success of the recent antiwar demonstrations called by
the International A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition has the pro-war forces
in a panic, and this has given rise to an unlikely alliance
between the limousine liberals over at Salon.com, the born-again
wacko "Christian Zionists" of WorldNutDaily,
and frothing-at-the-mouth ex-Commie-turned-rightwing-nutball
David Horowitz. We might call it the pinko-brown alliance
two colors that, when combined, produce a shade of dirty
beige almost exactly the color of cow-dung.
strange tone of Michelle Goldberg's Salon piece "A
day for peace and fury" [warning: link for pay]
leaps right out at the reader in the opening sentence:
the checked Palestinian head scarves, were selling for $15
each at the massive antiwar rally in Washington on Saturday,
and they were selling well."
that there's anything wrong with that but clearly
Ms. Goldberg found it disturbing, along with those "indie-rock
cheerleaders jumping around crying, 'Liberate! Smash the state!'"
This is an ideological cue to sober liberals of the "It
Takes a Village" variety who, after all, make up a
significant chunk of Salon Premium subscribers that these
are not necessarily the good guys. After all, the Clintonian
Left loves the State, and any attempt to smash it
even metaphorically sounds just Gingrichian enough to cause
them some real discomfort.
cites counter-examples of "committed, articulate people"
who marched on October 26, a Microsoft programmer and his
13-year-old son, and an ex-Marine who supported the Afghanistan
campaign having just fought in it but who fails to see
what attacking Iraq has to do with what he considers a legitimate
war against Al Qaeda. Goldberg indignantly cites the under-reporting
of the numbers in the New York Times, and, under cover
of a scrupulous fairmindedness, and even the appearance of
some real sympathy for the cause, proceeds to trash the antiwar
movement for having an entirely negative program. "The
new peace movement has a demonstrable momentum," she
writes, caught somewhere between envy and resentment, but:
it doesn't appear to have is a powerful affirmative message
to match its scathing critique of American foreign policy.
If war isn't the answer, what is? 'No Justice, No Peace, U.S.
Out of the Middle East' doesn't cut it, unless we intend to
abandon the Kurds to Saddam. 'Israel out of U.S. Congress,'
a slogan scrawled on one sign and echoed by many marchers,
is similarly insufficient, unless you believe that 'our foreign
policy is not made here, it is made in Israel,' as Ali Azam,
a protester from Binghamton, N.Y., patiently explained."
and I'll bet Mr. Azam was wearing one of those spooky kaffiyehs.
Goldberg may not have noticed the rapid evolution of our Israel-centric
foreign policy, certainly the rest of the world has, including
not only the nations of the Middle East but also our European
allies. We are supposed to believe the growing disapproval
of America's unconditional support for Israel is due to a
resurgence of "anti-Semitism," a new synonym for
anti-war, and that is the clear implication of Goldberg's
otherwise inexplicable analysis. While it inaccurate to say
that "our foreign policy is not made here, it is made
in Israel," the truth is far worse than that. The policy
is made in Washington, not Tel Aviv, by an administration
that has sold out America's long-term national interests for
is a simple geographical fact of reality that, in singling
out Iraq, America is fighting Israel's battles in the Middle
East. For the only American lives threatened by Saddam's alleged
quest to acquire "weapons of mass destruction" are
those who live in Israel and hold dual American-Israeli citizenship.
Not that the prospect of a nuclear-armed Ariel Sharon wreaking
radioactive vengeance on the Arab world wouldn't be a deterrent.
Michelle, war isn't the answer but what's the
question, anyway? To Goldberg it is: how does the United States
propose to impose its will on the Middle East? The issue of
whether it is any of our business never comes up. Instead,
a Christopher Hitchens on us, and brings up the favored
liberal victim group of the moment: a couple of years ago,
you'll remember, it was the Kosovar Albanians, whose teary-eyed
faces greeted us daily on the evening news, weeping victims
of Serbian "aggression." Now that these same gentle
souls have ethnically
cleansed their war-ravaged country and set up a Mafia-ocracy
in Kosovo, where they regularly blow
their opponents to bits, Hitchens and other liberal cheerleaders
for Clinton's war of "liberation" have moved on
carefully not looking back to gather the poor oppressed
Kurds to their warm embrace.
in Salon, we are subjected to the same sanctimonious drivel,
directly from "the
Hitch," as his neocon fan club has dubbed this latest
recruit to their ranks: "I don't favor an invasion of
Iraq," Hitchens bloviates, in
an extended interview, "but I favor a confrontation
with Saddam Hussein, and I've been an ally and a friend, a
good enough friend, I hope, to the Kurdish and Iraqi opposition
for many years."
of course the Kurds are already independent, and have set
own little fiefdoms in the northern region of an Iraq
bisected by the "no fly zone." The U.S. has been
to garner their support for a war, or even a "confrontation,"
with Saddam, precisely because the major Kurdish factions
don't want to endanger the status quo. Oh, but who cares what
the Kurds have to say about the matter, especially when their
self-appointed spokesman has such a charming British accent
and a column in Vanity Fair?
war with Iraq would almost certainly bring in Turkey and
all the other nations that have carved up Kurdistan in a
direct "confrontation" with the Kurds. With "friends"
like Hitchens, the Kurds who have at least finally established
a certain degree of national autonomy don't need any enemies.
Aside from that, it is important to understand that Kurdistan,
at least as conceived by the various Kurdish "liberation"
groups, is a
large and centrally-located swathe of territory, extending
eastward from the Mediterranean shore, where Syria meets Turkey,
most of the way inland to the Caspian Sea, including northern
Iraq and thrusting deep into Iran.
"liberation" of Kurdistan, helped along by a U.S.
"confrontation" with Iraq, would involve making
war on virtually every established government in the region.
What a coincidence that this warpath closely parallels
the trajectory of a "democratic transformation"
of the Middle East championed by neoconservatives from the
very beginning of this war crisis. Early
on, Bill Kristol and a dozen or so neocon war-bots signed
on to a
statement calling for the radical extension of the President's
announced war aims and "regime change" not only
in Iraq but also in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle
reunion of right-wing social democrats with their left-wing
counterparts, Hitchens and Kristol hand-in-hand, unanimous
for war, is meant to define the parameters of the politically
permissible in the post-9/11 era. But not so fast
normal American has a burning desire to conquer the world
under the guise of 'liberating" it. The risk-free moralizing
of our professional chickenhawks, of whatever ideological
plumage, fails to move the famously "isolationist"
American street. Main Street, that is, not Wall Street.
word "isolationist," usually uttered with great
disdain by Washington policy wonks and European politicians,
is an epithet that is really a badge of honor: it means Americans
are under the mistaken impression that they have the right
to enjoy their own bourgeois lives, that human joy
is possible and justified, for its own sake, even in the midst
of a very sad and unfree world. They are, in short, essentially
conservatives in the realm of international affairs meaning
that they seek to conserve the foreign policy views of the
Founders, who warned against "passionate attachments"
and "violent antipathies" in America's relations
with the world, and abhorred foreign entanglements. The idea
that that "it takes a global village" popularized
on the Left during the Clinton era is alien to the
conservative temperament, at least in this country.
exceptions the real anti-Americans are a bunch
of ex-Trotskyists and right-wing social democrats who seem
to be channeling the restless shades of Albert
Shanker and Max
Shachtman. "My tradition from the extreme left days
is different from that of most mainstream leftists,"
says Hitchens to Salon,"
think, in that I was a Trotskyist. The group I was a member
of, International Socialists, was a dissident splinter of
the Trotskyist movement you were always fighting a war on
about five fronts. But it was worth doing. It taught me how
to argue, streetfighting, polemic and so forth."
another renegade Trotskyist joins the War Party. What is it
with those guys? Hitchens is only the most recent in a long
line of the Red
Army chieftain's admirers, who switched allegiances without
really changing their goals. Trotsky styled his schismatic
International the "World
Party of Socialist Revolution," and, among the competing
Marxist sects, the Trotskyists uniquely emphasized
internationalism. For lightweights like Hitchens, who
change their political coloration with the latest intellectual
fashion, it is merely a question of arranging the words of
Internationale" to the tune of "Star-Spangled
track of the rising tide of warmongering on both sides of
the political spectrum is getting to be a full-time job. Warmongers
to the left of me, and warmongers to the right of me: even
some alleged "libertarians" associated with the
Cato Institute. In the current online
edition of Reason magazine, Cato "senior scholar"
Brink Lindsey calls for a "war to the death" with
"radical Islamism," and this, somehow, includes
first and foremost the region's major secularist regime. This
only seems counterintuitive, you see, because it will send
a message that "we mean business."
is hard to take seriously a piece entitled "No More 9/11s"
which declares that the author would be for this war anyway,
even if 9/11 had never happened. The real reason for this
support, aside from the showy exterminationist rhetoric directed
at Islam per se, is the same left-Wilsonian project
embraced by neo-Trotskyists of the Hitchensonian persuasion:
regime change in Iraq offers the opportunity to attack radical
Islamism at its roots: the dismal prevalence of political
repression and economic stagnation throughout the Muslim world.
The establishment of a reasonably liberal and democratic Iraq
could serve as a model for positive change throughout the
"World Revolution" marches on.
Cato Institute used to stand for intellectual integrity, a
quality many of its associated scholars retain: it also used
to stand for small government at home and its corollary
abroad, a noninterventionist foreign policy. But the most
prominent (and certainly the most well-funded) libertarian
thinktank has made a remarkable about-face in the post-9/11
era. The new dispensation was recently announced by Cato vice
Boaz, in a recent issue of National Review (dead-tree
edition only) where he exulted in finally "finding
a war we can support." Oh boy, what a relief that must've
been! Boaz's pro-war comrade, Lindsey, is held up in the NR
article by Ramesh
Ponnuru as a spokesman for the nascent pro-war faction
of the libertarian movement, which numbers in at least the
dozens. Now Lindsey pops up in Reason a magazine
of allegedly libertarian inclinations where mass preemptive
murder by the State is a highly debatable subject, unlike
abortion, open borders, and legal heroin beating the war
evidence or context, Lindsey attributes both the anthrax attacks
and potentially "millions" of American deaths to
the all-powerful Iraqis. The "'what, me worry?' attitude"
of anti-war libertarians "captures perfectly the prevailing
opinion about Afghanistan circa September 10, 2001,"
Taliban were more a punch line than a serious foreign-policy
issue; only the most fevered imagination could see any threat
to us in that miserable, dilapidated country. The next day,
three thousand Americans were dead. We can't let that happen
according to Lindsey, means that the ordinary rules of morality
and common sense have been indefinitely suspended, if not
abolished outright. For the idea that someone, somewhere,
may be planning to strike at the U.S. now gives us a blank
check to not only invade the whole world. And not only that,
but to occupy and undertake to build "free" societies
on the ruins of a civilization destroyed.
Lindseyite proposal that we try to turn the Middle East into
a Mid-westernized suburb of the global metropolis is a project
that would have to mean the complete negation of the program
championed by the Cato Institute Lindsey's employer since
its founding in the late 1970s. The sheer cost of such hubris,
measured only in dollars, would be enough to permanently shelve
libertarian opposition to government spending. Tax hikes unto
perpetuity would have to be the order of the day, loyally
supported by Lindseyite "libertarians" all the way.
this what Cato's contributors are shelling their money
out for so that some pipsqueak of a "senior fellow"
can proclaim from the rooftops that we ought to embark on
a war of conquest?
to even less pleasant matters, if that's possible: let's deal
with the latest nonsense posted on WorldNutDaily.com. Oh,
er, sorry, that's WorldNetDaily.com. At any rate, an
article by Sherrie Gossett, which accuses the antiwar
movement of being "supporters of terrorism," cites
me and David Horowitz as the alleged sources of this charge.
I have never made any such statement, and Ms. Gossett fails
to cite a single word of mine in support of this thesis. What
she does is throw all critics of the antiwar movement's current
leadership in the same bowl, and then mixes herself up a poisonous
brew of lies, distortions, and obfuscation:
controversial ties of IAC [sponsors of the October 26 demonstration]
remain almost completely unreported by the mainstream media,
but increasingly are being exposed by a handful of enterprising
Internet journalists, including Michelle Goldberg and Ian
Mitchell of salon.com, Michael Tremoglie, Edward Immler and
David Horowitz of Frontpagemagazine.com, and Christopher Hitchens,
a 20-year veteran of The Nation magazine, now writing independently.
The controversy has spread to the commentary pages of Mother
Jones and has Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com crying foul while
bemoaning his experiences at San Francisco's 'Baghdad-by-the-Bay.'
small group of left-wing, right-wing and libertarian activists
and writers now accuse the organization's elite of being sellouts
to foreign dictators while giving lip service to humanitarian
concerns. They say this 'patina of morality' obfuscates a
surreptitious political agenda: the armed overthrow of the
American republic. Leading critics from both left and right
now charge the leaders with supporting the very things they
claim to be protesting."
have never written that anyone has "sold out to
foreign dictators," nor do I endorse or agree with any
of the above in any way. It is absurd to interpret my
critique of the International
Action Center and "Not
In Our Name" as accusing the Left of advancing "a
surreptitious agenda" when my point was just the opposite:
that leftists involved in antiwar activities ought to keep
their agenda surreptitious, and not impose it on the rest
of the movement by broadcasting it from the platform of every
peace rally. Indeed, the whole point of my Mother Jones
is that the antiwar movement must maintain a laser-like focus
on the single issue of this war. Too bad Ms. Gossett missed
that, but then ideologues are habitually blind to reality
in any event, even when it is literally spelled out for them.
idea that there is some convergence of my views with Horowitz
who seems not to have taken his meds recently as the title
of his screed on October 26 event, "100,000
Communists March on Washington to Give Aid and Comfort to
Saddam Hussein," makes abundantly clear is evidence
either of dyslexia
in Ms. Gossett, or else some other disability that renders
her unable to comprehend simple English.
won't go into the gory details of a recent piece posted
on Horowitz's hate site accusing me of being a "Saddamite"
except to say that it was written by Stephen
Schwartz, another ex-Trotskyoid war-bird one who went
from all the way from
Marx to Mohammed, changed his name from "Comrade
Sandalio" to "Suleyman
Ahmad," and was eventually kicked out of his job
at the Voice of America. Besides, Horowitz's readers seem
unanimous in their condemnation of Schwartz's unseemly
tirade, one of whom pleads: "Please,
Steve, don't drink and type."
column, on the October 26 antiwar march, I wrote that
I ran into Maad
Abu-Ghazalah, the Libertarian Party candidate for Congress
in California's Twelfth District, running against rabid warmonger
Tom Lantos: "He was trying to get a spot on the speakers'
list," I wrote, "to no avail, of course. No Libertarians
am happy to report that this is not true, that he did indeed
get to speak, and I stand corrected.
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