, 2003
| Kevin Willmann
Posted on 01/18/2003 10:10:14 AM PST by stratman1969
In an interview last November published by the Egyptian weekly Al Usbou, Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein told writer Sayyid Nassar, ''No doubt, time is working for us. We have to buy some more time, and the American-British coalition will disintegrate because of internal reasons and because of the pressure of public opinion in the American and British street.''
This Saturday in San Francisco and Washington D.C., Saddam will ''get by with a little help from his friends'' in the anti-war movement. The sights and smells will resemble a crowd at a Grateful Dead concert. However, instead of music, protesters will hear anti-American rhetoric and hysterical claims of eroding civil liberties. Also, a group of women plan to leave the comfort of their Marin County hot tubs to march nude. They have received media attention for using their nude bodies to spell out anti-war slogans on the green hills where American traitor Johnny Walker grew up.
Judging from previous protests, the demonstrators will be given favorable press. The San Francisco Chronicle, Marin Independent Journal, and D.C. area papers will not mention the patriotic men and women who will counter these anti-war protesters. Because of the liberal media's Watergate mentality that all Republicans are bad, they never question the claims and leadership of the anti-war movement.
It will be reported that a group called A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and Eradicate Racism) organized both rallies. Missing is the fact that A.N.S.W.E.R. is part of the International Action Center (IAC), a front group for the Stalinist inspired Workers World Party. Their leader is Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General under President Lyndon Johnson. Clark is also on retainer as legal counsel for the State of Iraq. The left-leaning Salon.com called him ''The War Criminal's Best Friend'' in a June 1999 article. Other IAC/WWP causes are support for Mumia Abu Jamal, convicted for the 1981 murder of Daniel Faulkner, a Philadelphia police officer. Jamal has become a Nome de Celebes for liberal Hollywood elitists like Ed Asner. The WWP also supported the 1989 massacre of protesters in Tiananmen Square, calling the victims ''counter-revolutionaries.''
Most of the public does not know of the violent anti-American, anti-Israeli rhetoric at these events, conflicting with the ''peace and love'' image these protesters are given in the media. In a Washington D.C. rally last April a speaker yelled, ''Globalize the Infatada'' to attendees. Last October, one sign read ''I Love Iraq, Bomb Texas.'' Vietnam veterans who will participate in Saturday's Washington, D.C. counter-rally with FreeRepublic.com say they have received violent threats from the anti-war crowd.
While editorial writers question President Bush and the necessity of a war with Iraq, they will not question the claims of these leftists that this is a ''war for oil'' and our civil liberties are being taken away. The facts are that only a small percentage of oil actually comes from Iraq. If the war was really ''about oil,'' why didn't we take over the oil fields after the last Gulf War in 1991? Why did the price of oil go down at that time? On the civil liberties question, these leftists cannot claim one civil liberty which has been lost due to the US Patriot Act.
In hypocritical fashion, these people are silent when liberal judges attack the Second Amendment and when Congress limits political free speech under the guise of Campaign Finance Reform. In Berkeley, Calif., home of the Free Speech Movement, speakers like former 60's radical David Horowitz and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are shouted down or prevented from speaking due to riots. Copies of the U.C. Berkeley student newspapers have been confiscated and destroyed by leftist brownshirts when objectionable advertisements or stories appear. Where is the outrage from those who are so concerned about civil liberties?
If the prospect of a war with Iraq is to be questioned, so should the motives and rhetoric of the anti-war movement. In presenting only one side of the argument, the media is playing a dangerous game. Protests and naked women making human anti-war statements do not deter Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, or any other threat to our national security. It only empowers them. Past, as well as recent history prove this point clearly.
After all, Iraq, North Korea and the former Taliban regime are not known for their abundance of civil liberties, only their lack of them.
TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; US: California; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: antiwar; dcchapter; iraq; traitors
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posted on 01/18/2003 10:12:15 AM PST
by Support Free Republic
(Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
To: American Preservative; SeenTheLight; FreeTheHostages; nastypumps; martin_fierro; ...
posted on 01/18/2003 10:12:56 AM PST
(Anti-Americanism is NOT dissent)
These are not peace rallies. These are HATE rallies.
posted on 01/18/2003 10:13:16 AM PST
Damn good article. This should be put on the front pages of every rag (SF Chron., NYTimes, WashCom-Post etc.) that covers the rallies this weekend as a reminder of...........................
........................JUST WHO THESE PEOPLE REALLY ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted on 01/18/2003 10:19:21 AM PST
Questioning the Integrity of the Anti-War Movement
It's hard to question something that has never been present.
posted on 01/18/2003 10:34:15 AM PST
I'm guessing that last year's protest against Starbucks on fair-trade coffee will have turned out to be larger.
To: stratman1969; Dutchy; StarFan; firebrand; Doctor Raoul; kristinn; Angelwood
posted on 01/18/2003 3:29:42 PM PST
"Clark is also on retainer as legal counsel for the State of Iraq."
Doesn't that make him a traitor when we go to war with Iraq? What's to keep us from legitimately throwing his @@s in Gitmo right now?
You are right. What protests? Some thousands of loonies and leftists plus some more genuinely pacifist, left leaning religious types along with the usual rubberneckers. But today was a lot of hype about nothing.
posted on 01/18/2003 4:40:37 PM PST
Thought this was vaugely related ...
Protest: American as apple pie
Since 1815, wars have drawn demonstrators
By DANA TOFIG
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
As long as America has had wars, it has had people protesting war.
That tradition will continue this weekend. Tens of thousands of people will march on the Mall in Washington urging President Bush not to invade Iraq. Similar marches will be held in other cities. And on Monday in Atlanta, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march will focus on peace.
In some ways, the anti-war marches this weekend will be departures from the past. The crowds will have been gathered through the use of the Internet and e-mail. And unlike after-the-fact protests of the past, it will happen before a bomb has been dropped.
"You get all this upsurge in activity before there's any war or it's clear that there will ever be a war," said Lawrence Wittner, a history professor at the State University of New York at Albany who has studied the anti-war movement. "I think that's, in some ways, impressive."
In other ways, these protests share much with the past. Voices for peace have always been with us.
"Some of them are critical of all wars. Some of them are critical of specific wars," Wittner said. "There have always been people who have been critical of warfare."
The movement begins
In the 19th century, America fought repeatedly -- the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Indian Wars and the Spanish-American War. In response, a peace movement formed and grew.
Much of this early anti-war sentiment had roots in Christianity. In 1815, a devout Christian named David Low Dodge founded the first known formally organized U.S. peace group: the New York Peace Society. In 1828 the American Peace Society was formed, and America's anti-war movement was launched.
" 'Movement' is a big word for them. These were tiny little groups," said Charles Chatfield, author of "The American Peace Movement: Ideals and Activism." However, he said, these were among the first voices raised for peaceful international relations and world justice.
The Civil War saw riots by men who were subject to the draft, mostly Irish immigrants who felt they were being targeted for conscription. The most famous of these disturbances, in 1863 in New York, is depicted in Martin Scorsese's new movie, "Gangs of New York."
The peace movement surged again during the Spanish-American War, which protesters saw as an attempt to build an American empire. In this period, many voices for peace came from the upper class. But during World War I, the loudest voices of protest came from the working class.
The People's Council had its base in trade unions and the Socialist Party. It launched its anti-war campaign in May 1917, when 20,000 rallied at Madison Square Garden in New York.
As dissent grew, the government clamped down. Marches and gatherings were broken up by National Guardsmen, and protesters were tossed in jail for "treason" or "sedition." Notable among them was Socialist politician Eugene V. Debs, a member of the People's Council. In 1918, Debs spoke out near a prison in Canton, Ohio, where some socialist leaders were jailed. He proclaimed:
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose -- especially their lives."
Debs was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and served time in the Atlanta Federal Prison. From his cell, he ran for president and received nearly 1 million votes.
"For many," Wittner said, "it showed just how fanatically the government would work to crush anti-war sentiment."
WWII and the Cold War
After World War I, "the war to end all wars," many Americans bristled at the idea of another deadly campaign. Isolationists such as aviator Charles Lindbergh urged the nation to stay out of other people's battles.
But after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, drawing the United States into World War II, Americans were solidly behind the war. Some men registered as conscientious objectors, but the anti-war movement was quiet during the war on fascism.
When the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, a new concern arose: nuclear war. The newly formed Progressive Party, led by former Vice President Henry Wallace, called for negotiating with the Soviet Union and strengthening the United Nations. Well-known people aligned themselves with the left-leaning party, including W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson.
Eventually, however, widespread fear of the Soviet Union led most Americans to support the government's Cold War programs.
Yet some long-lasting anti-war groups formed in the 1950s. For instance, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, or SANE, is heavily involved in today's anti-war movement under the name Peace Action.
Vietnam, Persian Gulf
The United States had been building troop strength in Vietnam since the late 1950s, but the mass anti-war movement didn't ignite until 1965, when President Lyndon Johnson announced the bombing of North Vietnam.
In April 1965, Students for a Democratic Society held its first march on Washington; the event attracted 20,000 people. For the next six years there were protests nearly every spring and fall, and men began turning in -- or burning -- their draft card.
As the movement grew, it grew fractious. Some peace demonstrations turned violent and -- thanks to the media-- the movement became linked with hippies, drugs and fringe movements, said Mel Small, a professor of history at Wayne State University in Detroit and author of "Antiwarriors: The Vietnam War and the Struggle for America's Hearts and Minds."
But the anti-war movement gained steam when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the war during a sermon at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church.
"I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government," King said on April 30, 1967.
The Vietnam era is known for its photogenic mass protests, including a march on the Pentagon in October 1967. But one of the most powerful demonstrations was much quieter and more dispersed.
On Oct. 15, 1969, as many as 2 million people took part in the "moratorium." In 200 cities nationwide, people put aside their work and took to the streets, peacefully urging President Richard Nixon to get out of Vietnam as soon as possible. Many of the protesters wore neckties, flouting the notion that the movement was solely made up of denizens of the counterculture.
"NBC ran 10 solid minutes [of the moratorium] without narration -- from Boston to San Francisco," said Small. "It was a tremendous demonstration."
More large-scale protests erupted after the 1970 bombing of Cambodia and the killing of four student protesters at Kent State University.
After Vietnam, concerns about nuclear war brought back SANE and led to the formation of "no-nukes" groups across the country.
"This movement was definitely the largest anti-military . . . movement in American history," said Wittner, who is writing a book on the nuclear protests. Hundreds of thousands of people turned out at no-nukes rallies across America and around the world.
In 1991, there were some protests prior to the Persian Gulf War. But once the war started, patriotism reigned. Wittner said there is frequently a surge of patriotism when a war starts, but the longer a conflict lasts, the more dissent grows.
The first war with Iraq was over so quickly and bloodlessly for the United States that the anti-war movement never got any traction. But that may not be the case with a second war in Iraq, if it takes longer than the first one.
"Opposition will continue to grow until war is declared," Wittner said. "It may fall off. But after that, as the consequences come home, I think opposition will grow once more."
-- Contributing: Nisa Asokan
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