didn't want to write about my recent heart attack, really
I didn't, but such a startling event and all those pills
I have to remember to take every morning confronts me with
intimations of my own mortality, and forces me to face the
question: What have we accomplished?
people like to think their lives have some higher purpose,
some goal apart from the mechanics of day-to-day survival.
I am not religious, nor am I much given to self-contemplation,
but the shock of a sudden heart attack in a seemingly healthy
person hey, this happened in the gym! has brought
the question of my ultimate goals into sharp focus.
got me to thinking. What did we hope to accomplish when we
started this website and what is the measure of our achievement?
Antiwar.com set up shop, on December 9, 1995,
we had one goal in mind: to have some significant effect on
the foreign policy debate in this country. How to measure
such intangibles is a problem without a solution, but my own
approach, as a writer, is to look at the language of
the debaters, and by this standard we are doing pretty well.
phrases as "the War Party" (yes, capitalized like that), and
casual mention of "the neocons" language pretty much confined
to this site, until relatively recently are now commonplace.
The anti-interventionist lexicon is defining the terms of
the debate, and I think Antiwar.com can take much of the credit.
during the period leading up to the Kosovo war and long
after we warned of the danger posed by the neoconservatives,
and their doctrine of "benevolent
global hegemony," as Bill Kristol, their Lenin, put it
in 1996. In my first column,
dated February 26, 1999, I wrote:
and well-connected, the War Party is such a varied and complex
phenomenon that a detailed description of its activities,
and its vast system of interlocking directorates and special
interests, both foreign and domestic, would fill the pages
of a good-sized book. The alternative is to break down the
story, and serve up its constituent parts in brief glimpses,
portraits of individuals and organizations that lobbied hard
for this war and its bloody prosecution."
that the war I was referring to was the Kosovo war, those
words might easily have been written today. The face of the
enemy is unchanged: what's changed is that it is increasingly
recognized, and resented. That is what we have been doing,
here at www.antiwar.com:
revealing, with every link and article, the many faces of
the War Party in all its aspects, and from a wide variety
eclecticism has been the focus of criticism by some: David
Frum, the ex-White House speechwriter turned neocon enforcer
of political correctness, recently took us to task for
running links to pieces by John Pilger, Noam Chomsky, Gore
Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, and other demons of the right-wing
imagination. It is typical of Commissar Frum that he would
misunderstand the whole purpose of linking in this way: the
very concept of the internet, with its constant cross-referencing
interconnectivity, is utterly alien to the party-lining neocon
problem for the neocons is that it's much harder to smear
someone on the internet than it is on paper, without showing
up the smearer as a liar. In criticizing the views of an opponent,
one is obliged to come up with a link so that readers can
see for themselves if the criticism is fair. The artful use
of ellipses no longer works, because the entire context of
a statement is readily available. Of course, one always can
do what Commissar Frum did in his National Review screed
against antiwar libertarians and conservatives, and not provide
any links to the targets of abuse. But that isn't very convincing.
Indeed, it is highly suspicious: no wonder many conservatives
are now rising up against the self-appointed arbiters of political
correctness on the Right. The neocon campaign to smear conservative
opponents of the Iraq war as "anti-American" has backfired
badly and we at Antiwar.com take a special pride in knowing
that this site had a lot to do with that.
have, from the beginning, cultivated anti-interventionist
sentiment on the Right, not only among libertarians who
already accept it as a defining principle of their ideology
but also among conservatives. The idea that we cannot be
a republic and an empire is finally beginning to dawn
on the advocates of limited government -as they see the national
security state swallowing up the last of our freedoms. Big
Brother reads our email and tracks our every move, while Big
Government just keeps on getting bigger.
are catching on, and, while Antiwar.com alone can't take credit
for this, what we can take credit for is amplifying and popularizing
anti-interventionist views on the right, injecting them into
the national debate.
the years Antiwar.com has presented a wide range of opinion,
from left to right and all points in between, yet we have
always been pretty up-front about our own ideological predilections.
We are libertarians: we stand for the free market, and we
don't take the view that American culture and American capitalism
are the repositories of all that is wrong with the world.
We reserve that role for governments notably, and especially
lately, the U.S. federal government.
support the antiwar movement, yet we are not uncritical: far
from it. We have tried to promote some sense of self-awareness,
and of responsibility, while doing our best to correct what
we view as the mistakes and misconceptions that are rife in
antiwar circles. You may not always agree with our analysis
of tactics, or of general principles but it is hard to
contend that we haven't consistently tried to broaden and
deepen the anti-interventionist current, in America and internationally.
back on where we've been, I am filled with pride and a sense
of optimism. Looking ahead, however, to the prospect of future
wars, I can feel only a gathering sense of dread.
friend Pat Buchanan has recently posed the question: "Is the Neoconservative Moment
Over?" He makes the case that the worst may already be
salad days of the neoconservatives, which began with the president's
Axis-of-Evil address in January 2002 and lasted until the
fall of Baghdad may be coming to an end. Indeed, it is likely
the neoconservatives will never again enjoy the celebrity
and cachet in which they reveled in their romp to war on Iraq.
high tide of neoconservatism may have passed because the high
tide of American empire may have passed. 'World War IV,' the
empire project, the great cause of the neocons, seems to have
been suspended by the President of the United States."
a nice thought, but I don't believe it for a moment. Not when
once directed at Iraq is now being launched against Iran; not
when leading politicians declare that U.S.
troops may have to go after Hamas and certainly not
as long as the President of the United States reserves the
"right" to carry out a
policy of "regime change" as a means of preemptive "defense."
empire project may or may not be temporarily suspended: perhaps
stalled is the right word. We can be sure, however, that the
War Party isn't going away. As long as they're around, and
more active than ever, Antiwar.com is a necessity. But our
continued existence is by no means assured.
the interventionists, who lavish billions much of it taxpayer
dollars on their permanent propaganda campaign, Antiwar.com
doesn't have access to unlimited funding. Arrayed against
us is the whole complex of neocon thinktanks, newspaper chains,
radio networks and special interests that keep the arteries
of the media clogged with a constant stream of warmongering
disinformation and outright fabrications. We have no Rupert
Murdoch, no "merchants
of death," and no government
subsidies to fill our coffers. We depend on you, our readers,
for the support we need to survive.
turn to you, now, as we have in the past, asking: What have
we accomplished? Is Antiwar.com worth preserving or will
we be forced to make big cutbacks in coverage and services
to our readers all over the world?
audience has been growing, along with our influence, and yet
our material resources the means to pay some of our writers,
to maintain a very small staff, and to keep the site running
smoothly and efficiently have not seen a similar upsurge.
Quite the opposite: the end of the Iraq war has seen a big
drop in contributions.
this keeps up, we will soon be out of business even as the
prospect of another war looms large on the horizon.
was lucky to survive my heart attack thanks to quick medical
intervention, and a really well-done angioplasty,
I was up and on my feet in a matter of a few days. I only
missed one column. I hope Antiwar.com survives its current
financial crisis half as well but that depends on you.
War Party, as
I have recently noted, is on the defensive, facing all
sorts of questions as to their motives and their methods.
We must keep them on the run: now is not the time to throw
in the towel.
may take our continued existence for granted but the truth
is that it is by no means a done deal.
help make sure that we make it to our eighth birthday, this
coming December, go
here now to make an online contribution. Or send your
check or money order made out to "Antiwar.com" to the address
IN THE MARGIN
I had to give up smoking (nicotine products, that is) and,
boy, do those herbal cigarettes taste bad!
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