Friday, April 11, 2003

Did the Peace Movement Blow It?There is now a lot of crowing from the War Camp about how uncaring and unpatriotic those of us who opposed the war are. There is also a lot of self examination going on about how we blew it. I still think it's too early to say the debate is lost, but here are some insights:

First, the Peace Camp, comprised mostly of the Left, was stuck in hard place. The War Camp had two convincing arguaments on their side that were hard to dismiss. First, the neocons kept talking about this as a war of liberation to bring democracy to Iraq after 25 years under Saddam's boot. The kept bringing up the massive human rights abuses. Who could be against bringing some modicum of freedom to a nation who is under a cruel regime? It was hard to deny this. Then the War Camp talked about weapons of mass destruction. In America post 9/11, we are fearful of regimes that might have it in for us. The War Camp used lies to present an Iraq that was willing to do whatever it takes to bring us down. Remember the fib about lead hijacker Mohammed Atta meeting an Iraqi agent in Prauge? It came down to telling a lie so many times that people start to believe it.

Second, the Peace Camp has never grasped the depths of 9/11. Many of them saw this horrid and evil event as just a bad day or the US finally getting its comeuppance. The left tended to think that the attacks were the cry of the oppressed and not a bunch of religious radicals who want to destroy us. The Left needs to realize that it's a changed environement and must respond accordingly. Once they understand that bin Laden and his ilk want to take a way many of the freedoms that we enjoy espcially many on the Left enjoy, they might see that it will require dealing with this threat in a more grown up way.

Third, the Peace Camp focused on the wrong root of the war. The Left thinks that every war has to deal with economics. It's time to get rid of the Marxist thought and see that this was more about ideology and power than about oil. This war was about reshaping the Middle East and not about seizing oil fields. The neocons are looking to reorient the region into serveral client states that are non threatening to Israel without asking them to deal with the Palestinians. Challenging that viewpoint required some skilled thinking. Of course saying we should not start wars to conduct foreign policy is not as catchy as "no blood for oil." What needs to be done is to educate the public about what is really going on. Does a nation that believes in freedom want to to set up defacto colonies? Do we want to have eternal war? Instead of protest there needs to be more teach-ins.

More later....


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