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"How the peace movement blew it"

Queasy

Moderator<br>Console Gaming
Aug 24, 2001
31,796
2
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Link. Very astute argument by Mark LeVine of the Christian Science Monitor

IRVINE, CALIF. ? As an increasingly bloody war unfolds in Iraq, the antiwar movement needs publicly and honestly to examine how it failed to stop a war against a nation that hadn't fired a shot at us; a war that the United Nations, world opinion, the blowback from previous wars, and even common sense and decency all screamed against. Where did we go wrong?
On the broadest level, the movement didn't offer the most important alternative to war: hope. In the past weeks, I have spoken with middle-class Americans from New York to California and have been surprised by the near unanimous distrust of our government's stated aims and prosecution of this war. But these newly skeptical patriots have been further depoliticized rather than mobilized by the failure of the antiwar coalition either to address the moral complexity of the conflict or to offer a coherent alternative to it.

Despite the sordid history and present reality of US Middle East policy, Americans intuitively believe that most Iraqis would be better off under US rather than Saddam Hussein's occupation. It is to the antiwar movement's discredit that it never acknowledged the need for Hussein to face justice. Without it, cynicism and apathy rather than hope and activism became the response to the administration's war discourse.

And we played right into the president's game. When he catalogued Hussein's past crimes and duplicity, we either ignored it or shouted, "No war!" and, "Give peace a chance!" To which Mr. Bush replied, "I did." Hussein's record of violence and deceit allowed Americans grudgingly to accept the president's arguments for war despite his innumerable distortions of fact and evidence.

Moreover, by focusing on the quantity of protesters rather than the quality of our discourse, we deluded ourselves into thinking that our protests were delaying the war. But Bush was just playing for time till all the men and materiel were in place for war.

We should have responded: "You're right, Mr. President, Hussein is a criminal who should be removed and brought to justice. But so should almost every regime in the Middle East, including our allies, since they are all oppressive (even brutal) and semidemocratic at best." We should have presented a detailed plan with maps and arrows diagramming which regimes should face justice next. We should have pointed out what international architecture (such as an expanded International Criminal Court that could try leaders while in office) would be necessary to prevent a concerted move by the world community against oppression and dictatorship from being a cover for an unending war for an American Empire.

We should have demanded an expanded Security Council with no vetoes, while at the same time demanding the removal of Libya and Sudan from the UN Human Rights Commission. We should have called on the president immediately to cut off all economic and military aid to any government that does not meet strict democratic and human rights standards - be it Israel or Pakistan. Most important, we should have demanded that he follow the logic of his own arguments for a new Middle East, which require a shift not just in US foreign policy but also in the hyperconsumerist, world-toxic culture that drives it.

So how can the peace be won? First, articulate a holistic critique of, and alternative to, Bush's postwar vision. Second, demand significant representation in the postwar "reconstruction regime," and if refused, infiltrate it with the coordinated efforts of international humanitarian and relief organizations. Third, force public scrutiny of companies that will be awarded billions of dollars of "reconstruction" contracts, especially those with close ties to the White House. More broadly, engage in unprecedented levels of education and protest to help the public understand how the coalition of arms and oil companies behind this war is reaping profits at the expense of America's healthcare, education, retirement, and criminal-justice systems - in short, our future.

The forces for peace, democracy, and justice can successfully challenge America's Middle East policy when the blowback from our invasion and occupation of Iraq comes. But we must learn from our mistakes and transform ourselves from an antiwar coalition into a large-scale social movement with an unflinching, worldwide commitment to justice. That means one uncompromised by ideological blindness to crimes not committed by the West or its allies.

Such a vision, and the hope it would foster, has never been more sorely needed.

? Mark LeVine is assistant professor of history at the University of California at Irvine specializing in contemporary Middle East politics, religions, and cultures.
 

steell

Golden Member
Sep 2, 2001
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Quote/ The forces for peace, democracy, and justice can successfully challenge America's Middle East policy when the blowback from our invasion and occupation of Iraq comes. But we must learn from our mistakes and transform ourselves from an antiwar coalition into a large-scale social movement with an unflinching, worldwide commitment to justice. That means one uncompromised by ideological blindness to crimes not committed by the West or its allies. /Quote

I wish I could see the future the way some people claim to be able to do. I can only guess :(
 

yowolabi

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2001
4,183
2
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I disagree with the premise of the article that these things weren't spoken of before the war. Those points were made time and again on Anandtech and I heard people on t.v. make those same arguments long before the war started. Those arguments were made, and the protests were held. Everything was tried. The author makes it seem like he just thought of this stuff, when every debate I've heard on the subject where people really discussed the subject included those arguments.

Bush heard those arguments, but they held no appeal. He has had Saddam in his sights for a long time, and these were not compelling arguments to him. As even Bush's supporters say, when he makes a decision he sticks to it. I don't believe there was any chance he was going to all of sudden see the logic of the other side. Protests in large enough numbers may have had an effect, but only if they were large enough to make him believe re-election would be in danger if he committed to a war.

Personally, I don't believe there's anything that could have been said or done by the people of America that could have prevented war. I agree that we should all push for uniformity in our policy in the future, regardless of if there's a "blowback" or not.
 

Sxotty

Member
Apr 30, 2002
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Then I would have supported them as well. I mean I am definitely liberal in my views but almost all the peace protesters just sound like morons, in fact they sound like selfish and horrible people. Because they are unwilling to sacrifice something to help others. That is how I see them and I think it is ridiculous in a way, but that is what they seemed like. That is why I am in agreeance that we can have no cease fire till saddam is gone. I think anytime a brutal person is in power they should feel the heat that something might actually happen to them and then people would not be inclined to be brutal. Brutallity is the stupid mans way to control. People can still hold enormous power without resorting to such measures. So maybe it would not save the world from megalomaniacs, like cough Bush, but it would stop those that were incredibly cruel.

The problem with this peace, is that criminal courts don't operate with out police, w/o a credible threat of force no one will give a $hit what the International Criminal Court says. Saddam's record with many international groups speaks clearly that he is guilty of amazing human rights abuse, but that did nothing, and if the UN had said oh your a bad man nothing would have changed either, someone has to enforce decisions, even if no one wants to. Otherwise there is no point in having a ICC, or a UN, or making any resolutions.
 

tk149

Diamond Member
Apr 3, 2002
7,256
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Mark LeVine is assistant professor of history at the University of California at Irvine

Why am I not surprised?
 

conjur

No Lifer
Jun 7, 2001
58,686
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Originally posted by: tk149
Mark LeVine is assistant professor of history at the University of California at Irvine

Why am I not surprised?
And that means what?

 

yowolabi

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2001
4,183
2
81
Originally posted by: tk149
Mark LeVine is assistant professor of history at the University of California at Irvine

Why am I not surprised?
What does that mean? Do you have a specific criticism of the article, or do you have trouble sleeping unless everyone knows your undiscriminating disdain for groups of people based on their vocation or their location. The problem with people who love labeling people is that they fail to recognize their hypocrisy when their respond to a reasoned argument with an unreasoned personal attack.

Thanks, flavio.
 

etech

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
10,597
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Originally posted by: yowolabi
I disagree with the premise of the article that these things weren't spoken of before the war. Those points were made time and again on Anandtech and I heard people on t.v. make those same arguments long before the war started. Those arguments were made, and the protests were held. Everything was tried. The author makes it seem like he just thought of this stuff, when every debate I've heard on the subject where people really discussed the subject included those arguments.

Bush heard those arguments, but they held no appeal. He has had Saddam in his sights for a long time, and these were not compelling arguments to him. As even Bush's supporters say, when he makes a decision he sticks to it. I don't believe there was any chance he was going to all of sudden see the logic of the other side. Protests in large enough numbers may have had an effect, but only if they were large enough to make him believe re-election would be in danger if he committed to a war.

Personally, I don't believe there's anything that could have been said or done by the people of America that could have prevented war. I agree that we should all push for uniformity in our policy in the future, regardless of if there's a "blowback" or not.
Oh great, the cookie-cutter argument again. It seems to go something like this "Every nation should be treated exactly the same by the US. The US should ignore any and all history of the current regime, regional differences, situational differences, alliances, practical difficulties and blindly use the exact same set of tools to deal with each varied foreign situation."


"You're right, Mr. President, Hussein is a criminal who should be removed and brought to justice.
No one of the anti-war side ever said just how to accomplish that little deed. Please tell us all how, other than the current operation in progess, exactly how you would propose to do that.

while at the same time demanding the removal of Libya and Sudan from the UN Human Rights Commission.
One part of one sentence makes sense.

Second, demand significant representation in the postwar "reconstruction regime,"
You haven't earned it until you have explained exactly how you would have "removed" Saddam without using the same tactics that you are railing against.
 

cracgor

Banned
Apr 4, 2003
40
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anti-war movement didn't really blow it. It had now chance. You had to know Bush didn't care about public opinion when he said "I don't care about polls." Only thing that could have stopped war was Saddam stepping down...an option I thought was rediculous as the goal moved from preventing terrorism to liberating the people of iraq. Its all too late to protest now so get over it and hope things pan out now...

By the way how many people hate the name "Operation Iraqi Freedom"? I think it lacks creativity and doesn't have a cool twist or an animal name. That is how this war is a failure for me.
 

JellyBaby

Diamond Member
Apr 21, 2000
9,159
1
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The die-hard anti-war crowd should have gone after their congress critters when congress was deciding to declare war, er I mean pass the buck to the executive. Once the decision making was placed soley in the King's hand they were SOL.

As for dealing with Iraq without war the more popular options included continued containment and robust inspections. Neither had much appeal to any save the French.

The less popular but personal favorite solution of mine: Letters of Marquias and Reprisal. ;)
 

BaDaBooM

Golden Member
May 3, 2000
1,077
1
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Originally posted by: Queasy
We should have pointed out what international architecture (such as an expanded International Criminal Court that could try leaders while in office) would be necessary to prevent a concerted move by the world community against oppression and dictatorship from being a cover for an unending war for an American Empire.
LOL, that would work...
A court can't do sh1t without the cops to enforce it. Obviously the UN won't be the cop.

The only thing of value I saw in that is keeping tabs on the post-war to make sure they stick to what they said they were gonna do, though not the way this guy says to do it.
 

Martin

Lifer
Jan 15, 2000
29,178
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He is right that a lot of people were/are opposed to the war for the wrong reasons, but I highly doubt any amount of reasonable and moderate arguments would have changed Bush's mind...or Cheney and Rumsfelt's to be more exact.


 

Siddhartha

Lifer
Oct 17, 1999
12,501
1
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Bush has gained support for this war by defining an invasion on a country that has not attacked the US as part of the war against terrorism. As the Democrats learned in the 2002 elections you can not appear to be weak on terrorism.
 

jjones

Lifer
Oct 9, 2001
15,425
1
0
The anti-war people failed to address a solution to the Saddam situation. They pointed to continuing containment when that is not a solution, just a continuation of the situation, a situation that has played for 12 years. As stated aptly in the article, they failed to provide hope, and they failed in that respect by not having any, not even the least, idea of a solution.

As for a world court, good luck, because this will require enforcement by a world police. There is no international body or international community that is capable of making this happen.

Regarding any statements about other dictators and why the US is not pursuing them with equal zeal, the US has a right to be selfish in its pursuits. The US is not the world police and can choose its battles according to its interests, just like the French, just like the Russians, just like the Chinese, etc. When the so-called "international community" can move beyond the diplomatic and political morass of its unending debates and find the energy to take action, the US will be there waiting.
 

Pliablemoose

Lifer
Oct 11, 1999
25,195
0
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Originally posted by: jjones
The anti-war people failed to address a solution to the Saddam situation. They pointed to continuing containment when that is not a solution, just a continuation of the situation, a situation that has played for 12 years. As stated aptly in the article, they failed to provide hope, and they failed in that respect by not having any, not even the least, idea of a solution.

As for a world court, good luck, because this will require enforcement by a world police. There is no international body or international community that is capable of making this happen.

Regarding any statements about other dictators and why the US is not pursuing them with equal zeal, the US has a right to be selfish in its pursuits. The US is not the world police and can choose its battles according to its interests, just like the French, just like the Russians, just like the Chinese, etc. When the so-called "international community" can move beyond the diplomatic and political morass of its unending debates and find the energy to take action, the US will be there waiting.
Amen.

 

Toasthead

Diamond Member
Aug 27, 2001
6,621
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I think it is time for the peace movement people to step back from their yelling and screaming that no one is listening to them and look around. The problem with their stance and their platform is that the majority of people DO NOT support them. Ther is overwhelming spport for this action in both the US and arond the world. Just because someone yells louder, doesnt make them right nor the majority. If enough people felt thatthe war shouldnt have happened, then it wouldnt have. a Majority of the people support the removal of Saddam.

 

Alistar7

Lifer
May 13, 2002
11,983
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"How the peace movement blew it"

by resorting to violence to get their "peacefull" message across?
 

kylebisme

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2000
9,396
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Originally posted by: Dr Smooth
Bush has gained support for this war by defining an invasion on a country that has not attacked the US as part of the war against terrorism. As the Democrats learned in the 2002 elections you can not appear to be weak on terrorism.
2002 elections for what?
 

BaDaBooM

Golden Member
May 3, 2000
1,077
1
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Originally posted by: TheSnowman
Originally posted by: Dr Smooth
Bush has gained support for this war by defining an invasion on a country that has not attacked the US as part of the war against terrorism. As the Democrats learned in the 2002 elections you can not appear to be weak on terrorism.
2002 elections for what?
Um... you do know they hold elections for the Senate and for the House of Representatives, not just the Presidency, right?
 

kylebisme

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2000
9,396
0
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well sure but i didn't really see anything like what Dr Smooth was talking about. granted i live in one of the most republican states in the land, so that could well play a factor in the difference in perception. ;)
 

BaDaBooM

Golden Member
May 3, 2000
1,077
1
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He was just referring to the fact that the Republicans took the House and Senate last fall. And of course they already had the Presidency. I just hope that they hurry up and pass the good things the Republicans are trying to do before the Democrates get back in and they forget to try to pass all the sh1tty things they sometimes put on the table. Then the Democrates can have their turn to do the same and it would be a wonderful world. ;) (BTW, I'm independent in case you couldn't tell)
 

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