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Mark Steyn: The curtain will come down on the peaceniks
National Post (Canada) ^ | 02/18/03 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 02/18/2003 6:56:55 AM PST by Pokey78

The "peace" marches? Oh, I've nothing to say. Can't improve on Tony Blair, looking out of his window and observing:

"If there are 500,000 on that march, that is still less than the number of people whose deaths Saddam has been responsible for.

"If there are one million, that is still less than the number of people who died in the wars he started."

In other words, if it's a numbers game, those are the ones that matter. I'm tempted to leave it there and go skiing, but let me come back to it in a roundabout sort of way. The other day I got a copy of Andrew Roberts' new book, Hitler And Churchill: Secrets Of Leadership, which sounds like some lame-o management techniques cash-in, but is, in fact, a very useful take on very familiar material. Most of us have read a gazillion books about the Second World War (when I say "most of us," I exclude the fellow in Hyde Park on Saturday holding a placard with the words "PEACE IN OUR TIME," and even then I kind of hope he was some waggish saboteur, since the notion that the peaceniks, though deluded, are that ignorant is a little mind-boggling). But, comparing Britain's and Germany's wartime leaders directly, you can't help feeling that victory and defeat were predetermined: As Philip Hensher neatly put it in his review of Roberts' essay, "Churchill knew very well what Hitler was like, but Hitler had no idea what sort of man Churchill was."

Just so. When you read Hitler's private assessments of the man who stood between him and world domination, they're just silly: Churchill was "that puppet of Jewry." OK, that's fine as a bit of red meat tossed to the crowd when you're foaming at Nuremberg, but as a serious evaluation of your opponent made in the quiet of your study it's simply ... inadequate. This failure to engage with reality is particularly telling when you look at how each leader dealt with setbacks: During the Blitz, Churchill would stand on the roof and watch the Luftwaffe bombing London; in the morning, he would walk through the ruins. Hitler, by contrast, never visited bombed-out areas and, just in case the driver should take a wrong turn, he drove the streets with his car windows curtained. His final days were spent in a bunker -- the perfect ending for a man whose worldview depended on keeping reality at bay no matter how relentlessly it closed in on him.

Hitler's problem was that he was over-invested in ideology. He'd invented a universal theory -- the wickedness of the international Jewish conspiracy -- and he persisted in fitting every square peg of cold hard reality into that theory's round hole. Thus, Churchill must be a "puppet of Jewry." As a general rule, when it's reality versus delusion, bet on reality. That held true in the Cold War. Moral equivalists like Harold Pinter insisted that America and the Soviet Union were both equally bad. But the traffic across the Berlin Wall was all one way. East German guards were not unduly overworked trying to keep people from getting in. The Eastern bloc collapsed because it was a lie, and the alternative wasn't.

Well, the Soviet Union's gone now so Pinter no longer has to observe the pox-on-both-their-houses niceties. Addressing the demonstrators on Saturday, he declared that the U.S. is "a country run by a bunch of criminals ... with Tony Blair as a hired Christian thug."

Got that? It's not Saddam who's the thug, it's Tony. It's not the Baathist killers from Tikrit who are the bunch of criminals, it's the Republican Party. It's not the million-man murderer of Baghdad who's the new Hitler, it's George W. Bush. It's not the Iraqi one-party state with its government-controlled media that "crushes dissent," it's the White House. It's not the Wahhabis who are the fundamentalists, it's Bush, Blair and the other Christians. It's not Osama bin Laden who's the terrorist, it's American foreign policy. Supporting the continued enslavement of the Iraqi people is "pacifist," but it's "racist" for America to disagree with the UN, even though it's Colin Powell and Condi Rice doing the disagreeing and the fellows they're disagreeing with are a bunch of white guys from Europe.

The new Universal Theory, to which 99% of Saturday's speakers and placards enthusiastically subscribed, is that, whatever the problem, American imperialist cowboy aggression is to blame. In fact, it's not so different from the old Universal Theory, in that the international Zionist conspiracy is assumed to be behind the scenes controlling the cowboys: Bush is a "puppet of Jewry," just like Churchill was -- notwithstanding the fact that America's Jews voted overwhelmingly for Gore. But, if you believe that the first non-imperialist great power in modern history is the source of all the world's woes, then logic is irrelevant. "It's all about oil"? Yes, for the French, whose stake in Iraqi oil is far more of a determining factor than America's ever has been or will be. "America created Saddam"? No, not really, the French and Germans and Russians have sold him far more stuff, and Paris built him that reactor which would have made him a nuclear power by now, if the Israelis hadn't destroyed it in the Eighties.

But, as Colin Powell and Jack Straw have surely learned by now, there's no real point doing the patient line-by-line rebuttal: Nobody's interested in French oil contracts or German arms sales or even Saddamite corpse tallies because it doesn't fit into the Universal Theory which insists that everything can be explained by the Evil of America. On the other hand, the indestructible belief that "over 4,000" civilians were killed by U.S. bombs in Afghanistan is impervious to scientific evidence because it accords perfectly with the Universal Theory.

How far are the "peace" crowd prepared to go? Well, they've stopped talking about their little pet cause of the Nineties, East Timor, ever since the guys who blew up that Bali nightclub and whoever's putting together those "Osama" audio tapes started listing support for East Timor's independence as one of the Islamist grievances against the West. But why be surprised? In fall 2001, being pro-gay and pro-feminist didn't stop the left defending an Afghan regime that disenfranchised women and executed homosexuals. Yet these are the same fellows who insist that a secular regime like Iraq's would never make common cause with Islamic fundamentalists, apparently requiring a higher degree of intellectual coherence of Saddam than of themselves.

You can believe all this if you want, just as Harold Pinter believed that the Iron Curtain was only there to prevent fleeing Westerners from swamping Warsaw Pact social services. But it depends on keeping reality at arm's length or beyond: You're metaphorically driving around with the curtains drawn. Perhaps that's why so many of the "peace" crowd get ever so touchy if you question their slogans. If you ask a guy with an "It's All About Oil" sign what he thinks of the recent contracts signed between Iraq and France's Total Fina Elf, he looks blank for a moment and then accuses you of wanting to crush dissent. It's not fair, you're trying to pull back his curtain.

I bet on reality. The defining difference between Hitler and Churchill is that, while the former presided over a court of sycophants, the latter thrived on argument and antagonism. (Lord Alanbrooke's diaries are especially recommended in this regard.) He had a not untypical background for an Englishman of his time and class -- an unexceptional public school education, a bit of colonial adventuring. It's what the multiculturalists would have us believe was a narrow and blinkered upbringing. Yet an English public-school debating-society approach to life served him in good stead: He was utterly at ease with disagreement, quite happy to have any assertion tested. In Saturday's demonstrations, the heirs to Churchill's Harrow schoolmasters were well represented -- lots of teachers and professors. Yet the difference between now and then is their reluctance to expose their assertions to debate -- these days few institutions are as aggressively protective of their fragile little pieties as the academy.

Well, so be it. If everybody thought like Saturday's marchers, it would be curtains for all of us. But we're not quite there yet, and reality will be breaking in very soon. Saying that Bush is the real "weapon of mass destruction" is awful cute the first nine or ten thousand times, but only if you live in Toronto or Paris or Madrid. Viewed by an Iraqi from the reality of Basra, it's pathetic.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: marksteynlist; steyn
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1 posted on 02/18/2003 6:56:55 AM PST by Pokey78
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

2 posted on 02/18/2003 6:58:38 AM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
btttttttttttttttttt
3 posted on 02/18/2003 7:02:13 AM PST by dennisw ( http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/weblog.php)
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To: Pokey78
Good article.

Tony

4 posted on 02/18/2003 7:02:16 AM PST by tonycavanagh
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To: tonycavanagh
Rush said yesterday that he saw all this as the final, last-gasp of heavy, leftist-socialism worldwide.

What do the rest of you think about this?

5 posted on 02/18/2003 7:08:16 AM PST by LS
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To: Pokey78
Saying that Bush is the real "weapon of mass destruction" is awful cute the first nine or ten thousand times, but only if you live in Toronto or Paris or Madrid. Viewed by an Iraqi from the reality of Basra, it's pathetic.

Steyn is brilliant. I'd like to be on your ping list please.

6 posted on 02/18/2003 7:08:37 AM PST by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: Pokey78
"All about oil"

Yes, that argument is heard here as well. I try to get through to people here by pointing out that if it were all about oil there is a very much safer and definitely a lot cheaper way to get access to all the oil you want for a long time - abandon Israel.

It would certainly not look nice to walk out on the only working democracy in the area but it sure as hell would give you access to all the oil you wanted.

Ergo: it is not all about oil.
7 posted on 02/18/2003 7:09:05 AM PST by Mentat
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To: Pokey78
Gotta bump that!

A little reality to start the day! Thanks!
8 posted on 02/18/2003 7:09:57 AM PST by DB ()
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To: Pokey78
Hey, this one is really excellent. Thanks!

I have this mental image of the peaceniks hammering away at square peg labeled "no war for oil" into a round hole.

Reality bites sometimes, doesn't it?
9 posted on 02/18/2003 7:10:57 AM PST by Mr. Mulliner (Only 310 shopping days until Christmas.)
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To: Pokey78
You can believe all this if you want, just as Harold Pinter believed that the Iron Curtain was only there to prevent fleeing Westerners from swamping Warsaw Pact social services.

From Haroldpinter.org:

Harold Pinter will be speaking at the Don't attack Iraq Lobby of Parliament INVITATION TO SPEAK on Tuesday 21st January 2003 from 7 - 9pm at The Grand Committee Room, Westminster Hall, House of Commons, London, SW1. Prominent people from all walks of life have been invited to speak to express the broad range of opposition to war that still exists amongst the British public.

Harold Pinter will be participating in a Cuba Solidarity Campaign event called the 'I love Cuba Cabaret' on Saturday 15th February 2003 at The Camden Centre, Kings Cross, London. Call 020 7263 6452 to book tickets

Plus ca change, plus c'est la même chose.
10 posted on 02/18/2003 7:11:33 AM PST by Dont Mention the War
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To: Pokey78
Thanks! :^)
11 posted on 02/18/2003 7:11:53 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: Pokey78
As usual, excellent.
12 posted on 02/18/2003 7:12:02 AM PST by Damocles (sword of..)
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To: Mentat
Or simply drop the 12 year boycott on Iraqi oil...

After all, if its all about oil who cares what Saddam does if he keeps it flowing...

Some people are so driven from hate they can't see past their nose...
13 posted on 02/18/2003 7:12:18 AM PST by DB ()
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To: Pokey78; xm177e2; mercy; Wait4Truth; hole_n_one; GretchenEE; Clinton's a rapist; buffyt; ...

Mark Steyn MEGA PING!!


14 posted on 02/18/2003 7:12:35 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: Petronski
OK.
15 posted on 02/18/2003 7:12:52 AM PST by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78
big PING
16 posted on 02/18/2003 7:13:42 AM PST by aardvark1
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To: JohnHuang2
Thanks for the heads up!
17 posted on 02/18/2003 7:13:43 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: LS
It is final, last-gasp only as lefty socialism. From now on, such protests will be blantantly pro-Islam.
18 posted on 02/18/2003 7:14:04 AM PST by Grand Old Partisan
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To: Pokey78
Great article. Thanks for posting. Mark's analogies are spot on!
19 posted on 02/18/2003 7:14:28 AM PST by upchuck (Sadamn: You are on the way to destruction...you have no chance to survive, make your time..ha ha ha)
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To: Pokey78
Please put me on your Mark Steyn ping list!
20 posted on 02/18/2003 7:15:05 AM PST by American in Israel (Right beats wrong)
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To: Alamo-Girl
*Smiles*
21 posted on 02/18/2003 7:15:29 AM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: American in Israel
Done.
22 posted on 02/18/2003 7:15:53 AM PST by Pokey78
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To: scholar; Bullish; linear
Ping
23 posted on 02/18/2003 7:16:01 AM PST by knighthawk
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To: Pokey78
Thanks Pokey.

East German guards were not unduly overworked trying to keep people from getting in.

The elephant in the livingroom.

24 posted on 02/18/2003 7:17:39 AM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Pokey78
I am not saying this would be funny, but perhaps ironic. Lets suppose the "human shields" survive after a relative quick atttack on Iraq by the U.S and its allies. But then are killed, as the people of Iraq turn on them for prolonging their agony and supporting sadam. Something for the shields to think about.
25 posted on 02/18/2003 7:18:15 AM PST by GROOVY
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To: Pokey78; Freee-dame
So many quotable lines! Hard to choose!

Let's hear it for reality!
26 posted on 02/18/2003 7:20:46 AM PST by maica
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To: Pokey78
"fragile little pieties" of the academy bump.

Killer, as usual. ;^)
27 posted on 02/18/2003 7:22:26 AM PST by headsonpikes
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To: Pokey78
But when I heard them chanting "Hell no, we won't go, we won't fight for Texaco!" the other day at the Minneapolis rally, I just thought that was so eloquent and persuasive I nearly joined them..... < /dripping sarcasm >

Steyn Rocks, as usual.... Thanks Pokey...

28 posted on 02/18/2003 7:24:42 AM PST by rightwingreligiousfanatic (Tagline contents may have settled during shipment)
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To: Pokey78
What's really behind anti-Americanism is the Euro notion that "America is controlled by the Jews."

Honestly, a German business associate said that to me in all seriousness last year, along with the "Bush is a cowboy" pablum.

A not-so-subtle combination of German, French, and Islamist anti-Semitism is what we're dealing with here.

29 posted on 02/18/2003 7:26:39 AM PST by angkor
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To: DB; Mentat
Excellent observations.

Mentat: Welcome aboard.

30 posted on 02/18/2003 7:28:00 AM PST by metesky (My retirement fund is holding steady @ $.05 a can.)
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To: LS
I certainly hope so. These heavy leftists are really becoming quite sickening.
31 posted on 02/18/2003 7:28:15 AM PST by judicial meanz ( socialism- its a mental disorder, not a political view.)
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To: JohnHuang2
A question: Why isn't Steyn syndicated in more U.S. papers?

(Not that I expect you to have any special knowledge of the workings of the U.S. newspaper business. anyone else is invited to weigh in with an opinion.)

Perhaps he just needs a better agent...

He's such a refreshing antidote to the Molly Ivinsish drivel that so dominates the op-eds.

Thank the stars for the Internet - without it I'd never discovered his work.
32 posted on 02/18/2003 7:28:56 AM PST by G L Tirebiter
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To: JohnHuang2
If everybody thought like Saturday's marchers, it would be curtains for all of us.

Thanks for the ping, friend. Mark is a jewel.

33 posted on 02/18/2003 7:29:01 AM PST by Wait4Truth (God Bless our President!)
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To: DB
Or simply drop the 12 year boycott on Iraqi oil...

If this war is all about getting oil, why don't we get on the phone and say, "Hey, Saddam, sell us oil."?

If this war is all about getting cheap (or expensive) oil, then why don't we get on the phone and say "Hey, Saddam, sell us some oil, cheap (or expensive)"?

Since we can reasonably assume that Saddam would sell us oil in any quantity and at any price that we asked of him, in return for letting him stay in power, how does the 'No blood for oil' arguement hold water? We could get all of it we want, without spending billions on war expenses and scaring stock market investors.

34 posted on 02/18/2003 7:30:55 AM PST by Steel Wolf
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To: Pokey78
Another grand slam from the incomparable Mark Steyn, "the gold standard in political commentary" (Thomas Sowell). We are truly fortunate to have him. He outweighs all the spokesmen of the Left put together.

Freedom, Wealth, and Peace,
Francis W. Porretto
Visit the Palace Of Reason:
http://palaceofreason.com

35 posted on 02/18/2003 7:32:49 AM PST by fporretto (Curmudgeon Emeritus, Palace of Reason)
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To: GROOVY
Bah..those human shields are going to be wetting there diapers and begging for their home countries to come and save them ten second after the first bomb drops. A bunch of idiots who think

a. we wont dare drop bambs if they are there...
b. they know what war is like.

Neither is the case and both illusions will be shattered to a very rude awakening for them.
36 posted on 02/18/2003 7:33:26 AM PST by Prysson
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To: Pokey78
How far are the "peace" crowd prepared to go? Well, they've stopped talking about their little pet cause of the Nineties, East Timor, ever since the guys who blew up that Bali nightclub and whoever's putting together those "Osama" audio tapes started listing support for East Timor's independence as one of the Islamist grievances against the West.

Bump

37 posted on 02/18/2003 7:33:55 AM PST by cyncooper (God Be With President Bush)
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To: cyncooper
And:

Yet these are the same fellows who insist that a secular regime like Iraq's would never make common cause with Islamic fundamentalists, apparently requiring a higher degree of intellectual coherence of Saddam than of themselves.

38 posted on 02/18/2003 7:35:17 AM PST by cyncooper (God Be With President Bush)
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To: Pokey78
Please put me on your Steyn ping list?
39 posted on 02/18/2003 7:35:47 AM PST by Conservababe
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To: Pokey78
Saddam thanks his supporters

Pro-Saddam supporters came out in force recently marching in denunciation of America and “Coalition of the Willing.” Observers of protest viewed a sea of anti-American signs and heard chants spoken against President Bush with insinuations that he not Saddam is the true Hitler.

In fervent herd mentality, his supporters swarmed cities through out the world in praise of keeping Saddam right where he is.

With the completion of the rallies, it must have been sweet music to their ears as they heard Saddam speak in praise of them, his “comrades in arms.” And to Hollywood, they must cherish Saddam’s gratefulness, where would he be without their strong voice?

What has Saddam done to garner such a following? What characteristic does he embody that many desire him to continue his work? I am sure his supporters wish they had the ability to bottle his genius, knowing then our world would be so much safer.

Demonstrations increasing, one is left to contemplate recent history, in search of the name of any ideological group that has both resources and zeal to organize such a worldwide outpouring of anti-American venom.




40 posted on 02/18/2003 7:38:01 AM PST by ShelleyAa
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To: Grand Old Partisan; LS
Rush said yesterday that he saw all this as the final, last-gasp of heavy, leftist-socialism worldwide

I wish it were, but I'm afraid we're seeing a convergence of the worldwide leftist-anarchist movements and Islamism. We weren't quite prepared for it, unfortunately; but now that we know it for what it is, we've got to be firm in rejecting it and making clear that we know exactly who these people are and what they want (hint: it ain't "peace").

41 posted on 02/18/2003 7:38:48 AM PST by livius
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To: Grand Old Partisan
You may be right in that this is the last gasp of left wing socialism.

The commies are dying of old age, and the socialists may dying of old age, aids, drug abuse and other hazards of being liberals.

The Greens are still here, and they are closely allied with their cash cows, the Opecker Islamofacists. Once Opec is destroyed, killed, eliminated and removed from power, then their financial support of the Greens and the Islamofacists will stop. It will still take two - three decades for the survivors to start dying off of old age.

I think that we will find that most of the mosques and the Nation of Islam in this country are dependent on money from their mother land, rich Opecker thug controlled nations. When that money dries up, they will start to weaken.
42 posted on 02/18/2003 7:39:57 AM PST by Grampa Dave (Stamp out Freepathons! Stop being a Freep Loader! Become a monthly donor!)
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To: Pokey78; Travis McGee; kattracks





43 posted on 02/18/2003 7:43:00 AM PST by Paul Ross (From the State Looking Forward to Global Warming! Let's Drown France!)
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To: Pokey78
A clear-headed analysis with historical perspective.

Steyn, as usual, is just dead on.

Thanks for the ping.
44 posted on 02/18/2003 7:45:42 AM PST by conservativemusician
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To: livius
I'm afraid we're seeing a convergence of the worldwide leftist-anarchist movements and Islamism

I think that's good. All of the enemies of Freedom are jumping into one lifeboat, seeking strength through convergence. Once their lifeboat sinks (and it's leaking like a sieve) then Freedom will face no serious opposition.

45 posted on 02/18/2003 7:49:45 AM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: Steel Wolf
Since we can reasonably assume that Saddam would sell us oil in any quantity and at any price that we asked of him, in return for letting him stay in power, how does the 'No blood for oil' arguement hold water? We could get all of it we want, without spending billions on war expenses and scaring stock market investors.

Well done! I like you're way of thinkin'...

46 posted on 02/18/2003 7:50:31 AM PST by RedWing9 (We will vie for Lord Stanley... again!)
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To: Pokey78; Amelia
Great article bump.

As one who is tearing my hair out after watching and actually encountering some peaceniks on Saturday, this is a wonderful uplifting read. Thanks for posting it, Pokey.

47 posted on 02/18/2003 7:51:32 AM PST by Southflanknorthpawsis
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To: angkor
An appropriate response would be no Jews do not control America, but they do contribute greatly to its prosperity. The real problem in the world appears to be that Germany is controlled by Germans
48 posted on 02/18/2003 7:52:11 AM PST by Pres Raygun
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To: Pokey78
The idea of the Universal Theory is very illustrative - I see it as a sort of leftwing, post-Marx amalgam of class theory and an overreliance on power relationships as descriptive of social structure. It's intellectual shorthand, easy to understand, pretty much predigested and when seasoned with a little good old-fashioned envy and hatred, very tasty to minds more attracted to certainty than truth.

The peace rallies of last Saturday are a good example of what the left has devolved into - internationally they were broadly anti-American, in the U.S. they were broadly anti-Bush. Iraq was almost irrelevant.

49 posted on 02/18/2003 7:53:05 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: JohnHuang2; Pokey78
Mark Steyn BTTT!

Thanks for the post and the ping. Steyn rocks!

50 posted on 02/18/2003 7:55:38 AM PST by dixiechick2000 (I heart "New" Europe!)
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