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Hating America: Preemptive protests

By Jackson Murphy
web posted January 20, 2003

Nary has a bomb been dropped in Iraq and the rag tag group of anti-war protestors is at it again. Protests around the globe this past weekend tried to articulate the anti-war movement. From Paris to Washington and Corner Brook to Tokyo thousands of people marched in an attempt to stop a possible war in Iraq. But the numbers of protestors was anything but impressive. Even in France, who get bigger crowds when a cheese farmer destroys a McDonald's the numbers were startlingly weak.

Washington D.C.Those who did turn up marched with signs with tiresome slogans such as "Bomb Texas, They have Oil too," "Drop Bush, not the bomb," "The difference between Bush and Saddam is that Saddam was elected," and "USA is international terrorist No. 1." They chanted. They listened to "experts" like actress Jessica Lange. They rallied to the key words of the anti-war movement, and the recycled themes of anti-globalization: no blood for oil, SUV's are evil, capitalism, greed, children, war will cost a trillion dollars, and Kyoto. The strained party line of the anti-war crowd is so diluted with causes and pet theories that it is incoherent and distasteful. Not to mention increasingly ignorant to the realities of a dangerous world.

The question to ask is why do peace activists and their ilk care to defend, or at least ignore the regime of Saddam Hussein. As Christopher Hitchens explains in The Stranger.com: "There are at least three well-established reasons to favor what is euphemistically termed ‘regime change' in Iraq. The first is the flouting by Saddam Hussein of every known law on genocide and human rights."

Wait a second, aren't these the rules that the tree hugging peace wing nuts are supposed to hold dear? This is Bush's war the crowd decries. "The second," Hitchens continues, "is the persistent effort by Saddam's dictatorship to acquire the weapons of genocide: an effort which was condemned by the United Nations before George W. Bush was even governor of Texas."

Fine the crowd says. But there is no evidence that Iraq is involved in terror. "The third is the continuous involvement by the Iraqi secret police in the international underworld of terror and destabilization." All those cash rewards Uncle Saddam has sent to Arafat's army of homicide bombers is linkage enough. But many, who oppose war, are willing to stand up with others whose anti-war sentiments are motivated not by genuine pacifism, but by an angry anti-Americanism that is willing to give the worlds most dangerous regimes intellectual cover.

Some others believe as prolific Blogger Oliver Willis (www.OliverWillis.com) does, that there is a "curious pretzel logic of the Pro-War right." As if there is any logic in the anti-war left. Mr. Willis is a good an indicator as any for the anti-war crowd, because he does think a war on terror should be fought. But Willis defends the logically inconsistent protestor movement suggesting that because of, "the rantings of several rightist commentators, the assembled voices of thousands of people is all for naught because of the wacky ideology of some who are involved. For all intents and purposes its guilt by association substituting for a real argument."

By calling the tacit support of people and organizations that live in a fantasy protestor world where context and morality are obscenely overlooked merely a bait and switch argument Willis does himself a disservice.

It reminds me of the rationalizing explanations Ed Norton's character, in the film Fight Club, gives as the formula for issuing a recall for cars that have defects. Take the number of protestors in the rally, A, multiply by the probable rate of the absolute nuttiness and extreme ideas of a few protestors, B, multiply by the sound bytes depicting protestors as apologists to dictators, C. A times B times C = X. If X is less than the damaging political costs of being seen as a cover to terrorists and evil dictators, then feel free to hang out with the protestors.

If you are comfortable throwing your lot in with people like the organizers of Washington's protest, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), then this equation is something you've accepted. ANSWER of course is a typical anti-American organization, whose support of regimes like Iraq and North Korea make their involvement with the heavily socialist Workers World Party seem relatively quaint.

Willis counters with talking points like this: "If the Ku Klux Klan supports lowered taxes, does George Bush's support of lowered taxes make him and the Klan one and the same?" Of course not, but if they showed up at the same rally and Bush didn't slam the white sheeted clowns for their evil, then he would be political dead meat. Those who attend rallies and allow apology and cover for dictators, terrorists, and tyranny do themselves a huge disservice.

The most interesting thing is that this cottage industry of anti-war protest has been carried out against a war that has not yet even started. This was a preemptive and unilateral protest engineered by a group of American haters with the end game giving undue credibility to today's worst regimes.

Jackson Murphy is a commentator from Vancouver, Canada. He is the editor of "Dispatches" a website that serves up political commentary 24-7. You can contact him at jacksonmurphy@telus.net.

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