So, how's the anti-war movement doing?
Rich Gardner | 02.05.2012
With the down-shifting of the Iraq War into a period not unlike that of the Vietnam War from "Vietnamization" and the pull-out of US combat troops in 1973, Iraq has grown a good deal quieter and has largely slipped off of the US cultural radar screen. The Iraq War brought the anti-war movement back into the streets and back into the public eye. But as there was never any threat of a draft, the youth of America were never mobilized as they were back in the 60s.
Although I would truly love to say that there has been a lot of intellectual back and forth and discussion in the anti-war movement, anyone who really wanted to get their teeth into a real discussion soon ran up against the fact that the justifications given for invading Iraq were transparently bad and didn't really stand up to any serious examinations.
Unlike the Vietnam War with its' "Domino Theory," there was no clear and compelling reason for the US to be fighting in Iraq once the WMD reason had been disposed of (The movie Fair Game concentrates on being an entertaining film, but it's quite clear from the narrative of the film that the WMD excuse was bogus and that the Bush Administration knowingly, consciously and deliberately put out bad information). The belief among the opponents of the war that either the Bush Administration was seeking Iraq's oil or that it had messianic ambitions to remake the Middle East (In July 2010, The Guardian had a good discussion of the possible motivations behind Britain's joining in) served to explain to the public why the US invaded and then remained in Iraq, but the relative absence of any coherent, publicly-announced reasoning behind sticking with the war after the WMD reason fell apart made the severe splits within American families and the heated anti-communist-inspired arguments of the Vietnam War moot.
So the essential problem that the anti-war movement faced in making its case to the American people was not so much that The Establishment was making intellectually challenging justifications for the war, but that anti-war spokespeople were not in any position to get their message out. For many years, we tried large street demonstrations, marches, vigils, rallies, even an occupation of Dilworth Plaza in Philadelphia.
Of course, Indymedia has been enormously helpful to the cause for the past decade. In just the past month or so, taking a look at the Newswire of PhillyIMC, the anti-war movement has been documenting quite a few activities and reporting on a number of upcoming and potential problems. Frequent IMC contributor Stephen Lendman detailed various aggressive US moves against Iran. The radio show Between the Lines looked at the terrorist assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist and the Socialist Party USA presidential candidate Stewart Alexander called upon the US to stop threatening Iran. A member of several anti-war groups, Rich Gardner, looked at why the US appears to be suffering a "pyrrhic victory" in Afghanistan, not because the US is suffering disastrous casualties there, but because the war requires resources that the US simply can't assign to that theater (The US Government now apparently agrees, as "the US is [currently] treating the Taliban as a political force and a political stakeholder"). Finally, the Filipino Citizens Action Party, feeling that the Philippines are being squeezed between the US and China, is calling on both of them to resolve their differences peacefully.
The fight to keep America informed continues! Looking forward, United for Peace and Justice will conduct a meet & greet on Friday, February 24th at the Mexican Post, 1601 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 at 5:00pm as the kickoff to several days of meetings. Also, the United National Antiwar Coalition will be holding their National Conference starting Friday, March 23rd at 4:00pm at the Hilton Hotel in Stamford, CT.
improved and updated with editorial assistance from fellow IMCer Amy Dalton