View Full Version : Anti-War or Anti-U.S.?

03-05-2003, 01:10 PM
Iranian author and journalist Amir Taheri:

March 5, 2003 -- 'THE rebirth of the peace movement." This is how sections of the Western media describe the marches that attracted 30 million people in some 600 cities, in 25 countries, across the globe in recent weeks.

Last week, a group of "peaceniks" gathered in London to discuss ways of nursing the "reborn" child into adulthood. By coincidence, today marks the 50th anniversary of Josef Stalin's death.

The Soviet dictator was the father of the first "peace movement," which for years served as an instrument of the Kremlin's global policy.

Stalin's "peace movement" was launched in 1946 at a time when he had not yet developed a nuclear arsenal and was thus vulnerable to a U.S. nuclear attack. Stalin also needed time to consolidate his hold on his newly conquered empire in eastern and central Europe while snatching chunks of territory in Iran.

Pablo Picasso, a "fellow traveler" with the French Communist Party, designed the famous dove of peace as the emblem of the movement. French poet Paul Eluard, another fellow traveler, composed an ode inspired by Stalin. The "peaceniks" were told to wear white shirts, release white doves during their demonstrations and shake their clenched fists against "imperialists and revanchistes."

Soon it became clear that the "peace movement" was not opposed to all wars, but only to those that threatened the U.S.S.R., its allies and its satellites.

For example, the peaceniks did not object to Stalin's decision to keep the entire Chechen nation in exile in Siberia. The peaceniks did not march to ask Stalin to withdraw his forces from Iranian Azerbaijan and Kurdistan. When Stalin annexed 15 percent of Finland's territory, none of the peaceniks protested.

Neither did they march when the Soviets annexed the Baltic states. Nor did they grumble when Soviet tanks rolled into Warsaw and Budapest, and a decade later also in Prague. But when America led a coalition under a U.N. mandate to prevent North Korean Communists from conquering the south, peaceniks were on the march everywhere.

The movement targeted Western democracies and sought to weaken their resolve against the Soviet threat.

Over the years nobody marched against any of the client regimes of the Soviet Union that engaged in numerous wars, including against their own people.

The wars that China's Communist regime waged against the peoples of Manchuria, Tibet, East Turkestan and Inner Mongolia, lands that were eventually annexed and subjected to "ethnic cleansing," provoked no protest marches. Even when China attacked India and grabbed Indian territories the size of England, the peace movement did not budge.

In the 1960s the movement transformed itself into the campaign for unilateral nuclear disarmament. Here, unilateral meant that only the Western powers had to give up their arsenal, thus giving the Soviets a monopoly on nuclear weapons.

The peaceniks spent much of the '60s opposing U.S. intervention in Vietnam.

The 1980s gave them a new lease on life, as they focused on opposing American Pershing missiles in Western Europe.

The Pershings represented a response to Soviet SS-20 missiles that had already been stationed in central Europe and aimed at Western European capitals. But the peaceniks never asked for both the Pershings and the SS-20s to be withdrawn, only the American missiles.

President Ronald Reagan's proposal that both the SS-20s and the Pershings be withdrawn was attacked and ridiculed by the peaceniks as "an American Imperialist trick." Francois Mitterrand, then France's Socialist president, put it this way: "The missiles are in the East but the peaceniks are in the West!"

No peacenik, not even Joschka Fischer, now Germany's foreign minister, marched in support of tearing down the Berlin Wall and allowing the German nation to regain its unity.

All that is now history. The "evil empire" of communism has gone for good, but the deep anti-West sentiments that it promoted over the decades remains.

It is this anti-West, more specifically anti-American, sentiment that provides the glue of the new peace movement.

Last month, the British daily The Guardian asked a number of peaceniks to explain why they opposed the use of force to liberate Iraq?

The main reason they felt they had to support Saddam Hussein was that he was disliked by the United States.

When the Tanzanian army invaded Uganda and removed Idi Amin from power, no one marched because the United States was not involved.

When the Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia and changed the Khmer Rouge regime there, no one marched. Again, the United States was not involved.

When French troops invaded the Central African Republic and changed its regime, again no one marched.

The reason? You guessed it: America was not involved.

And what about a march in support of the Chechens? Oh, no, that won't do: The United States is not involved.

The peace movement would merit the label only if it opposed all wars, including those waged by tyrants against their own people, not just those in which America is involved.

Did it march when Saddam Hussein invaded Iran? Not at all.

Did it march when Saddam invaded Kuwait? Again: nix!

(Later, they marched, with the slogan "No Blood for Oil," when the U.S.-led coalition came to liberate Kuwait.)

Did it march when Saddam was gassing the Kurds to death? Oh, no.

Stalin died 50 years ago to the day.

But if he were around today he would have a chuckle: His peace movement remains as alive in the Western democracies as it was half a century ago.

03-05-2003, 01:47 PM
I was active in the peace movementin the early 1970s. I can assure you Stalin had nothing whatsoever to do with it. We protested what ourgovernment was doing. The reason why a peace movement is active again in the United States is that there are people opposed to the impending war with Iraq. To consider opposition to this war as Satlin's peace movement would b elaughable, were it not so sad.

03-05-2003, 02:01 PM

I have no doubt your motives are pure . I do, however, have quite a bit of doubt about many of the anti-war protesters. The author of that article raises some very interesting questions, for example, why were there no protests against Saddam's invasion of Kuwait? His gassing of Kurds? Why is noone protesting against Saddam now, or demanding that he take action to avoid a war, rather than putting the burden on the U.S.? (Interestingly, some of the other Arab states are actually calling for Saddam to step aside or give up power. It will be a cold day in hell before France ever suggests such an idea.)

This reminds me of Belgium attempting to prosecute Sharon as a war criminal, but bringing no action against Arafat. I wonder about the motivation behind that...

03-05-2003, 03:21 PM
why were there no protests against Saddam's invasion of Kuwait?
No protest needed, as prompt military action took care of it. Protests are for when you disagree with a nation's policies. You generally don't "protest" something you like.

His gassing of Kurds?
No protest needed, as US took action with increased military action in northern Iraq (eg. no-fly zone). See above for sensibility of protesting when a nation's already doing what you want.

Why is noone protesting against Saddam now, or demanding that he take action to avoid a war, rather than putting the burden on the U.S.?
Why protest? He's not doing anything other than being inspected and bombed. Not sure how that qualifies as inciting a war.

03-05-2003, 03:23 PM
andy, I know you are sincere, as are many of the participants in this movement today--but that doesn't mean that the organizers are equally pure in motive.

Please check out the two links in my new post "Peace Organizers Today: Stalinist & Maoist Affiliatiations" which details the Workers World Party (Stalinist) roots of A.N.S.W.E.R. and IAC, and also the Maoist roots of the "Not In Our Name" project. No kidding.

03-05-2003, 03:53 PM
As usual, you distort the facts.

He's not doing anything other than being inspected and bombed. Not sure how that qualifies as inciting a war.

Let's see, he is in violation of 1441, he has repeatedly refused to fully cooperate with the inspectors, he hasn't provided any accounting of, literally, tons of chemical weapons and hazardous materials which he was known to have but have somehow "disappeared", he hasn't made any disclosures of his WMD (other than denying he has any--maybe you "believe" that, but I don't think any reasonable person does), he has repeatedly lied and defrauded the world and made a mockery of the U.N.

Yet Irishhand says he hasn't done anything to incite a war. Thanks for proving my point about anti-American prejudice.

03-05-2003, 04:02 PM
well a lot of people just think its an excuse to attack (bush regime had plans to attack iraq even before inauguration)

but anyway

since a lot of stuff was destroyed in first gulf war, how does iraq account for those?

03-05-2003, 05:15 PM

That's a pretty long post to say "Iraq is violating a UN resolution". I agree with that, as does everyone else that I'm aware of. Of course, as I've noted before, arguing that the violating a UN resolution is the same as inciting a war is completely untenable. Seriously...give me your argument for why war is the solution to the violation of a UN resolution.

Also, feel free to explain how thinking that war isn't the solution to the violation of a UN resolution is un-American.

03-05-2003, 05:30 PM
"I have no doubt your motives are pure"

Thanks, but you'd be wiser to doubt. /forums/images/icons/wink.gif

I can't speak for others, but I'm much more concerned about what I perceive as my own government's shortcomings than those of other governments. Wrong or right, I marched against American involvement in Vietnam; I did not march against Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. This had nothing to do with my favoring communism over capitalism or being more of a fan of the Soviet Union than the United States. My sense is that this is behind the current protests here in the U.S.

To say that the protests against the upcoming war are shortsighted can be argued. To say that they're Maoist or Stalinist at their core, is laughable. Left of center does not equal Pot Pot, Ms. Noonan's claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

03-05-2003, 05:34 PM
Are you ever capable of staying on-point, or do you always have to change the discussion to whatever you feel like arguing about?

My post was about the anti-American prejudice which is prevalent (even if perhaps unconsciously) among many of the anti-war protestors. This post was not about the reasons to go to war or not go to war; that is a different issue (I think there are valid reasons to go to war, and I have also heard a few legitimate arguments against the war, though I think the former outweigh the latter).

The article noted that you never see the peaceniks protesting against things like Soviet ICBMs in East Germany, though they protest American missiles in West Germany. They don't protest against Saddam invading Iran or Kuwait, or using WMD on his own people, but they protest the U.S. going to war to free Kuwait, as well as the war which seems to be pending. Basically, it seems that the protest only when the U.S. is involved; totalitarian and communist regimes get a free pass. You responded with your usual gibberish and alleged parallels which aren't parallel at all.

Also, feel free to explain how thinking that war isn't the solution to the violation of a UN resolution is un-American.

I never said or suggested anything like that. Everyone has a right to an opinion and free speech in this country (unlike other countries, like, for example, Iraq). I simply suggested that the pattern of "peace protests" shows a clear anti-American bias. I suggest re-reading the article, then try to tell me that the pattern of protests doesn't have an anti-American bias.

03-05-2003, 05:34 PM
I checked out the links. Certainly when group left of center are involved in something, those far left are part to be involved. The same is true on the right: for example, if, as happened, the KKK or the John Birch Society lobbies against civil rights laws, and some senators are also against passing those laws, it would not be right to assume that the primary reason for opposition to those laws was to further the agenda of the KKK or the John Birch Society. Polls show a large portion of the American elctorate opposed to the upcoming war in Iraq. I don't think the opposition is Maoist or Stalinist inspired. And neither are the protests.

03-05-2003, 05:36 PM
youre right theyre trying to change own gov, not change others

03-05-2003, 05:42 PM
Actually Brad, the article was referring in large part to protests in Europe, not the U.S. (both in the past and currently)

03-05-2003, 05:44 PM
Protests in this country are "anti-American" by definition, so long as by "American" you're referring to the actions and policies of the current US government. "Protests" are nothing more than a bunch of people getting together in the hopes that their message or beliefs will be heard by their government.

What exactly would be the point of Americans protesting the actions of another government? My response, which you took exception to, points out that Americans protesting Saddam's invasion of Kuwait would have been utterly pointless, since the US came out firmly against that action.

In the German ICBM example, the same principle holds. Protesting our missiles in West Germany served a purpose, since our government put them there and the protesters could (vainly) hope that the administration might take note of their objections. Protesting the missiles in East Germany would have been pointless, since our government was already opposed to them and was alternately (a) increasing the military presence to oppose the Soviet nukes, and (b) negotiating a reduction of the respective nuclear weaponry

You protest in the hopes that your efforts might affect the offending government. If you know that won't happen, there's no point in protesting.

03-05-2003, 05:46 PM
screw them our tanks rolled across them 4 a reason

03-05-2003, 06:02 PM
The article mainly referred to protests in Europe (specifically mentioned London and France); it never referred to protests in the U.S.

03-05-2003, 07:16 PM
You make valid points. However there is, in my mind at least, a special significance if the primary organizers of major events or movements happen to be KKK'ers--or Maoists.

I just read a poll yesterday: 71% of the American public now in favor of the war. I'll see if I can find it, but I read probably 100 pages on the Internet yesterday from at least 25 sources, so I might not be able to.

I'll bet a poll of Iraqis (if it could be genuinely conducted) would be much higher. Not that that matters much to the anti-war activists: who cares if essentially all 4 million Iraqi exiles are in favor of Saddam being removed by force? Surely we know better than they.

03-05-2003, 08:24 PM
Surely there are ways to remove Saddam by force short of war. Surely we are the experts in this, as another poster recently pointed out. Surely we dont know better than they; thus my hesitancy to get involved in the absence of compelling evidence that the things the administration says are either logical or true.

03-05-2003, 09:00 PM
"Surely there are ways to remove Saddam by force short of war."

Maybe, just maybe, but I doubt it very much. Saddams, Pol Pots, Hitlers and Stalins don't just cede power--force or death seem the only means to remove the very worst tyrants.

"Surely we are the experts in this, as another poster recently pointed out."


"Surely we dont know better than they; thus my hesitancy to get involved in the absence of compelling evidence that the things the administration says are either logical or true."

I respect your view, but please consider this when you (reasonably) doubt the administration's position: Saddam's position is obviously more untrue and more illogical than is the administration's position (however dubious the administration's position may seem). We're dealing with a choice here.

Add to that the desperate pleas of the Iraqis themselves and I think it all adds up to one thing.

03-05-2003, 09:18 PM
Force or death are possible without war; we've removed plenty of tyrants (and untyrants) before without resorting to war.

No one doubts that Saddam is a less congenial figure than our leaders. But the choice you imply is war or he stays in power. Surely there are other options: assassination, coup, exile, revolution (or psedu-revolution), and resignation come to mind. I'm not saying I approve or disapprove of these things, just that the space between Saddam continuing to be Saddam as we know him, and war with Iraq, could surely be filled with other choices.

03-05-2003, 09:30 PM
We're dealing with a choice here.

There are a lot more options than those offered by Iraq or US. You seem convinced that it's a choice between choosing the US official version of reality or the Iraq official version of reality. I think both are dreamland propaganda, but regardless of my views - it's pretty shortsighted to think that adopting one of those views is either necessary or intelligent, just as it's ignorant to think that someone who disagrees with your adherence to the official US version of reality therefore agrees with the Iraq version.

Chris Alger
03-05-2003, 09:42 PM
"for example, why were there no protests against Saddam's invasion of Kuwait"

What are you talking about? The invasion was protested by the UN and nearly every government and newspaper in the world. Within days, the US spearheaded a drive to assemble a multilateral invasion force to repel it. How can this not pass for "protest?"

Do you mean, why were there no peacenik demonstrators in the streets? There was no point. The government, the press or the public all agreed that the invasion was an act of aggression.

Chris Alger
03-05-2003, 09:56 PM
"By coincidence, today marks the 50th anniversary of Josef Stalin's death."

What an utterly moronic, paranoid comment and theme. So the nuclear disarmament and Vietnam protestors around the world took their marching orders from the Kremlin? This is just old-fashioned red-baiting. When some people don't like the argument and can't match it, they pretend the other guy is a foreign agent or a witch. As Herman Goering once said: "the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger." Your writer is just a crude literary thug, although it's mildy reassuring to see the pro-war camp unable to rise above their perrenial cave man prose.

I can just as easily note that the same day is the 233rd anniversary of the protest that became known as the Boston Massacre, which claimed the first casualties of the American Revolution, and argue that the demonstrators of recent weeks exemplify the finest traditions of dissent and democracy in action.

03-05-2003, 09:57 PM
Assassination is not really much of a possibility--the elaborate security precautions Saddam takes, combined with his layered security, makes it virtually impossible. I read a description of the techniques and procedures he uses, as described by one of his former personal bodyguards---this stuff makes James Bond look like a kid and Goldfinger look like a nonentity. Not that assassination probably hasn't been tried. Numerous body doubles, never sleeps twice in the same place, has multiple drivers in limos with his doubles leaving simultaneously via separate palace entrances, food tasters, pistols hidden all over his person, has murdered his two sons-in-law (and his daughter hasn't spoken to him in years)...the list goes on endlessly.

As for a coup: that might possibly happen, but true to his Stalinist methods, Saddam kills anyone he merely suspects of any treacherous inclination--and often their family as well. He just recently placed his head of defense under house arrest. Consider that, according to the linked article, Saddam murdered all but one of the original 16 members of his Baathist Party. Consider the National Congress quite some years ago where he read a list of names and as each name was read, the delegates were seized by security within the audience and hustled outside to prison and later execution--this amounted to approximately 1/3 of the members in attendance in that large auditorium. Consider that everyone in Iraq lives in mortal fear of him and that he trusts no one. Even his closest inner circle has others keeping watching them, and mere suspicion is as good as a death sentence--or worse.

I take it you didn't care for my use of the word "surely." I rarely use it but at the time I thought it not out of place.

03-05-2003, 10:05 PM
That great philosopher, Michel Corleone, said that if history has taught us anything it is that you can kill anyone. I also never sleep twice in the same place, although not for lack of trying.

It appears we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one (as usual). The war is coming anyway.

Surely my sarcasm wasn't as clever by half as I thought it was.

03-05-2003, 10:09 PM
I was browsing through a book today and the first page I opened to had a reprint of a political cartoon from 1955 showing an African-American figure labeled "NAACP." His pants had fallen down and his underpants had the Soviet hammer and sickle emblem on them.

Inexcusable, but certainly one would have expected it in 1955; what excuse is there in 2003?

03-05-2003, 11:04 PM
The Corleone family, if in Iraq, would either have been employed by Saddam, or wiped out by him--along with the entire extended Corleone family. And had they been employed by him, most of them would still have likely been executed eventually on suspicion.

The closest thing to the Corleone family in Iraq is Saddam's own relatives and in-laws--and he's killed some of them.

Nobody in The Godfather even came close to the actual brutishness of Saddam or his sons--Saddam the head torturer in his days in charge of security, who trained his own sons in the arts of torture--at first on tied-up sheep, trying to see how long they could keep the sheep alive while carving it up--and later on people.

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction.

I don't see why it should be presumed that Saddam can be assassinated--don't you suppose that attempts have been made? He's probably got more personal enemies than any man alive: countless people who would wish him dead--yet his ultra-paranoid Stalinist tactics have enabled him to survive for decades. Come to think of it, nobody managed to assassinate Stalin or Hitler either. It can't be ruled out but it can't be assigned much likelihood either.

The best bet might be a Hellfire missile shortly after the invasion commences--if that can properly be called an assassination.

03-05-2003, 11:59 PM
As always, I stand in bewildered amazement of the completeness of your knowledge about life in Iraq.

nicky g
03-06-2003, 08:22 AM
"This reminds me of Belgium attempting to prosecute Sharon as a war criminal, but bringing no action against Arafat. I wonder about the motivation behind that..."

Do you, indeed? Maybe you should wonder about the facts, instead. Belgium is not trying to prosecute Sharon as a war criminal. Belgium passed a law which allowed people to be tried in Belgian courts for war crimes committed elsewhere. A pro-Palestinian group then launched a civil case in the Belgian courts to have Sharon proscuted. The Belgian government was not involved in pushing the case. Furthermore, there IS a case against Arafat and the PA in the Belgian courts at the moment; the Sharon one has simply been getting far more attention.
Finally, do you dispute Sharon has committed war crimes?

nicky g
03-06-2003, 08:31 AM
What do you mean by anti-American bias? If you mean
"suspicion of US foreign policy", then yes there's plenty of that and I don't see why there shouldn't be. I don't think it should come as a surprise that the peace movement should target a country that has fought more wars than any other since WWII.