Is This All They Got?

by Ryan on March 18, 2006

in Politics


Apparently, thousands of people around the world are protesting, or getting ready to protest our military involvement in Iraq. A military involvement that:

  1. ended the Oil for Food debacle: the corrupt bargain that Saddam had with, amongst others, our European “allies” France, Germany and Russia, Kofi’s son, and a few bad US and international companies.
  2. gave teeth to UN Security Council Resolutions.
  3. ended the state sanctioned mass killings, rape rooms, and torture chambers against the Shiites, Kurds, and political dissidents.
  4. ended any hope of Saddam to reconstitute his WMD programs… whether he had them or not, HE DOESN’T NOW AND WON’T LATER!!! Ha!
  5. instilled hope for some form of self-government for tens of millions of formerly oppressed people.
  6. allowed a political system to be put in place where a woman can exercise her will through voting, while potentially bringing moderation to the political process.
  7. showed a region of the world, which we saw every night on the news getting torn apart by political and religious violence, that it’s no longer in America’s interest to sit idlely by while oppressive dictators perpetuate that violence and threaten the semblance of stability in the world’s most oil rich, yet religiously radical areas.

Oh, yeah–I forgot, “Bush Lied, Kids Died.” That trumps all, I suppose. Where’s my fat man and his camera? I guess that’s much of what it takes to be an anti-war movement. That, and some college kids and PAC members who might complain less if they got real jobs.

But, I digress.

During the height of the Vietnam War, protests ranging from 250,000 to 500,000 took place in Washington, DC for years. While those numbers may be a little fuzzy (as was many things to the average hippie back then), they do illustrate a few points: This is not 1969, nor is it Vietnam, nor is there a massive popular uprising against the concept of the war in Iraq. If this is indeed all they have after THREE YEARS, then I’m not worried about their chances for success in the long-term.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

rightonoz March 19, 2006 at 10:02 pm

Have a couple of points

On the giving teeth to a resolution, some would say the coalition’s actions ran roughshod over the resolution that did not give them the right to invade, but let’s not get into that.

There was no corrupt bargain with France and Germany, they (along with a good part of the globe I must add) had a differing view than the US/Uk/Oz and some others. On this I disagree with our government (and the US and UK)not because I disagree that Saddam was evil, just that I feel it was the wrong fight to pick at the wrong time and may end up causing more problems than it solves. I hope I’m proved wrong.

The hope of self government is a shaky one at best. I have a great fear that it will all turn to sh**.

Iran is no doubt thanking the Coalition as it forments violence and gains the influence it never could while Saddam was in power. I feel they are the bigger threat.

Nightly news and violence? Were we watching the same news? The only nightly violence we saw down here was Palestine, another can of worms entirely.

Now to the Vietnam war protest. I am old enough to have taken part in New Zealand, before gracing(?)Australia with my presence. During that period was the great flirting with socialism and communism by the majority of students worldwide (some went overboard and formed terror cells, eg red brigades etc), before the VAST majority of us saw the light.

To understand the period and the protests, you need to understand that the majority of teachers seemed to have picked up communist ideals in the late 50′s and 60′s which they passed on to our sponge like minds at as young as 12-13. We were idealistic, looking for a better more just way, wanting to end poverty etc and there was an appeal in their message. Plus, the left were just far better at getting their message across, despite what was a very hostile and right wing press(and down this way TV stations totally owned by governemnt).

I am now, thankfully very right wing as are most of those I went through this period with, but as idealistic (fools) we saw Vietnam as suppression of the will of the Vietnamese people (questionable) and the US and NZ/Oz supported a corrupt right wing government that pocketed all the wealth(true).

From talking to my US friends of a similar age, that was pretty much the same over there, plus there was a VERY strong anti war feeling worlwide, whereas now in the US is it seen as unpatriotic in some quarters to even voice opposition (though I would consider it democracy at work and therefore healthy.) Yes I had Mao’s ‘little red book’ but quickly saw him as a ruthless dictator and mass murdered who changed the course of China several times at a whim and inflicted murderous purges at that same whim (sounds like Stalin).

As we all lived in democracies, our views were allowed (grudgingly) and we lived grow into more sensible adults. I make no apologies for flirting with the left as it gave me an insight into that side of the spectrum and a broader knowledge of politics and far more tolerance of opposing views than some.

Given the prevailing political attitudes in the world, I don’t think we’ll see those mass demonstrations that there were in the 70′s. Those that do take part in large demonstrations seem bent on violence which turns away any large moderate opposition.

Reply

Ryan March 20, 2006 at 9:43 am

Well, I do have some issues with some of your presumptions:
1. France and Germany were both deeply invovled in kickbacks from Saddam’s regime to their companies during the Oil-For-Food program, allowing a rather corrupt situation remain until right before the US-led invasion. Hence, their opposition becomes clearer.
2. It ain’t a perfect Jeffersonian democracy, but neither is South Africa, or Serbia– “victories” to some.
3. Mideast violence floods the TV here in the States nightly: Iraq, Palestine, Israel, sometimes Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey.
4. Good point about the ‘Nam protests. But, nonetheless there were hundreds of thousands versus today’s measly numbers.
5. In the US, “unpatriotic” is a funny term. The Leftists want to ridicule, but don’t want to hear your side. It was they that first accused the Administration of calling dissenters “unpatriotic” back in 2003. Hillary Clinton uttered the word WAY before anyone else did. Then the typical steps take place: keep repeating it and all of a sudden it becomes “conventional thinking.”

Reply

rightonoz March 20, 2006 at 7:06 pm

I don’t deny there were French and German companies involved in kickbacks (The French would sell their mothers), hey, even one Aussie company did that and is getting well and truly dragged through the streets in a Royal Commission. I do not believe that was the reason for their government’s opposition. If you look at their stance over time, they have a far greater likelyhood of favouring concensus and negotiation (Perhaps too great)

In terms of the violence you mention, yes we saw the occasional coverage of Egypt etc, but that was lost in the coverage of Nigeria, Dafur, every other spot worldwide where there is unrest. The only one that was on every night was Palestine.

A bad democracy that turns into a civil war could end in another authoritarian regime and we could be even worse off than before. Imagine if Iran gets it’s way, major civil war, the imposition of an Islamic state with close ties to Iran and suddenly every terrorist on earth has access to nuclear materials. I’m not saying this is what will happen, but sooner or later we have to step away and leave tehm to themselves and we have to be concerned.

My comment on protests remains that I believe there is a very different feeling in the democratised world that does not see the passion that the Vietnam era aroused. Not to say their aren’t just as many people opposed (in fact opinion polls suggest far more mainstream America and Oz are opposed than were in Vietnam), just that you don’t have the passionate student opposition (and their’s no draft which we also had, so that whole fear of being forced off to war is not there)

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