Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Choosing Allies

Last week, Dean announced his intention to participate in last weekend's 'peace' march in Washington, D.C. In the comments, I suggested that this might be a bad idea, as his worthy desire for true peace might not correlate with the views of the march organizers.

Christopher Hitchens has penned a marvelous column reminding us that the people behind the march are not anti-war, just anti-American (and anti-Semitic, -freedom, -homosexual, etc.):

To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side.

When is the Left going to clean its own house? Besides being the moral course of action, it's politically counterproductive to make allies with these evil people. One might as well march alongside Fred Phelps or the Ku Klux Klan.

There are times when it's better to travail alone. For the rational, truly anti-war Left, this is one of them.

Hat tip.

19 comments:

Stephen said...

So following this logic...there is no way to be anti-war because you will always be supporting some evil dictator or power by being anti-war?

And a side note, I thought the Taliban where in Afganistan, not in Iraq. Did I miss something? I thought they were protesting the war in Iraq not in Afganistan.

Craig Moore said...

One thing that many of these liberals do not understand is the nature of evil. Evil people cannot be appeased, negotiated with or reasoned with. When they detect weakness or a lack of will to fight and oppose them, they will strike. I for one would prefer the war against terrorism to be fought by the US military in Iraq, than by the cops and citizens of NYC, LA or Miami.

Jay said...

If I remember correctly, the right has had some strange bedfellows as well, especially in relation to activism on abortion and sexuality. There are times when a common cause brings dissimilar groups and persons together in the desire to effect change. Do we support the other's belief system? Of course we don't. But we can agree on a common goal that both share.

Joel Thomas said...

Tulsa radio host Michael DelGiorno was the main organizer of Tulsa's pro-war rally in 2003, attended by Tulsa Mayor LaFortune and Senator Inhofe, among others. Among other things, DelGiorno has described Jimmy Carter as the "anti-Christ" and tried to organize opposition to an Islamic student center on the campus of the University of Tulsa, saying that if Muslims got in "Tulsa would burn." His statements against gays aren't quite as out there as Phelps, but close.

John said...

So following this logic...there is no way to be anti-war because you will always be supporting some evil dictator or power by being anti-war?

How on earth have you derived this statement from the text of my post?

And a side note, I thought the Taliban where in Afganistan, not in Iraq. Did I miss something? I thought they were protesting the war in Iraq not in Afganistan.

Your point being?

Nowhere in my post can it be read that I am making an argument for or against the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq. Rather, I am saying that the anti-war movement should not form political alliances with people who advocate profoundly evil ideologies.

There is merit to anti-war arguments, both pacifisitic and situational. But the validity of these arguments and their ability to persuade the American people is inhibited by the extreme views of many of the marchers. So the more reasonable anti-war folk should avoid political association with ideological lunatics.

John said...

If I remember correctly, the right has had some strange bedfellows as well, especially in relation to activism on abortion and sexuality.

Really? Who?

There are times when a common cause brings dissimilar groups and persons together in the desire to effect change. Do we support the other's belief system? Of course we don't. But we can agree on a common goal that both share.

Is it worth it to march alongside someone who wants for the US to withdraw from Iraq, if that person is also shouting for the extermination of the Jews, the murder of homosexuals, and institutionalization of communism instead of democracy?

John said...

Tulsa radio host Michael DelGiorno was the main organizer of Tulsa's pro-war rally in 2003, attended by Tulsa Mayor LaFortune and Senator Inhofe, among others. Among other things, DelGiorno has described Jimmy Carter as the "anti-Christ" and tried to organize opposition to an Islamic student center on the campus of the University of Tulsa, saying that if Muslims got in "Tulsa would burn." His statements against gays aren't quite as out there as Phelps, but close.

I hadn't heard of this before. Shameful. The Right should marginalize this guy into obscurity.

Gord said...

BUt sometimes I wonder. Given the current social/political mindset in the U.S. is it possible to be anti-war without automatically being called anti-American (and I recall that the same question came up 35 years ago during VietNam).

After all, there are many pundits who have decided that any country that chose not to be part of the "coalition of the willing" were atuomatically anti-USan--in much the same way that anyone who questions Israeli policies regarding the Palestinian questions is automatically called anti-Semitic. WHere is the line between honest debate/disagreement and name calling?

John said...

It's entirely possible to be anti-war without being anti-American. Daniel Flynn is a good example.

I'm referring to those who think of the terrorists in Iraq are 'freedom fighters' (e.g. Cindy Sheehan) or people who openly advocate terrorist attacks against the U.S. These were among the organizers of the anti-war marches in D.C. over the weekend.

Gord said...

I'm referring to those who think of the terrorists in Iraq are 'freedom fighters' (e.g. Cindy Sheehan) or people who openly advocate terrorist attacks against the U.S. These were among the organizers of the anti-war marches in D.C. over the weekend.

In the second csae we agree--advocating atacks against a country is surely anti-USan. In the first it may be a question of definition. Certainly the "insurgents" in Iraq are using acts of terror. But they are using them against an occupying force (the US Military and friends) and what could logically be considered a puppet government. If you use these definitions then they are indeed freedom fighters. I always try to remember that the difference between freedom fighter and terrorist is who wins (Menachem Begin of Israel for example)

John said...

Look at what your freedom fighters are up to, Gord.

Gord said...

JOhn I agreed they were using acts of terror. I also said that it was a matter of definition. COnsider some of the stories about how collaborators were treated after WW2, or the rape of Berlin, or the acts of the Irgun in pre-Israeli Palestine. None of them are condonable, none of them are allowable, all should be condemned strongly but in the end the victor writes history. That was my point--one person's terrorist may well be another's liberator, as hard as it may seem to believe given some of what we hear.

The principle of guerilla war is that you use acts of terror because you can not fight a "conventional" battle against an enemy who outpowers you by far.

ARe there terorists in Iraq? Sure. Likely on both sides. Fifty years from now we may be able to decide who was who. Mind you, I tend to look for the gray since I believe that few issues are black and white.

Gord said...

Looking at the link again it also reeks of an undeclared civil war. COme to think of it much of the Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence has had that scent. And that may actually put it into a different category than either terrorist or freedom fighter.

Attacks against foriegn military within Iraq's borders are much more easily described as acts of terror in the cause for one's own definition of freedom.

bob said...

Gord you could call them freedom fighters if the majority of these terrorists were Iraqi and were acting with the consesus.

John said...

So, Gord: do you agree with Sheehan that the 'insurgents' in Iraq are freedom fighters?

John said...

Oh, and as Bob said, they're not really insurgents either, since they're not (primarily) Iraqi or popular.

Gord said...

Actually I don't JOhn. But I do see how such an arguement could work. I also don't see them as insurgents--insurgency suggests a government to rebel against and when they started there was no such thing.

And according to Bob's logic the US and allies were not there to provide freedom either. Throughout history warring parties have used mercenaries and that really is what I see happening in Iraq.

The hard part of this is that ALL acts of war are by definition acts of terror--that is why war is never the first option. So it is not enough to dismiss people as terrorists just because they attack our allies. Such logic works only if you are 100% sure you are in the right. I am not sure the US even tries to claim 100% rightness anymore.

Sanctimonious Hypocrite said...

the difference between freedom fighter and terrorist is who wins

I think the difference between freedom-fighter and terrorist turns on which one is sawing off their screaming victim's head while shouting Allah Akbar. Well that, and who is actually fighting for freedom and who is fighting against it.

It is puzzling to me that some in America were able so clearly to identify right-wing paramilitary death squads in Latin America, but have so much trouble seeing them in Iraq today.

Tom Harrison

Gord said...

TOm,
The reverse holds true I am afraid--some had trouble seeing the death squads existence even (or the fact taht the governments that sponsored them were US backed). SOmetimes our politics can blind us. May we learn to have eyes that see, even when we don;t want to see.