November 2, 2005

Anti-war rally.

Today, in Madison.

Madison anti-war rally

Madison anti-war rally

Madison anti-war rally

98 comments:

Mary said...

I just hope your commenters don't tear into these young protestors too much.

Many people are greatly concerned about the loss of lives and bloodshed, it's not a joke to everyone.

Sadly, I was at the South Madison District today where the flag was lowered at half-staff for a reservist from our own Madison, Wisc. who died from war injuries.

All the talking in the world, all the political fighting, all the blog trafficking, etc. is not going to give life back to the dead. That's not so funny, but I don't think anyone is claiming yet it's not true or stupid to think that way.

Just curious: do you post these Madison photos, like the woman with the nightstick calling for riots, to make the city of Madison look bad?

It seems like the commenters always think the PC "liberals" here in Madison are responsible for everything, but it should be noted that we have a large contigent of conservative young men here who enjoy the drinking and police baiting as much as the PC "liberals".

Not sure if that is coming across to all your many readers forming their opinions of Madison based solely on this blog. It probably pays more to consider conservatism such a minority position on campus and on the isthmus, and radical liberalism as the norm.

Pancho said...

Ah life in the 60's.

Now wait? This was today??

(and I was concerned about bloodshed and the loss of life back in Vietnam....mainly my own as I roamed the high hills Kontum Pvc.)

SteveR said...

I'm pretty sure Ann posts pictures from Madison, because that's where she lives. That lovely picture of the blue bottle didn't make Madison look bad.

Ann Althouse said...

Stever: The blue bottle was in Paris.

As for today's photos: how could they be more neutral? I was walking from my office to State Street to get some lunch, saw something happening on the Mall, and tried to get some good photos, which I posted with the most minimal possible commentary. What you see is mainly what you project -- your own hopes and fears.

John said...

mary, from the looks of it, it's just another peaceful demonstration. useless, but peaceful.

it was more biographical, more than anything else. Althouse posts pics from the Madison area all the time. in these pics, there's no reason to think that there was anything out of the norm for a protest. no naked people, no people in cages, no people burning flags.

I love how you are so sensitized to think that conservatives are "out to get you" by showing liberals doing what liberals do. appearance is in the eye of the beholder. last night I had the "pleasure" of watching my first episode of Boston Legal. if I was somebody who hated the war, I would've loved that show.

but I'm not. what I see in this picture and what you see are probably different things. I see a bunch of whiners, you might see people protesting, thinking what they are doing is right.

as far as "police baiting" goes...I saw none of that. not even a pic of a cop. just people on the square.

if that makes Madison look bad, then it makes Madison look bad because it is bad. it's all about perception.

Brendan said...

Um, the "war" was over inside of a week two years ago. Are they protesting Iraq's reconstruction??

BTW, please post photos of leftist demonstrations against Iran's genocidal plea for Israel to be "wiped off the map." What's that you say? There aren't any? Hmmm.

Uncle Jimbo said...

Dear Ann,

I stopped down at the rally and it was a pretty weak event. The speakers had no juice and didn't even have any applause or jeers lines in their speeches. There were 4 or 5 cops but they were hardly necessary, there were 200 or so protestors and they were even shouted down when 25 college Republicans marched by chanting Support the Troops, Finish the Job.

If that is all there is on a beautiful fall day in the Mad City, I don't think there is much danger to W from the anti-war side.

He is in more danger from his own staff.

Cordially,

Uncle J

Mary said...

I was just commenting on the way some of these neutral photographs get commented on by some of your non-neutral commenters, and wondering if you are getting the responses you want in their comments. It seems like these posts encourage some of them to see what they like, like you say. Since I have lived there and observed with my own eyes, it kind of saddens me to see them wrongly interpret what is going on here. (see comments)

Mathew said...

Perhaps they had been dispersed by the time Ann arrived, but a much more vocal and passionate group of protestors was positioned just a few steps away from this one. I wish someone had gotten their picture as well.

Storming around a nearby abstract sculpture that as far as I can tell serves primarily as a skateboarding obstacle, a small group of 8-10 year olds enthusiastically chanted "What do we want? NO SCHOOL!!! When do we want it? NOW!!!"

They were actually overpowering whatever it was the war protestors were saying, and I could still hear the tots from well over a block away.

I found the whole thing hysterical, not so much because the kids were so damn cute (they were) but because of the devastatingly effective way it detracted from the power of the war protestors' message. To wit, the chances of these anti-war protestors actually changing the nations policy on the war were about as good as those kids convincing their principal to give them a few extra days off.

Of course everyone knows that protesting isn't as much about promoting change as it is about making yourself feel good, and in that regard I'm sure both groups succeeded magnificently. Good for them.

Icepick said...

Ann Althouse: As for today's photos: how could they be more neutral? I was walking from my office to State Street to get some lunch, saw something happening on the Mall, and tried to get some good photos, which I posted with the most minimal possible commentary. What you see is mainly what you project -- your own hopes and fears.

Ann Althouse is your worst nightmare: an artist with a law degree!

Icepick said...

Well, okay, not your worst nightmare. But maybe someone's: some squirrel, or perhaps a bat.

Meade said...

Brendan: Spot on.

vnjagvet said...

Mary you are a bit sensitive, it seems to me. I thought the pictures showed nothing but a peaceful gathering. Something perfectly appropriate on a college campus.

What is wrong with that observation from your perspective?

Mary said...

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide bomber detonated a minibus Wednesday in an outdoor market packed with shoppers ahead of a Muslim festival, killing about 20 people and wounding more than 60 in a Shiite town south of Baghdad. Six U.S. troops were killed, two in a helicopter crash west of the capital.
----
My photo comments (hell, if you can't beat em, join em):
Heh, some of those people look like they haven't showered in days. Heh. Bunch of pathetic hippie whiners. Heh. Ought to be tear gassed themselves, heh. You hear what Iran said? These liberal Madison kids probably support that! Heh. Lazy asses should get their butts into their liberal arts classes so my tax dollars don't end up supporting their PC views. Heh. (insert your own funny joke about a squirrel and half-eaten nut here to finish out the rant these neutral photos have inspired.) Heh--heh. It's all so damn funny
---
Or am I projecting my own hopes and fears into the majority of these comments too?

Mary said...

"Mary you are a bit sensitive, it seems to me. I thought the pictures showed nothing but a peaceful gathering. Something perfectly appropriate on a college campus."
---
Are you talking to me, or to the other commenters who have interpreted these much differently than you and me? Let's just say I saw their words coming...

Jake said...

You mean the Anti-freedom, anti-democracy, pro rape squads, pro-people shredders, pro communist dictator rally.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Uncle Jimbo. I also noticed a high percentage of older folks. Many of the signs are left over from last year -- like that "Vote or Die" sign.

I heard a folksinger repeatedly singing the line "Are you as pissed off as I am?" without getting shouts of "yes" from the crowd or sing-alongs, though the words were easily learned.

I heard a speaker describe a student at Kent State who hung a banner on the military recruiters' climbing wall. We were asked to be outraged that the student (who had been in the military) received a $150 fine and was threatened with expulsion.

As to the war being over: what you call reconstruction, they call occupation. So it's really an anti-occupation rally. I'm not sure if they used the term "anti-war," so maybe my title is bad.

But it was a beautiful day, and the rally was very mellow and peaceful. For all the "pissed off" lyrics, people didn't seem angry.

Later, I did see a number of women wearing "Resist or Die" T-shirts. I'm not sure how to interpret that, but it seems to me to be a statement of support for the insurgents. If that's not what they mean, they've chosen a very poor slogan.

Dhun said...

I'll make a comment that isn't neutral.

I see a stupid sign in that crowd which says..."Stop the War on Iraq".

There is plenty to criticize in an endeavor (waging war) that was a decision between something horrible or something worse.

I think it's worth perusing some of the stories written by Michael Yon to offset the "if it bleeds it leads" fixation of the networks.

http://www.michaelyon.blogspot.com/

The opposition to the war must have had to be able to predict a state of affairs even worse than the one the war was to remedy. Some did claim to have the soothsayer-like ability to predict a Stalingrad in Baghdad or a quagmire from day two, much like those, now discredited, who predicted a refugee crisis and intentional starvation of hundreds of thousands in Afghanistan which never came to pass.

The sole convincing moral case against the war would have had to demonstrate, either for certain or within a high likelihood that that the consequences of a regime change war were worse than the standing regime.
There were legitimate grounds for doubt and worry that the regime change project in Iraq would come to fail. The view that the war was risky kept some from endorsing it, but everything depends on the manner in which this view was and is articulated.

The general war opponent, in my experience have been those, certain of their view, speaking as if there were no case on the other side, often spoke to everything else they could think of in order to not have to speak to the weight of the moral calculus to be applied.

In my judgement, history will grade this a just action.

Meade said...

"Or am I projecting my own hopes and fears into the majority of these comments too?"

Yes, Mary, you are projecting.

Dave said...

So how much you wanna bet that "Mary" is some interloper just throwing out non sequiturs in the hopes of getting us to comment on how utterly incomprehensible her comments are?

Well, I guess you got me. I just commented on how incomprehensible her comments are.

Ann Althouse said...

Icepick makes a play for a spot on the Althouse banner.

Meade said...

These make an interesting juxtaposition to Ann's photos today. (scroll down)

XWL said...

Other than the college Republican counter-protests most of these events (and not only in Madison, across the country) haven't been student driven.

Students today will gather if alcohol, fun or sports are the theme, but politics seem to be a big turn off for the majority of today's traditionally considered college age folks (I use the akward wording to reflect that many colleges have a multitude of students older than the 18-24 year olds that used to make up the majority of students).

But the overwhelming and overriding reaction I feel when seeing these kinds of pictures will now and always be (cause there will be future conflicts, and as long as boomers remain on this earth they will gather to protest what they perceive as American militarism) to release my inner Cartman and retort, "effin hippies".

and those 'resist or die' t-shirts aren't unfortunate wording, they are a sincere expression of the protester's hatred and rage against the military and their sincere wish that those evil deluded fools who join the all volunteer military get the deaths they deserve.

(a lot of the false 'support our troops' rhetoric has fallen away now that there isn't an election looming)

Icepick said...

Mary: [I]nsert your own funny joke about a squirrel and half-eaten nut here to finish out the rant these neutral photos have inspired.

And again shortly thereafter:
Are you talking to me, or to the other commenters who have interpreted these much differently than you and me? Let's just say I saw their words coming...

Oh, no. No way you saw the squirrel comment coming! And I've got the time-stamps to prove it! And for the record, YOU were the person bringing up the half-eaten nut, not me!

Eddie said...

Your pictures and your blog is better reporting than both MS Madison newspapers!

Art said...

Mary made it sound as if opposition to the war was only found in "liberal" hotbeds like Madison.
According to the latest USA Today/Gallup poll 54 percent of Americans think the Iraq war was a mistake.
And as for it not being a war: Tell that to the families of the soldiers who died this week.
It's a war.

Icepick said...

Ann, in the full-sized version of the second photo, there is a sign that says "Stop the War Against Iraq". So your title is apt, even if the demonstration isn't.

Incidentally, the "Stop the War" stuff is part of the sign front and center, and appears to be two bumperstickers encased in some sort of plastic. They'll make for good collectibles in the future.

The demonstration appears to be a wierd mix of anachronisms, with signs from 2003 and 2004, demonstrators from the 1960s, and also a 1980s Ivy League Gen-X kind of "I wish we were Boomers" vibe. But then, I'm stuck in 2006, so what the hell do I know....

James said...

The protestors had apparently walked up the hill and were making their way across campus in the middle of the street (followed by a police car, presumably so cars wouldn't run over them). I was on the campus bus, which was crawling along behind the police car. It's very irritating when you're an actual student to have a bunch of 50+ -year-old protestors keep you from getting where you need to go.

It's a fair walk, so the crowd had apparently thinned--I'd put it at less than 100 when the bus got trapped behind it. Definitely much smaller than my lecture--

PatCA said...

Yes, Dave, I suspect mary is indeed a troll. But the responses are fun, so what they hey.

And many thanks to Dave. We are all such soulless cretins here that we deserve the occasional slap with moral superiority. Do you object to all deaths or just those caused by a Bush-led war?

Mary said...

It's all so funny.

Just a big joke.

Clever quips.

Blog traffic.

Got it.

Pogo said...

It must be nice to be "mary," who knows that Many people are greatly concerned about the loss of lives and bloodshed", and intones solemnly, it's not a joke to everyone.

Gosh, and me over here laughing about the war dead and all. How embarrassing.

"Mary" is part of the anointed, who can't seem to figure out how everyone doesn't support the 'peace at any cost' approach. Frankly, their arguments are both dull and whiney. Wake up, Mary. We are at war. You are not offering a viable solution here. Peace protests are pointless wastes of time. Their participants deserve to be mocked.

Does it make Madison look bad? No.
It does make these protesters look like a South Park episode, though.

Icepick said...

Dave, PatCA, there is no reason to call Mary a troll. Perhaps she's projecting her own impressions on others, or overly sincere, or creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I'm pretty sure I've seen her comments here before, she's filled out as much of a profile as I have, and it's not like she has come in tossing around obscenities, or violated Godwin's Law. So chill. Calling people a troll when they're not actually trolling is kind of trollish behavior itself. Which means I'm kind of trolling here, although I'm also making a play for Ann's banner.

Besides Dave, you and Mary have something in common, both being born under the sign of Libra. And PatCA, you and Mary share a whole gender! Really, can't we all just get along? Except for the bats. And the phantom squirrels. Phantom squirrels are just the worst....

APF said...

Mary: it's perfectly valid to post pictures of a protest rally on your weblog. It's perfectly valid to be pro- or anti- the whatever you want to call it in Iraq, and to make comments reflecting your position. People who want troops to stay in there "until the job is done" as someone commented here have every right to that opinion, both regardless and because of how many people have died in trying to carry-out that mission. It seems like the only one minimizing the reality of these events is you through your passive-aggressive trolling.

Pogo said...

In fact, in my mind, the protesters are an example of what's wrong with the left. All theatrics and counter-culture childishness, never having a plan to be adults and confront the world with, oh, an actual plan or anything.

It's the easy way out. Complain about everything, and leave a mess at the park for the rest of us to pick up. Jerks.

Mary said...

"Mary" is part of the anointed, who can't seem to figure out how everyone doesn't support the 'peace at any cost' approach. Frankly, their arguments are both dull and whiney. Wake up, Mary. We are at war. You are not offering a viable solution here. Peace protests are pointless wastes of time. Their participants deserve to be mocked."
---
OK, last post from me.

I disagree with the above, and all of ya's making cheap jokes on such a solemn matter.

Not sure if your esteemed host agrees with the last sentence; I suspect it doesn't matter much.

Not sure who annointed me for the peace at any cost position. What is all the bloodshed and dead innocents for? Us to laugh at? Isn't true democracy -- where all the people count approximately equally at some level -- about protests, however ineffectual?

No matter your views on this war/occupation/reconstruction, or mine, is it really that f'n funny all these dead people? South Park funny? Is that what levels we've reached here?

If so, keep your superior ways. I'd rather be a dumb simpleton who respects life than a fat, content commenter who laughs at the deaths of other people and criticizes people who are sincere in their beliefs.

Flame away computer boys! :)

Adriana Bliss said...

"Peace protests are pointless wastes of time."

LOL - great quote for the day of Rosa Parks' funeral.

Tori said...

man those are some dirty looking hippies!! If I were you I'd run a comb through my hair looking for head lice! They like inhabiting dreadlocks.

Tori said...

mary, you are hilaroius!

Ann- I love your blog and I will link to it.

whit said...

I recently saw a PBS documentary on the first major UW-Madison Vietnam War sit-in that resulted in the Madison P.D. cracking heads cica 1967. This was the beginning of the real anit-war movement. Something tells me there might be a small cadre of individuals who would like to recreate the golden years in Madison.

APF said...

"True democracy"--a term I'll interpret as rhetorical rather than descriptive--is more about the right of the people to protest than any presumption of effects manifesting from those protests. We vote representatives into leadership positions; we don't vote for every position of our leadership. No one is making fun of people who have died--especially not when you made your first comment, which was the first comment to this post!

Ann Althouse said...

Mary: People who support the war don't favor death. Every time you say that you motivate the people who are responding negatively to you. Some things are worth fighting for, and people will die if you don't fight for some things. It just doesn't make sense to people who support the war when someone on the other side treats us as if we don't understand what death is or we don't care. We just wonder why you don't want to talk about the deaths that occurred before we got serious and fought or that would occur in the future if we didn't fight. We tend to think the larger number of deaths occurs without fighting and that life will be better for the living and for future generations.

Ann Althouse said...

Adrianna: peace protest ≠ peaceful protest. Rosa Parks and the people who formed a movement around her fought for something that was worth fighting for. Some of them died for the cause.

Ann Althouse said...

Whit: Thanks for reminding me of that documentary. I have it TiVo'd.

Adriana Bliss said...

Ann, I'm sorry, I don't see the difference here. The group of people in Madison were speaking their mind without violence, attempting to draw attention to their cause. Are you saying people who protest the war (wastful time peace protesting is) aren't rallying around a worthy cause? Or you're saying protesting the Iraq war isn't as worthy as civil rights in the U.S.?

wildaboutharrie said...

Is it corny to look for common ground here? Do those who did support the war effort admit that people have a right to feel angry or disappointed about the bad intelligence, the miscalculations about the insurgency, the post war fumbles?

Do those who did not support the war allow that we owe it to the Iraqi people not to cut and run? Is the trial of Saddam Hussein a good thing? How about the vote on the constitution?

Is anyone else completely turned off by the “black and white”ness of so many discussions on Iraq?

wildaboutharrie said...

"and those 'resist or die' t-shirts aren't unfortunate wording, they are a sincere expression of the protester's hatred and rage against the military and their sincere wish that those evil deluded fools who join the all volunteer military get the deaths they deserve."

XWL, how do you know? Have you spoken to someone wearing that shirt and asked?

Paul said...

Appeasement always leads to more deaths eventually.
No way is that a dove in the last photo, that is a Seagull. A peace seagull.

Ann Althouse said...

Adrianna: I'm probably wrong but I had the impression that you were mocking the people who supported the war on this day of Parks's funeral. If not, never mind.

Brendan said...

Mary is suffering from a big-time persecution complex. Ann posts (innocuous) photos with zero commentary attached and some people can't help but go apesh*t.

Sounds like you're describing "The War at Home." Lots of footage of gas canisters being thrown around Bascom Hill and B-10 Commerce.

XWL said...

This whole thread illustrates the bifurcation of reality that seems to infest every aspect of perception recently.

Those supportive of thwarting Islamo-fascism by attacking one of the regions biggest (and most vulnerable) dictators see the current counter-insurgency fighting and loss of life as a necessary component on the multi-generational battle for survival for Edmund Burke style classic liberalism.

If we lose in Iraq, than we lose in Paris, and Kuala Lampur, and Londonistan, but if we continue to win in Iraq (and the elections and increasing participation of the Sunni in Iraq along with the moderation of the Shia and Kurds suggest we are winning despite the 'grim milestone') than the idea that the classical liberalist traditions of the west weaken our democracies rather than strengthen them will also be defeated along with the idea that mass terror can be used as an effective political tool.

There are still many people who see America's military as the biggest threat to peace in the world, and absolutely nothing will change the mindset of those folks, but far more people (at least within the U.S., Western Europe for the most part is a lost cause (but the former Warsaw Pact is much more on our side)) will realize that American military strength's main result is the strengthening of peace.

The bloodshed in Iraq is for peace, not against it, so to answer Adrian the protesters pictured aren't protesting for peace, but instead they are protesting FOR terror, nihilism, and embracing the abyss.

Troy said...

Adrianna,

Let's nopt forget that Rosa Parks was brave and did what she did at real risk and without the idea that a Rev. Action Jackson or Tawana Sharpton would come to her rescue to extort money from the bus company.

These protestors risk nothing save for 2 hours of comp vacation time or whatever.

Rosa Parks fought for something. These folks are reactionary -- all anti-Bush or anti-war all the time -- with some exceptions to that broad brush I'm sure.

Joseph Angier said...

I've heard for years about Americans who "don't want to talk about the deaths that occurred before we got serious and fought and would occur in the future if we didn't fight," but I have yet to meet a single person who fits that description. For those of us who watched the Towers fall, and who knew people who perished in them , that's a ferociously insulting characterization. I don't know anyone who didn't want to fight back, and fight back hard. You can feel that way and still be appalled at the planning and execution of our Iraqi venture, and see it as a fatal distraction to a real fight against our terrorist enemies. As for the deaths in Saddam's Iraq, I know several reporters who saw first-hand the brutality of Hussein's regime, were overjoyed at his overthrow, and are now stunned by what a mess our ill-planned invasion has unleashed ... so much so that it's hard to get them to say something simple like "At least life is better than under Saddam."

I personally don't think running around with protest signs is productive, but please don't assume that those who were against the Iraq war didn't, or don't, see the need to fight.

PatCA said...

Adriana,
Were you equating the two?
Peace protests, full of comradeship and puppets, reiterating long rejected agendas, with only a slap on the wrist as a possible consequence, are somewhat a waste of time.

Rosa Parks did not stage anything like today's get-togethers; she bravely performed solo, a revolutionary act of civil disobedience that was extremely dangerous to herself and her family.

PatCA said...

Oh, sorry if I used "troll" as a pejorative. I thought it was someone who argued for the sake of argument. Sorry, mary.

Ann Althouse said...

Joseph: Nice to see you again. You don't know people who think like that? I've found it to be the norm in Madison. I was reviled even for supporting the war in Afghanistan. And I posted here in response to Mary who took the attitude that people who support the wars don't seem to fathom what death is. Again, that is a comfortable attitude to express here in Madison.

Icepick said...

Adriana write: "Peace protests are pointless wastes of time."

LOL - great quote for the day of Rosa Parks' funeral.


Rosa Parks didn't stage a peace protest. Hers was a planned act of civil disobedience designed to cause a 'scene', create a legal fight, and to publicize the injustice of American segregation laws.

The 'peace protest' that Ann photographed today, on the other hand, was not an act of civil disobedience (They were excercising their right of assembly.), will create no legal fights, will not highlight the injustice of American foreign policy, and won't cause much of a scene, beyond Ann's comment section.

Also, I find it disgusting that these people choose today to protest, as they are essentially protesting AGAINST Iraqi civil rights.

Brendan said...

Just be glad that former student radical Paul Soglin is no longer your Mayor.

Adriana Bliss said...

Ann, I wasn't mocking the supporters of the war at all - I found it funny to say peace protesting was a waste of time, on the day of Rosa Parks' funeral, i.e. she used a peaceful method to change America. Again, simply found the irony funny without commenting yay or nay on the Madison folks or the supporters.

Patca, your description of modern-time war protestor sounds like a page out of Dick Cheney's diary. But onto the merits of your post, as far as comparing the Iraq war protestors and Rosa Parks, I'm sure there are some parallel points given more time to analyze, and I know there are distinctions. Perhaps without Rosa Parks, such uneventful protests (such as Madison's) wouldn't be possible.

I do believe Rosa Parks now stands alongside other peaceful protestors offering a better way to a better world. It's too bad more people don't subscribe to her ways, it's too bad some people don't respond to peaceful methods.

Eli Blake said...

I don't doubt the sincerity of those who support the war. I just think they are wrong.

The entire justification for the war was false. And people like Joe Wilson warned in advance that it was false. But intelligence was picked and chosen with a pre-set agenda in mind.

Then, when they didn't find WMD, they changed the whole rationale for the war (or tried to). It was about terrorism. Well, that is half right. The only al-Qaeda concentration in Iraq when we invaded was in a camp hundreds of miles behind Kurdish lines and nowhere near anywhere Saddam controlled. But now, they are flooding into Iraq to fight us. The problem is, that as the recent London and Bali bombings showed, this in no way prevents them from carrying out attacks elsewhere, and when they do, it is hard to see how any of it is facilitated through Iraq. So, we have over 100,000 Americans there with the proverbial big target on them, and our enemies have been using methods-- mostly roadside bombs, supplemented by occasional mortar attacks or suicide bombers, that allow them to pick off Americans in ones and twos and threes without coming under direct attack themselves. And as the continuing toll shows (four more today), they just as effective at it now as they have been in the past. So of what benefit is it in the war against terror to have our army marching around Iraq?

Then, it was about Democracy. Hmmm. Can you name ANYBODY who would have supported our invading the place if the original justification was 'to change their form of government?' And if it really was, then why wasn't that given as a reason pre-war? Further, they now have a government. So even if that was the justication, WHAT ARE WE STILL DOING HERE?

Pete said...

Joseph Angier,

Amazing.

You were appalled at the planning and execution of “the Iraqi venture” and so you’re saying what, exactly? That you support a stronger, swifter action in Iraq? More sanctions? Weapons inspectors? And what about this “fatal distraction from the real fight against our terrorist enemies?” If we weren’t in Iraq, we’d be doing what? And these reporters you know. I can’t believe you’re really saying these eyewitnesses to Saddam’s brutality now find it difficult to admit that things are better because our execution of the war was less than perfect.

Come on. I know this is only the comments section for Ann’s blog but before you invoke the dead from the Towers, I’d like some specifics. How you would have done things differently.

No, I have a feeling that you and the people you describe and these people in these pictures would never find a reason to fight. Or would do so only if it were “their” elected leader. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. But don’t try to convince me you opposed the war because our execution of it, and the remaining war on terror, wasn’t as robust as you’d like.

Now, please prove I’m wrong.

Goatwhacker said...


Is anyone else completely turned off by the “black and white”ness of so many discussions on Iraq?


Yesss!!! (waves hand wildly)

Jennifer said...

Then, it was about Democracy. Hmmm. Can you name ANYBODY who would have supported our invading the place if the original justification was 'to change their form of government?

Eli, the mission has been named Operation Iraqi FREEDOM from day one. Not Operation Let's Just Get The WMDs And Bail or Operation Find The Terrorists And Run or Operation Only Stick Around Long Enough To Get Credit.

miklos rosza said...

Tomorrow night in Rome there is going to be a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy against the leader of Iran having recently said Israel should be (and will be, soon) wiped off the face of the earth.

Iran has announced that anyone attending this demonstration will be considered a Zionist.

Therefore, anyone attending this demonstration is in fact actually risking something, not that hypothetically either when one considers the character of the Iranian secret police, especially as now driven by the hardline new president (who is purging anyone the least bit moderate from the Iranian govt even as we speak).

EddieP said...

I have no problems with students conducting peaceful protests. I have a big problem with people who say that they support the war or we need to have this fight and then launch into a diatribe about being appalled that it hasn't been perfect.

There is no perfect war, there is no perfect government, there is no perfect plan, there is no perfect outcome, there is no perfect peace. The best anyone can do is to try to make the outcome as good as it can be under the ever changing circumstances.

Above all the griping about imperfect results, I want to know how Iraq could have been moved from where it was in July of 2003 to where it is today in less time with fewer screwups.

The first step was to try to put together some kind of provisional government; get them to write an interim Constitution; and for us to return soverignty. That took 12 months. Wow, why so long?

The second step was to prepare for elections and to elect an interim government charged with writing a Constitution. That dragged on for another 6 months. Jeez, can't these people do anything right?

Third was to write the constitution with the cooperation of the multiple tribes, religious factions, etc. and then conduct a referendum on that. Another eight months. What was Bush thinking?

Finally we are to have more elections at the 30 month mark to elect a permanent government.

All this in spite of an insurgency that targets women and children and murders and decapitates innocents, and an MSM which has been a constant cheerleader for the jihadis.

What could have been done more quickly and more perfectly?

the Rising Jurist said...

I saw this crowd today over lunch and my favorite thing was how the new school (anti-Bush) didn't seem to know what to make of the old-school (anti-war).

There was a man from a local Socialist organization, clearly around since the time of Vietnam, who argued against administrations sending young people to fight their wars. When he said something to the effect of "This problem didn't start in 2000!" the crowd really wasn't sure what to make of it.

Icepick said...

ALTHOUSE

"Formidable Law Blogger Ann Althouse." - Slate

"The Divine Ms. Althouse." - Terry Teachout

"Althouse Is Cool." - Jonah Goldberg

"She's Smarter Than Me." Glenn "Puppy Blender" Reynolds

"Your Worst Nightmare: An Artist With A Law Degree." - Formerly Common Kitchen Utensil

I definitely think my quote is better than Slate's (BOR-ing!), probably better than Reynolds' (I mean really, LOTS of people are smarter than Glenn!), and comparable to Goldberg's (which should be said Beavis and Butt-Head style). Teachout has me beat, but then Terry's one cool and classy dude, even if he is sort of recycling Bette Midler's old moniker.

So I understand keeping Reynolds' quote because of the traffic, and the Teachout quote because it's Teachout, and Goldberg's for the B&B reference, but surely I should bump Slate! Come on, Ann, where's the love?

Joseph Angier said...

I see what you're up against Ann ... I've never actually been to Wisconsin, but I always imagined that Madison was a midwestern Berkeley, and it sounds like that's the case.

Henry said...

Icepick -- that's the best laugh I've had all day. I was determined to be solemn, after mary's post, but you killed that idea.

In all seriousnous, I like the "vote or die" slogan that one of the protesters is holding. I have a good friend who sports a bumper sticker on his car that reads "This car runs on blood." Think about it. "Vote or Die" has the same abiguity.

"VOTE OR DIE"

That's kind of a good slogan for Iraqi constitutionalists, isn't it? Set up a democracy, or the murder and mayhem will go on. Or worse, it will return to its previous Baathist levels.

It would also be a great slogan for U.S. Marines doing search and destroy missions against insurgents, would it not?

"VOTE OR DIE. SEMPER FI."

John said...

As to "Resist or Die," I think it's probably a harmlessly intended riff on P. Diddy's 2004 youth-oriented slogan "Vote or Die." Here's an article about that slogan (including photos of the attractive tee-shirts that were made last year). The original "Vote or Die" slogan must still have some currency, because it can be seen on a sign in Ann's second picture.

Additionally, the word "resist" is often found in academic left contexts, with a meaning that has to do with collective action against prevailing political structures. You can hear it in such phrases as "the growing resistance to capitalist hegemony in the global South." I would bet that, in a bookish town like Madison, the women in those tee-shirts that Ann saw were thinking of that sense of the word "resist" rather than the sense of the "Iraqi resistance."

Of course, whoever made the "Resist or Die" tee-shirts was tone deaf not to anticipate reactions like Ann's. It's a bad slogan because of the ambiguity of the word "resist" in this context.

John said...

Ann, I just noticed that you mentioned the "vote or die" slogan too. Sorry if I belabored the obvious.

wildaboutharrie said...

Pete -

"My guy" is not president. (For the record, both times I wrote in a name, I just couldn't, couldn't support either one.)

I supported the war in Afghanistan. Wholeheartedly. I talked long and loud about it, though I lived in a liberal city with lots of puppet weilding protesters and taught in a high school where almost all of my colleagues were against the war. If I had not been too old to sign up to serve, I would seriously have considered it.

I did not support the war in Iraq.

Lots of people don't fit your narrow stereotype.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Eli wrote 11/02/05:

Can you name ANYBODY who would have supported our invading the place if the original justification was 'to change their form of government?' And if it really was, then why wasn't that given as a reason pre-war?

George W. Bush said 01/28/03:

And as we and our coalition partners are doing in Afghanistan, we will bring to the Iraqi people food and medicines and supplies -- and freedom.

Meade said...

Henry Woodbury said...

"VOTE OR DIE. SEMPER FI."

I like it. Or how about, for Ann's banner (since all four now up there are tired),
"THINK OR DIE. SEMPER FI?"

Pastor Jeff: Amen.

wildaboutharrie said...

PS Pete - In regard to people not fitting that stereotype, I hope you look on that as a good thing. It may be easier to dismiss people who disagree with you as folks who take a position by rote, but why should debate over something so important as this war be easy?

Also, as I mentioned before, many of us who didn't support the war don't want to pull out and leave the Iraqi people at the mercy of thugs and extremists. There are reasonable, moral people all sides of this debate. Aren't you glad?

wildaboutharrie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eli Blake said...

Jennifer (7:07) and Pastor Jeff (7:37):

I will concede that changing their form of government was given as A justification for the war. (I will even mention the phrase, 'regime change' to bolster your point).

Of course it is standard fare anymore anytime we go to war for any reason anywhere to demonize the opposing leader whether it is true or not, 'Noriega is a bad guy,' 'Aidid is a bad guy,' 'Milosevic is a bad guy,' 'Mullah Omar is a bad guy,' 'Saddam is a bad guy,' etc.
My point though, is that it was at best the number three justification given, after WMD's and Terrorism (both direct threats to the United States). Most Americans agree on the need to protect the United States, but simply supporting invading another country to change their government is not a position supported by anything like a majority of Americans, or even more than a tiny minority (and if you don't believe that, consider that we have a real bad guy who is a nuisance, but not a threat, in Cuba; But if you ask any group of Americans (Miami residents excepted) if they think we should actually invade the place, I doubt if you will get out of single digit percentages in favor. And so it would have been with Saddam if that was the only justification that was given.)

wildaboutharrie said...

Goatwacker - I hope you see me waving back at you. I'm wearing shades of grey.

PatCA said...

Eli, are you saying your list of thugs are not bad guys, worthy of the noose?

To say we simply "demonize" someone and invade their country for the heck of it is a reductio ad absurdum. We didn't invade Finland, for crying out loud, we invaded Saddam's Iraq after he lost a legal war and violated all the terms of its cease fire for 12 years.

But I know I will never convince you, so why did I repeat that all over again?

miklos rosza said...

I don't understand the utility of arguing about what is in effect ancient history (reason #2 vs reason #3 and what was emphasized to whoever's satisfaction) as opposed to dealing with what happens next, what now?

How can we make the best of the situation we're in now? That's a lot more interesting and germane than disingenuous debating points about 2003.

Pastor_Jeff said...

Eli,

Your exact point (7:03) was that Bush sold the war ONLY on WMD, then when that didn't work, the rationale became terrorism, then it became democracy. In your last post, you've conceded that isn't actually true. I think your arguments would be more persuasive if they were based in fact.

After your post, I went back and re-read the '03 State of the Union address. It's really an enlightening thing to do, since everyone is convinved that evil Chimpy McHitlerBurton was determined to avenge his dad no matter what, and based whole the war on nothing more than Niger yellowcake even though noble, selfless Joe Wilson tried to stop the lying liars before they killed the innocent Iraqi children flying kites under blue skies in Saddam's peaceful Iraq. But when they wouldn't listen and sent the stormtroopers in anyway, of course they didn't find the WMD (that Clinton, Gore, and the UN said he had) because poor Saddam was just a victim of US imperialism, just like his poor, noble wife Valerie who was outed by BushRoveCheney to get back at poor, noble, selfless Joe Wilson, and now Iraq's a quagmire and Cindy Cheehan has perfect moral authority, so bring home the troops now because Bush lied and people died!

Did I miss any salient points? Or as others have asked, what's the left actually proposing to make things better, besides "End the Bush Regime," "Bring the Troops Home," and "Free Peltier"?

P.S. Whatever happened to "No Blood for Oil"? That one had a nice ring to it.

Pogo said...

Looks like mary picked up her ball and went home. Too bad.

Maybe if she'd stuck around she'd learn that this is not some toss-off subject, that she does not hold the moral high ground simply by claiming to be more concerned about war than I am, that there is a fearsome fury borne against a modern resurgence of fascism, that the West deserves to be saved, even if people like mary think violence never solved anything (except, you know, the death of Hitler, and the end of US slavery), that righteous anger is demanded when innocent US civilians die in the plot to instigate a worldwide caliphate, that the ability to protest peacefully in Madison, Wisconsin only exists at all because men and women in uniform shed their blood to defend that very right.

Don't presume that ethics and justice resides in peace at any cost. Take your ball home, and the high horse you rode in on.

Criminey, I have known so many people like mary: kind but self-righteous, nice but deluded, tolerant to excess, and wilfully blind to the evil around them. They often make great neighbors, and ideal victims. How to reach them?

Goatwhacker said...

How can we make the best of the situation we're in now? That's a lot more interesting and germane than disingenuous debating points about 2003.

Miklos, for me the answer to that goes back to the reasons why I originally supported the war. First, I felt that removing Saddam Hussein was justifiable on a humanitarian basis, similar to the reasoning used for removing Milosevic. Secondly, I felt the US had a moral responsibility to the surviving Iraqi resistance, especially Kurds, who we essentially left to be killed after the first Gulf War. Clearly those are different than the reasons given by GWB, but I felt that doing the right thing for a different reason than I had was still doing the right thing.

So today it's unthinkable to me that the US should again break it's responsibility to Iraq and just walk away as the peace protestors suggest. The US cannot let Iraq fall back into the humanitarian disaster that it was and it cannot let down the Iraqi people who have stuck their necks out and allied with us. People might chime in that in a sense we have created a new humanitarian disaster to replace the old and they have a point, many Iraqi innocents have died. The ultimate goal though should be a peaceful, autonomous Iraq with a reasonable degree of safety for it's citizens.

How to do that? I don't have a better answer than to do what we're already doing, imperfect as that may be. It's tough to gauge how things are over there since so much of the info we get is polarized, the left seems to paint things as bad as possible, the right as rosy as possible. I like what Michael Yon has written but it bugs me he is so lauded by the right, it makes me worried about what he chooses to tell and not to tell. It's hard to answer your question about what to do now since the situation is probably nowhere near as bad as one side says, and not as good as the other. Not a very good answer I'm afraid.

West Coast Independent said...

Eli wrote 11/02/05:

Can you name ANYBODY who would have supported our invading the place if the original justification was 'to change their form of government?'

Yes as a matter of fact. I can. The primary reason I supported and still support the war effort is the overthrow of Saddam and the establishment of a democratic society in Iraq.

Noumenon said...

Icepick: the quote I would like to see in Ann's header is

"Well, okay, not your worst nightmare. But maybe someone's: some squirrel, or perhaps a bat."

Undercover Christian said...

The primary reason I supported and still support the war effort is the overthrow of Saddam and the establishment of a democratic society in Iraq.

Same here.

And I recall this being the main justification for war. Only the media reported it as being solely based on WMD. The point was to change the government, set up a democracy, "drain the swamp" of fascism in the Middle East that leads to terrorism, and prevent Saddam from giving WMDs to terrorists.

I also remember telling my husband before the war that it was a media setup; that all the media ever talked about were WMDs (ignoring all the other major reasons); that by the time we got there all of those would be in Syria hidden, or destroyed; and that the media would try to say "gotcha." I am not "got."

XWL said...

The local media here in L.A. covered a similar event in Westwood (go Bruins!).

So the timing had to do with the year anniversary of the re-election of Pres. Bush?!? (and they plan to do this every Nov 2nd since that is ever more a dark day in human history, possibly even a day of infamy)

Funny that a group of people who align themselves with an organization called MoveOn are about as incapabable of 'moving on' as humanly possible.

wildaboutharrie said...

I'm sorry, Alex, that's revisionist. WMDs and SH's nuclear program were always discussed as the primary reason for going to war, and for the urgency. It's what made Iraq different from other countries with brutal dictators. It was not a media distortion. Go back and read the President's speeches leading up to the war.

(Also, there's been no evidence that WMDs were exported to Syria.)

There were many good reasons to get rid of SH, to liberate the Iraqi people, and these were included in the rationale for the war, but weapons were the front line.

Someone suggested it's more important (and interesting) to leave off on the question and focus on what to do now abot Iraq. Yes, I agree, and it's more urgent, but we have to resolve how we got here. If our intelligence was bad, we have to look at why, what happened, and how to prevent it from happening again. If there were shortcuts taken in intelligence because the administration was certain about the WMDs (IF, I'm not accusing anyone), there needs to be accountability.

Yes, people are using this for political advantage, and that's distasteful, but not surprising. (Especially galling are the Senate Democrats who voted for the war and are now whining about being misled ...um, you had access to all the intelligence, no?) But this one cannot be blamed on the media.

XWL said...

My mistake, the one group of 'progressives' not aligned with the organizers of yesterday's protest are the MoveOn.org folks (they aren't progressive enough!)

The 'Resist or Die' folks are starting the World Can't Wait movement that demands the entire Bush Regime leave now (along with presumably every Republican and moderate Democrat, these folks make Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer look right wing).

(visit worldcantwait.net to see for yourself)

Following the links on the site and reading their propaganda this movement is clearly steeped in the usual marxist intellectual horse dung.

They are making a big show of enlisting high school aged students of color (presumably to deny the evil machine from receiving more cannon fodder).

They're planning to 'drown out' the upcoming State of the Union address because that's where Bush first spread his lies (or some such nonsense).

Let's be honest (I listened to the main organizer's speech (Sunsara Taylor, a writer for the Revolution Newspaper) and she liked to use that phrase) these aren't your usual 60s rejects, they are even fringier than that, these are marxist wannabes who seem devoted to transforming society into a workers' paradise (where noone works, just protest all day it seems, sort of like France).

They are hiding their anti-corporation agenda for the moment in the hopes that a wave of Bush hatred will transform the political landscape into one favorable to a marxist-leninist-maoist takeover of the apparatus of government. The situation in Iraq is merely a pretext for an attempt to radicalize the general population.

I guess if you are going to fantasize, fantasize BIG.

(and so far, though the extremity of their anti-Bush rhetoric may eventually lead to violence, they are constantly preaching the virtues of non-violence and no property damage, just disruption of economic activity and schooling instead through masses and marches at inconvenient times and inconvenient places)

Diane said...

Mary;

I don't criticize the protester's sentiment. What I criticize is the thought and effort put into their actions.

Everyone in my family is military. I daily write letters to five people stationed in Iraq. My husband has lost three members of his high school graduating class (He went to a DOD school in Europe).

I am incredibly concerned about the loss of life.

And I make fun of these people because they don't put thought into what they are doing. Protest the war before you go there. Once you have troops stationed there IT IS TOO LATE TO STOP THE LOSS and you will only cause more loss of life by demoralizing your troops, and encouraging resistance.

But it doesn't matter to them that some poor young woman was killed by a car bomb in Iraq while guarding a project to make lives easier for the Iraqi people. It doesn’t matter that the people who planted the bomb were encouraged by their protests. They’ll see this amazing young woman’s sacrifice and fail to see the nobility of spirit that willingly walked into hell because she wanted to make a difference. And the troops that are still alive will lose heart because her heroism is reduced to a simple number.

The idiots have to protest because they feel like they are doing something. It makes them happy so who cares if they are helping or hurting.


They are like people who run around the scene of an accident and stand in the way of the ambulances, then whine when they get yelled at. They deserve our mockery and contempt.

“But I was trying to *help*!”

I make fun of them because the alternative is crying.

Dhun said...

November 3, 2005
Symposium on Iraq
Why our new idealism is enlightened Jacksonianism.
by Victor Davis Hanson
Commentary Magazine

According to opinion polls, most Americans are now critical of the President's foreign policy. They are uncertain not merely over the daily fare of explosions in Iraq. Rather, the sustained public attack on American action abroad, emanating from both the Left and the hard Right, has led to bipartisan and broadly-shared condemnation. Even some who once were adherents of preemption have bailed out, claiming that although they supported the removal of Saddam Hussein, they are appalled by what followed. Or, translated, "In hindsight I remain in favor of my near-perfect military campaign, but not your messy reconstruction" — as if America's past wars were not fraught with tragic lapses and muddled operations.

But for all the media hysteria and the indisputable errors of implementation, the Bush Doctrine is, in fact, moving ahead. Soon it will bear long-term advantage. Despite our inability to articulate the dangers and stakes of the war against radical Islam and our failure to muster the full military potential of the United States, and despite the fact that our own southern border remains vulnerable to terrorist infiltration, there has been enormous progress in the past four years.

We have removed both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. Those efforts have cost us over 2,000 American combat deaths, a hard loss and to be mourned, but still two-thirds of the number of American civilians killed on September 11, 2001, the first day of the war. Thanks to our forward policy of hitting rogue regimes abroad and staying on to help the reconstruction, coupled with increased vigilance at home, the United States has not been struck since then.

Inside Iraq there is a constitutional government grinding ahead, and a series of elections slated for ratification and/or amendment. Much is rightly made of Sunni intransigence, yet this minority population, with no oil and with a disreputable past of support for either Saddam or the Zarqawi terrorists, or both, has been put in an untenable position. Its clerics call for Iraqi Sunnis to vote no on the constitution even as Sunni radicals like Zarqawi threaten to kill any who would vote at all.

There has also been a radical transformation in regional mentalities. The elections in Egypt, though boycotted and rigged, were an unprecedented event, and the irregularities quickly ignited popular demonstrations. Events elsewhere are no less significant, as Libya and Pakistan have renounced their nuclear commerce, Syrians are out of Lebanon, and rudimentary parliaments are forming in the Gulf. Even on the Palestinian question, the death of Arafat, Israel's building of a protective fence and its withdrawal from Gaza, and the removal of Saddam have strengthened the hand of beleaguered reformers in the West Bank and beyond. The onus for policing their miscreants is gradually shifting to the Palestinians themselves, which is where it belongs.

There are, of course, no Swiss cantons arising in the Middle East. Rather, we see the initial tremors of massive tectonic shifts, as the old plates of Islamic radicalism or secular autocracy give way to something new and more democratic. The United States is the primary catalyst of this dangerous but long-overdue upheaval. It has taken the risk almost alone; the ultimate reward will be a more stable world for all.

Much is made of global anti-Americanism and hatred of George Bush. But under closer examination, the furor is mostly confined to Western Europe, the autocratic Middle East, and our own elites here at home. In Europe, our most vocal critics, Jacques Chirac in France and Gerhard Schroeder in Germany, have lost considerable domestic support, and are under challenge by realists worried about their own unassimilated minorities and appreciative of American consistency in the war against radical Islam. In the meantime, Eastern Europeans, Japanese, Australians, and Indians have never been closer to the United States. Russia and China have little beef with our war on terror.

Here at home, the relative lack of bipartisan support is due partly to the media culture of the Left, partly to the turmoil and resentment of an out-of-power Democratic party, partly to uncertainty as to how it will all turn out. On the far Right, some see only too much money being spent, too much proliferation of government, and too much Israel in the background.

What lies ahead? We must continue to navigate the dangerous narrows between the two unacceptable alternatives of secular dictatorship and rule by Islamic law, even as we prod recipients of American aid or military support like Mubarak, Musharraf, and the Saudi royal family to reform. At home, unless we come up with a viable policy combining increased oil production, conservation, and alternative fuels, our ability to protect ourselves from international blackmail will soon begin to erode. Most forbiddingly, nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran or any other non-democratic Middle Eastern country could destroy much if not all of what has been accomplished. What would have happened in the late 1930's had America found itself dependent on Romanian oil or German coal, or learned that Hitler, Mussolini, or Franco was close to obtaining atomic weapons?

I continue without reserve to support our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and our pressure for reform in the Middle East at large. Not because the Bush Doctrine follows some predetermined neoconservative agenda — I thought the January 28, 1998 letter by the Project for the New American Century, urging the removal of Saddam Hussein, was ill-conceived at the time — but rather because, in a post-9/11 age, muscular idealism is the new American realism, the one antidote to Islamic radicalism and its appendages of terror.

Rather than seeking empire or economic advantage, or being recklessly utopian, our present policy promotes democracy abroad even as we downsize in Germany and South Korea and withdraw all our troops from Saudi Arabia. This is striking, and admirable. What are we to make of this tough new doctrine that is neither wide-eyed Wilsonian idealism nor cold-war realpolitik? Call it something like enlightened Jacksonianism — a determination to undertake needed military action and to promote political reform consistent with our democratic values when, and only when, a continuation of the status quo abroad first threatens the security of the United States.

Icepick said...

Noumenon, the squirrel comment IS better. However, people on both the left and right will see "bat" and think "moonbat", even though that's not what's meant. This will result in Ann being even more demonized as a member of the VRWC.

And the squirrel part of it could well bring PETA down on her head.

So, no, that quote can't be used. The world just isn't ready for that quote yet....

Jonathan said...

"Vote or die" might also refer to official election policy in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. I wonder if any of the earnest anti-war demonstrators noticed the irony.

Mary said...

"And I posted here in response to Mary who took the attitude that people who support the wars don't seem to fathom what death is."

I don't think the way to disagree with people is to distort their views. Let me try again, perhaps you will understand:

My opening comment was, "I just hope your commenters don't tear into these young protestors too much. Many people are greatly concerned about the loss of lives and bloodshed, it's not a joke to everyone."

Viola. Look at all the commenters who criticized the protestors just for peacefully protesting. This is not life in the 60s; it is an important thing to some people, some younger people who may have no memories of previous wars, just want to express their own views today as citizens.

My words were not a knock against the people who were pro-war. Not a knock against those who think troops should remain there until there is greater stability.

It IS a knock against those who belittle people who peacefully express views not shared. See some of the comments in this thread. If you think concerned Americans who protest the military plan as being applied in Iraq are the "enemy", you are helping to polarize. Why can't the other side peacefully present their case in their own way without being belittled, even if someone doesn't totally agree with them?

Take a closer look. When a person suggests that the negative comments and polarization in our society are all coming from the non-conservative side, as has been suggested here many many times, you are missing something.

I don't think that's arguing for the sake of arguing. It's arguing to try to effect a change. Perhaps if other views hadn't been so easily dismissed from the beginning, and other American's concerns had been acknowledged and incorporated into action, it would have been a more effective military campaign. Yes, the Republicans won the last election. But we are all paying for this military action and we all have an interest in seeing it be successful. I've said before, it would be pretty to just ignore the discouraging details and cheerlead every positive advance. But that would be short term thinking. By reckoning with the negative details now and asking questions about what it to come -- what our plan is, as the protestors seem to be doing, they may be doing a greater service to our country than those who find it so easy to sit back and belittle in the name of a cheap joke.

Perhaps if these comments were read with a non-defensive mind (go back and read what I actually wrote after these photos were first posted) and responded to likewise, there would be a more lively conversation. I sometimes think people dismiss others because they have no easy answers and want to cast the other side as hippies/victims/anti-Americans, etc. so as not to face up to the questions and realities of what this military action is really costing us and what it is accomplishing.

By the way, I know lots of people in Madison who are in no way radical liberals, some ex-servicemen, who now question what we as a country have gotten ourselves into. (and please don't tell me after 9/11 we had no choice but to invade Iraq). They are not living in the 1960s. They are not liberal peaceniks. We just want our country to be able to wield force effectively. How are we going to be able to fight future battles if we're bogged down in a war of attrition in Iraq? (I think it's fair to consider the war is still on if the bodybags are still coming home.) It sure is easy to belittle and mischaracterize than to deal with the more complex issues that are facing all of us as Americans.

Mary said...

"Peace protests are pointless wastes of time. Their participants deserve to be mocked."

For the record, I disagree strongly with this statement. Do you? (open rhetorical question)

Dhun said...

Mary said ; "But we are all paying for this military action and we all have an interest in seeing it be successful."


Might Mary explain how attending an anti-war protest supports this end?

Mary said...

Let me try, Dhun:

Encouraging the expression of other points of view is healthy, in my belief. If peaceful and planned, protests allow "the other side" to voice their concerns and demonstrate non lock-step thinking about a mighty complex matter.

Personally, I'd rather see young people debating and attending such events, and listening respectfully and contributing their thoughts. Again, I think this is healthy.

Sure they could just ignore and let the administration do what it likes. By participating in such events, we get an idea of what other people think. Again, this is healthy to me, and mocking such people or dismissing them as hippies or anti-Americans encourages silence, which can be taken as approval.

If the conservative pro-war faction is so certain their views and methods of carrying out their views, why do they knock protestors on side issues other than the "merits"?

For example, here is a book review: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/04/books/04xbook.html
Now it may be you think these authors are "wrong". But there is a healthy argument that there are many ways to interpret what is happening out there.

Insinuating that people who don't agree with your views are "self righteous" seems to stifle real criticism and alternative courses of action.

To answer your question more abstractly, I think giving your time and using your presence to attend such an event does contribute to success. Participation of the full variety of the population is healthy; I don't want to see people turn off and give up.

I disagree that such events are "anti-troop". Please, if you have time, read that book review. We all need to be pulling on the rope together, so to speak, but some may need to give up their "my way or the highway" stances and learn to cooperate with others in order to gain full support for the actions we take.

Don't fear disagreement and dissent (non-violent). I was taught that is one of the features that makes democracy great, makes our country strong -- that we can hear from many points of view and incorporate such ideas to the benefit of society as a whole.

If you just surround yourself with people who think like you, and belittle people with other values and ideas, you don't truly get the benefits of democracy. That's why some would like to see diverse viewpoints in our institutions -- not because it helps the minority necessarily, but because it also helps the majority to recognize things they might be missing. But none of this is possible without a mature discussion. By encouraging us to slip into the lowest common denominator may be attractive to marketers and for entertainment purposes, but it does not inspire the best actions or results, imo.

Enough said. Hopefully you can extract a positive answer from this, and not spin my inelegant words here to mean something they do not.

Dhun said...

Quoting Mary: "To answer your question more abstractly, I think giving your time and using your presence to attend such an event does contribute to success".

>Doubtful, but it's incumbent on you, as an advocate of such a position, to prove how this is to be so by articulating what you mean precisely. Like I said in my initial comment...

The sole convincing moral case against the war would have had to demonstrate, either for certain or within a high likelihood that that the consequences of a regime change war were worse than the standing regime.

In logic and morality, one must compare the current state of the country with the likely or probable state of it had Saddam and his sons been allowed to go on ruling.

Quoting Mary: "Participation of the full variety of the population is healthy; I don't want to see people turn off and give up."

> People are always free to disseminate their views. This isn't a direct democracy we live in. If it were, you'd have seen Afghanistan turned into a glass mound on September the 12th. It was the popular opinion. This administration has an Iraq policy, which it is engaged in carrying out. Your representatives, had they an alternative plan to succeed in Iraq, have had plenty of opportunity to present it. Much of what John Kerry was suggesting during the run up to election, was already being enacted by the administration.

As for full participation by the variety of the population, I could surely do without the advice of anarchists, socialists, or others who have been committed (mostly due to committments to ideology) to disparaging the war effort simply because they feel that partisan sniping is more important that destroying the real enemy.

People who wish for victory do not attend ant-war protests.

Take a look at this small selection of protests and show me who might have a constructive plan for success...

http://www.privateradio.org/blog/archives/2005/11/02/seattle-world-cant-wait-photos/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/imagesofperfection/sets/1279186/

http://rightwingerz.com/protest.html



Quoting Mary; "I disagree that such events are "anti-troop". Please, if you have time, read that book review. We all need to be pulling on the rope together, so to speak, but some may need to give up their "my way or the highway" stances and learn to cooperate with others in order to gain full support for the actions we take."

> Besides offering up nostrums about all pitching in together, what sort of strategy are you suggesting for the troops? It is clear from the pundits, bloggers, protesters and other citizens that opinion varies widely.



Quoting Mary: Don't fear disagreement and dissent (non-violent). I was taught that is one of the features that makes democracy great, makes our country strong -- that we can hear from many points of view and incorporate such ideas to the benefit of society as a whole.

If you just surround yourself with people who think like you, and belittle people with other values and ideas, you don't truly get the benefits of democracy. That's why some would like to see diverse viewpoints in our institutions -- not because it helps the minority necessarily, but because it also helps the majority to recognize things they might be missing. But none of this is possible without a mature discussion. By encouraging us to slip into the lowest common denominator may be attractive to marketers and for entertainment purposes, but it does not inspire the best actions or results, imo.

Enough said. Hopefully you can extract a positive answer from this, and not spin my inelegant words here to mean something they do not.

> All well meaning and emotive speech Mary, but good feelings about being inclusive don't amount to an actionable policy on Iraq. And seeing how it's about Iraqis as well, mightn't we listen to their voices as well? It would seem that 79% turnout on election day, despite the terror threat, is quite a supportive voice, no?

And still, no answer as to how diversity of views has helped or will help with this....

"But we are all paying for this military action and we all have an interest in seeing it be successful."


As for the book review you cite, there's nothing new in their arguments. At least from what I can tell from the review of a 330 page book. If you'd attended any of the debates on this war over the past few years, or read much of the commentary and opinions written in that time, you'll see this to be true.

I'll address what I see to be their main points as to why we are losing.

1. The American invasion of Iraq toppled one of the Mideast's secular dictatorships, the authors write, and produced a country in chaos, a country that could well become what Afghanistan was during the years of Soviet occupation: a magnet for jihadis and would-be jihadis from around the world; a "country-sized training ground" (with an almost limitless supply of arms), where these recruits can train and network before returning home, battle-hardened and further radicalized.

>There were many who warned of the rising up of the Arab Street, before the Iraq War. There were those who warned that a humanitarian disaster was not only likely, but intended to happen in Afghanistan. We were warned of those foreign fighters who would come to Afghanistan to wage Jihad and they did, much to their regret.
This notion that there is an "almost limitless supply of arms" is not supported by reality. What limitless resources do these terrorists draw from? What host states, after seeing what happened in Iraq, would support said terrorists?
This first point of theirs is sometimes clumsily expressed by those who would have you believe that Arabs prefer dictatorships. As if anyone living in these prison-states had a say in it.

2.Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Simon regard the American invasion of Iraq as a kind of Christmas present to Osama bin Laden: an unnecessary and ill-judged war of choice that has not only become a recruitment tool for jihadis but that has also affirmed the story line that Al Qaeda leaders have been telling the Muslim world - that America is waging war against Islam and seeking to occupy oil-rich Muslim countries.

>Many of the losers in history have gotten their "Christmas presents". Meaning that plenty of autocrats and dictators have gotten wars they wished for. This didn't, and does not mean that they will achieve victory in these conflicts.
I don't see how it's a war of choice. If you occupy the sovereign airspace of a country by enforcing no-fly zones, well, then through history, I'd say you were at war. If you were opposed to the no-fly zones then it's intellectually honest to say you were for the destruction of a nascent Kurdish republic in the north.
Add to this 12 years of Hussein thumbing his nose at U.N. resolutions which could never be given full force of international law with the French vowing to never support use of force. ( Just as a historical side-note, the Ethiopians contributed more troops in the Korean War than the French did. Somewhere on the order of 1500 troops to France's 1100 )

3.The authors also quote Colin L. Powell's former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson - who recently made headlines with a speech in which he charged that America's foreign policy had been usurped by a small, secretive cabal within the administration - saying that the essential decision-making and planning for the Iraq war "was not taking place in the statutory process" of the National Security Council, "but in the parallel process run" by Vice President Dick Cheney, who had assembled his own national security staff of 14

> So a counsel of 14, according to an out of work State Dept. chief of staff, amounts to a secretive "cabal".
I guess that when you are committed to never committing troops, then the opposition is an insidious bunch, by their very nature. When the Congress voted to go to war, how were they absolved of being part of this plotting cabal? 23 whereas clauses were provided for Congress as to the reasons for regime change in Iraq. One of them happened to be WMD.

4.Indeed, one of the most disturbing charges that the authors level at the Bush administration is that it has failed to "look beyond Al Qaeda" and "recognize the multiplying forms that the jihadist threat is taking." This "serious failure of vision," they say, is the same one that prevailed in the pre-9/11 world: the misapprehension that "what terrorists do abroad has little consequence for national security, and, second, that only states can truly threaten us."

> This is utterly wrong. If by failing to "look beyond Al Qaeda" maybe they mean that when the administration got Libya and Pakistan to renounce their nuclear commerce, got the Syrian military out of Lebanon, removed both the Taliban and Hussein, made closer ties with our allies the Aussies, the Indians and the Eastern Europeans (who all happen to support a strong line on terror) that it was a mistake, but that criticism doesn't hold up in light of what has transpired these past few years.
Further, the notion that "what terrorists do abroad has little consequence for our national security" is simply wrong as well. Tell that to the 256 Marines that died in Lebanon or the hostages that were taken in our embassy in Tehran in '79. Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad.

Funny how this is written by two of President Clinton's counterterrorism aides, whose administration witnessed repeated attacks on western targets during the 1990's and did little to nothing to repel such attacks.
It was Bin Laden himself who regarded the west as a "paper tiger". He had based this vision of the west on his experiences in prodding our defenses and on our military behavior in Somalia.


5. a failure to "halt the creation of new terrorists by dealing, to the extent possible, with those grievances that are driving radicalization."

> The violent death of thousands of Bin Ladenists/Jihadists in Iraq, with the prospect of this number greatly increasing, is reason to continue fighting, not to retreat.



Mary, in closing, may I suggest you read this opinion piece?....

http://victorhanson.com/articles/hanson110405.html

skywch said...

Interesting thread, but tainted for me by "mary," who I'd have a lot more respect for if she had waited for others to comment first and THEN criticized their posts. But instead she fires off the first post, beginning with a negative and deliberately provocative statement, and then tsk-tsks over the responses. Classic passive-aggressive manipulation...ewww.

Good work, Dhun...

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