Anti-War Protest in DC

by Ryan on September 15, 2007

in Politics,The Iraq Front

The maoist, leftist hodgepodge group ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and [just to have a reasonable acronym] End Racism) held a protest march today in DC to get back some of the defeatist’s momentum that was taken away by a combination of the Petraeus report, Bush’s speech signaling to the recently castrated Dems that no matter what we’re in Iraq until he leaves office, and the outrage over the Moveon.org ad. 

Joining the “die-ins” were mostly college kids and a few Iraq War vets.  However, a counterprotest group called “Gathering of Eagles” showed up, but only at half the numbers of the kooks.  Gathering of Eagles is a group founded by Iraq War vets and others who would like the media to do its job and report everything that’s happening over there, especially the good stuff, as well as to keep morale and support for the war as high as they can while not abandoning our troops like in Vietnam.  Some reporters at the scene found the occasional mix of ANSWER and the Gathering of Eagles to be very tense at times.  I can also guess as to which group was the primary instigator (liberals hate people who argue back).  One of the ANSWER crowd and a 25-year old Army vet said, “we’re here to show that it isn’t just a bunch of old hippies from the ’60s who are against this war.”  No, but they are the ones funding you and giving you moral guidance. 

Here’s my ten cents on anti-war college protesters in regards to Iraq:  Some young people want to have a cause and belong to something deemed important because they want to add something meaningful to their lives.  Others are just bored and have too much time on their hands (try going to class or getting a real major).  Yet, more think that being a nice person means being liberal and, “like (tilting your head slightly) helping the environment” or “peace” are things to say in order to be that good nice person.  Still, many believe that since they are surrounded by smart people at school and can say a few intelligent-sounding things, winning an argument or two around campus with disinterested language or science majors, that they know what they are talking about. 

I had a student recently come back from a year of college wanting to discuss the Iraq War with me.  As I hide my political affiliation from my students, he picked up the subtle clues to figure me out.  He was a smart kid with a love of history and politics, but I easily slammed the principles behind every anti-war argument he had.  I told him to keep trying and to use web-thinking when formulating an argument.  Young liberal college kids are too linear in their A + B + C must mean D is the answer, when they haven’t thought about the consequences or relationships between A and B or A and C, etc.  These college types are passionate and think they are right.  I was like that too.  I attended campus and a national protests while I had a young skull full of mush in college.  I knew then like I know now that I am not automoatically or inherently correct, but I try to have a well-reasoned opinion consistent with my worldview.  Being lectured about “what is right” by unreasoned, know-it-all kids who may never have even experienced real life or considered the consequences of their actions, is not something that threatens me, but in this case may be a sign of the desperation of the anti-war crew– you know what they say: animals are always most dangerous when cornered.

AP photo.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

freeluncher September 15, 2007 at 7:04 pm

you write that “Some young people want to have a cause and belong to something deemed important because they want to add something meaningful to their lives.” Could not the same be said of older people who want a cause, ie the war on terror, because torture, war and death give some meaning to their lives?

I find it sad you must stoop to slandering those who oppose the war in Iraq, as “maoist hodgepodge”,”kooks” “full of mush”. The dehumanisation of your opponent is complete by calling them animals. Christ, and you say your in education!

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repsac3 September 15, 2007 at 10:20 pm

I can’t be bothered taking issue with the ad hom… It’s all too typical on both sides of the issue and unfortunately, to be expected, particularly as it takes the place of reasoned argument.

You might want to reread the early reports as far as your number estimates go… GOE wasn’t at half the number of the pro-peace advocates ( or “kooks,” as that seems to give you a giggle)… I’m reading media estimates saying it was more like 100-1, in favor of the “kooks.” Kinda makes you wonder who’s actually holding the mainstream position, and who are the kooks…

(Wait, don’t tell me… All the people supporting the fiasco are too busy working to protest, or answer polls, or do any of the other things that’d get them noticed… And the media doesn’t listen, anyway… But they’re out there, silently cheering Bush on… Yep, I’ve heard the excuses before…)

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Mike September 16, 2007 at 12:41 am

Repsac:

If you have ever been in D.C. in January when pro-lifers march, you would know that relying on “media estimates” for crowd size is nothing short of foolish. Or do you believe everything you see on television?

You are correct on one point and one point only. The majority of Americans agree with you. However, you are also inadvertently correct when you point out that conservatives are indeed too busy to protest all the time. We are too busy living our lives. That said, I don’t deny that you are in the majority, just as we were in 2004 and will be again in 2008.

Freeluncher:

Ryan did not slander those who oppose the war. In libel law, truth is a defense. What I think you need to do is look at a dictionary under “T” and find the definition of torture. Once you’ve done that, find an analogous situation in the current war and compare it with the definition. If you do that honestly, you will discover that your blanket allegation that conservatives support torture is false. Placing underwear on a terrorist’s head may be foolish and funny, but it is not torture.

In additon, the contraction of “you are” is “you’re”, not “your.” Before you attempt to insult the intelligence of others, you might want to look in “your” own mirror.

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freeluncher September 16, 2007 at 3:34 am

Mike, I respectfully disagree with your contention that Ryan did not bad-mouth those who oppose the war. It is obvious he called them “kooks”, “defeatists”, and “animals”.

If you think that all that has happened at Abhu Graib is some underwear being put on prisoners heads, you are massively ill-informed. Prisoners have been beaten-up, threatened with dogs, stripped naked for humiliating “trophy” photos, and been blindfolded and had ‘electrodes’ attached to their genitals. Maybe you do not think this is torture, and you are entitled to your opinion, but you are wrong. (ps, I don’t say conservatives support these things, but I sure as hell say Bush and Rusmsfeld sanctioned them or turned a blind eye.)

Thank you for pointing out my spelling mistake, I had noticed it after I posted the comment, but have no capacity to edit.

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Ryan September 16, 2007 at 9:49 am

If I may interject: ANSWER, the group that sponsored the anti-war segment of the protest, is a maoist, leftist bunch of out-of-the-American-political-mainstream kooks (giggle) who’d fit better with European socialists than the American left. They blame America first for just about everything and have disdain for the capitalist system. If those college kids don’t want to get tagged as such, then they should read what their sponsors are all about– like I said, they should go to class sometimes.

Freeluncher:

I reject your analogy that those who support the war are into death and war to give their lives meaning. I suppose my brother, an Iraq War vet who served out of Taji (North of Baghdad) and Al Asad Airbase (in Anbar Province) for 13 months, supports the war because he’s death monger? Depending on how you view the military, you just might have that point of view. The analogy doesn’t hold because old ex-hippies are against the war while some young people are for finishing the job.

I support the war and I’m under 30, I just have the ability to think beyond the leftist utopian hope that with peace, we’ll all hug and sip Starbucks with our pinky’s extended, and I realize that al Qaeda is not interested in talking, just raping virgins in the afterlife after causing as much death and pain over here as possible. Al Qaeda as an organization needs to push us out of Iraq more than we need to stay. It begs the old question: if we pull out and admit defeat, then who wins?

I think that it’s much more feasible that these college kids have drank the Kool-Aid their leftist professors and the MSM feeds them and believe American power is what’s wrong with this world and not a solution in some cases. Plus, I was referring to possible reasons why college kids get out and protest at such marches. Like I wrote, I was once an idealistic college kid. I even went to a New England college so leftist that they made the national news earlier this year as an example of liberal professors in the history and literature departments pushing their agenda on students and squashing divergent points of view. Luckily for me I went to a great high school that taught me not think beyond headlines and get to the root of an issue if you want to understand its depth.

I also make sure that my students don’t know my political ideology. It may be hard to believe, but this blog is a hobby, not my life, and I see it as a fun exchange of ideas. Now that I’m a teacher myself, I think back to the audacity SOME of my high school teachers had in brainwashing us everyday with the same mantra: Republicans are for the rich, Democrats are for the common people (rinse and repeat). I will not bias a student consciously because I think they should vote this way or that way. It’s cruel– they see you as an expert who must know something, so why abuse their trust and their beliefs that way? I can’t do it consciously and I won’t since I’ve seen the result in my own formative experiences. College professors seem to have a different take on that point than I do most of the time. Their knowledge is their ego. My student’s unbiased education is ultimately more important than how I want them to vote. I have faith that if given a full spectrum of thought, they can make up their own minds better than I can make it up for them.

As far as the “animal” metaphor, I apologize that it was unclear: I was referring to the entire extreme Left in general. I lump ANSWER and Moveon in that group, but not most Democrats, even some of the anti-war Democrats. The extremist’s current posture at this point indicates a sense of desperation, meaning that they must feel cornered– even the national Democrats seem like they must accept around 100,000 US troops in Iraq until 2009. You don’t lash out if you don’t feel threatened– a simple political principle. Just wait: if a Democrat wins next year, they will not pull out of Iraq either! Who wants failure on their watch? Right now they can tag Bush with everything. They’ll say something like: “Oh, the previous administration did let us know how bad it REALLY was over there so the troops will remain.” Just grab the popcorn and sit back at that point– Moveon’s already posturing to attack Democrats now, just imagine what’ll happen then! We won’t be able to pretend the War on Terror is just a Bush fabrication if a Dem gets in next year– they’re stuck with this too.

Repsac3:

I’ve heard the excuses before too– just before my time. It was the 1972 election. George McGovern was Mr. Anti-war and ensured his opponent got 520 Electoral Votes to his 17. I’m not saying landslide next year, but if the extremist groups fund the Dems too much and threaten them too seriously, they might get a candidate nominated who cannot win nationally. But, that’s why we play the game. No guarantees for 2008, but I think it’s still more open than people think.

Mike:

True that.

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Mike September 16, 2007 at 11:35 am

Freeluncher:

I never denied that Ryan badmouthed war opponents. What I said was that he didn’t slander them.

You are right that more than the underwear incident occurred at AG. I used that example however because some in the media called that torture even though it clearly was not. The other things you mentioned also occurred. Although those acts were unjustified and criminal, they were not acts of torture. If you want examples of torture, follow the link. I just think its important, even when we oppose certain things, not to overstate the case by misusing language.

As for the criminal acts at AG, Bush and Rumsfeld overlooked nothing. The people responsible were prosecuted and punished.

Finally, the spelling mistake. I take that back. After reading your second comment, you seem like a decent person. Thanks for your comments.

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freeluncher September 16, 2007 at 12:48 pm

Ryan, as a Scotsman living in England, I know little or nothing about the American anti-war movement. I guess that ANSWER is the equavalent of the Stop The War Coalition here in the UK. The secret is in the word ‘coalition’. From looking at ANSWERS website, I found that they are a “Coalition formed on September 14, 2001. It is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and prominent individuals and scores of organizing centers in cities and towns across the country.” No doubt there is the odd maoist involved, the odd anarchist, the odd socialist, democrat and republican too no doubt. It certainly has military veterans if their website is any guide. I think to call them a “maoist” group is a little unfair, and paints them in a light that they do not deserve. Maybe you can enlighten me about their maoism?

The analogy of mine that you reject, is not so much an analogy of mine, it is a slight change to the analogy you proffered in your original post, ie young people want a cause and meaning in their lives. All I suggested is that the same ‘could” be true of those who support the War on Terror. I would not suggest that your brother is a ‘death-monger’, any more than I would say the same freinds and family of mine who serve in the Armed forces. I DO think their commanders are nearer to that description though. As was famously said of soldiers in the First World War, I think our current service personnel(both UK and US) are “lions led by donkeys”.

I am a little over 30, and I have opposed the war in Iraq from the day it was first mooted. Regarding Utopia which you seem to disparage, I am with Oscar Wilde when he wrote something like “a map of the world which does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at. It is the one place where humanity is always landing”. I make no apologies for having ideals, I try not to be blinded by them, but without them I feel I would be in danger of becoming amoral.

I feel that Al Quada should be tackled and defeated the same way the IRA was eventually defeated, through dialogue and the removal of legitimate grievances that fuel their support. If the US were to, for example, stop veto’ing UN security Council resolutions against Israel, the anger and hate that seems to fuel radical terrorists might be undercut.

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment without flaming me as I have been elsewhere! I was intrigued by your comment that you “hide” your affiliations and beliefs from your students for fear of giving ‘bias’. That is a noble thought. Though, could it not be argued that it would be better for the students to see where you are coming from on a particular topic, so they can judge it all properly? Arguably, one could suggest you are fooling them with an image of objectivity that does not exist.
I recall years ago having many debates with a college professor of mine who claimed he was a “Stalinist” of all things! I admired him for telling me his own views, and it helped me spot “bias” in his teaching. How he loved teaching the marxist perspective!

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freeluncher September 16, 2007 at 1:01 pm

Mike, thanks for the link, interesting.

Have you ever read George Orwell’s ’1984′? The reason I ask is because it was the first thing I thought of when I read the following – “One of the most infuriating examples of liberal newspeak is their characterization of conservative support of aggressive interrogation techniques as support of torture.”

Hmm, I’d respectfully suggest that the phrase “aggressive interrogation techniques” is a perfect example of the Newspeak the writers of that piece are railing against!

While I agree with your original contention that underwear on someones head is not torture, the other things I mentioned earlier are a form of torture. Okay, maybe they are not quite as extreme as that carried out by Saddam or the Spanish Inquisition, but still it is cruel and “torturous” for the recipient. Why do it otherwise?

According to the UN torture is -
“1. For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

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Ryan September 16, 2007 at 1:29 pm

I understand that we can never truly and fully hide our biases when we instruct. Just the way we word things can indicate how we feel about the issue. I once referred to the Democratic Party as the “Democrat” Party and one of my honors students picked that up as a talking point on the right-leaning Rush Limbaugh show that I occasionally listen to. That was just two letters! Kids are sharp.

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Mike September 16, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Freeluncher:

You made my point with the U.N. definition of torture. The left wing in this country and elsewhere have re-written the definition of torture. Of course the UN adopts that view. When war opponents (especially the moonbats but this true of many sane ones as well) invoke the word torture, the images they seek to convey are the ones in shown on Smoking Gun because traditionally that is what torture means. This is misleading because terrible acts depicted as something even worse. In the process, the original meaning of the word is cheapened. The demeaning and criminal nature of the acts at AG can be conveyed without overstating what they were.

That said, they were criminal acts and the people responsible were prosecuted and punished.

I loved 1984. In terms of newspeak, that is the focal point of our disagreement and I doubt either of us will budge. However, I would argue that those trying to change the definition of a word are the ones using “new”speak. I’m using “old”speak. By “aggressive interrogation techniques”, I meant “aggressive interrogation techniques.” Because the examples given in the link are that, not torture. They are effective though, that’s whay we use them.

On the whole, I agree with Ryan. Most of the anti-war side is exactly as he described them. Although we disagree, I appreciate that your position is well-reasoned. More of those who agree with you should follow your lead and not merely parrot everything they see on Countdown to No Ratings With Keith Overbite.

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freeluncher September 17, 2007 at 1:01 pm

Ryan, many words have been “cheapened” or corrupted over the last 5 or 6 years in my opinion. The word ‘terrorism’ for example, not to mention the word ‘democracy’.

Maybe you are right about ‘torture’, but I can’t help suspect that you have come across a one or two distesteful left-wingers(every wing has them!), and used them to generalise against the whole anti-war movement. As one who mingles daily with what can be loosely described as the anti-war constituency, I can only reiterate my observations that they hold a wide spectrum of people, from maoists to monarchists!

Anyway, would it be fair for folk like me to call aggressive interogation techniques ‘torture-lite’? It’s a bit of a mouthful otherwise ;-)

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