November 2, 2005

Anti-war rally.

Today, in Madison.

Madison anti-war rally

Madison anti-war rally

Madison anti-war rally


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.)

Laura Reynolds 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.

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.


Uncle J

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.

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.

Mark 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.

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.

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)

Eddie said...

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

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--

KCFleming 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.

Adriana Bliss said...

"Peace protests are pointless wastes of time."

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

Teacher 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.

Anonymous 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...

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.

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...


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...

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.

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,


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...


"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.

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.

P_J 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...


I like it. Or how about, for Ann's banner (since all four now up there are tired),

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.

P_J said...


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.

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, 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 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 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)

Mark 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.