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February 18, 2009

It Isn't All About Me


An appeal to my readers

by Justin Raimondo

As you can see by going to our front page and looking at the fundraising thermometer, we're having a really, really hard time raising the funds we need to continue Antiwar.com. The main reason for this, as you might imagine, is the economic collapse America seems to be undergoing, which doesn't look likely to reach bottom anytime soon. But that's not the whole story.

There are other reasons for our fundraising shortfall, notably the Obama-mania that has swept significant portions of the Left in this country. In spite of our new president's announced intention to escalate the war in Afghanistan and perhaps even venture into Pakistan – not to mention the tremendous pressure on him to stay engaged in Iraq and go after Iran – antiwar activism in lefty quarters has largely given way to complacency. But it isn't just that.

Whenever the subject of Antiwar.com comes up, it seems, the tendency is to associate it exclusively with me: my column, my style, my politics. In view of this widespread misconception, I want to let you in on a little secret: Antiwar.com isn't all about me.

Sure, my "Behind the Headlines" column is the editorial voice of the site, but what really allows that voice – in concert with a host of others – to be heard is a staff of unsung people, full- and part-time. They are the real heart and soul of Antiwar.com. Bringing you up-to-date news about war and peace in a complex world takes the talents of an interdependent team of 14 people.

Eric Garris, Antiwar.com's co-founder, has served as webmaster and managing editor since 1995. He invests his time and energy in the site seven days a week. Without Eric, we are dead. It's as simple as that.

As network administrator, Michael Ewens keeps the site running and designs and oversees its back-end systems. He's our "infrastructure" – without him, we'd fall apart!

Assistant webmaster and senior editor Jeremy Sapienza helps to ensure that Antiwar.com's content is complete and up-to-date. He's our little helper elf – he even looks like one, as you can plainly see. Without his help, Eric would go crazy – in which case, we're kaput.

Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com's news editor, writes the site's news summaries and collects and organizes the news links that help to make the site such an invaluable resource. Jason's enormously popular news summaries are a new feature, and he has quickly become indispensable.

Matt Barganier edits original articles and reviews linked articles for Antiwar.com. He's a top-flight editor and also an excellent writer.

Scott Horton contributes to the process of news and viewpoint editing as assistant editor, but he's better known as the lively host of Antiwar Radio, the only national talk show focused on war and peace. Scott is frighteningly well-informed, so he also has the unenviable job of fact-checking me.

Angela Keaton serves as development director – managing donor relations – as well as assisting with project development and working as producer of Antiwar Radio. She's talented, and I can't imagine a donor who wouldn't be charmed and impressed with her.

Office manager Michael Austin ensures that the Antiwar.com office runs smoothly, and he plans and manages a range of crucial activities for the site. Eric is totally dependent on him, and without Eric…

Our part-time and volunteer workers play a key role in making this Web site possible. Graphic designer Malcolm Garris helps to keep the site's look fresh and appealing, developing new graphic content on an ongoing basis to meet the needs of the site's webmaster and contributors. Robin McElroy, Antiwar.com's bookkeeper, ensures that the site's financial records are in order – the poor woman! Margaret Griffis does a great job maintaining Antiwar.com's casualty pages and assisting with news-gathering. Our longtime friend and associate Sam Koritz, a volunteer, edits Antiwar.com's letters pages and contributes to the site's news-gathering. Last but very far from least, executive director Alexia Gilmore serves as Antiwar.com's liaison with outside vendors, handles much of the paperwork, and generally keeps an eye on us all – a thankless task that she does on a volunteer basis. Talk about being a glutton for punishment!

In addition to compensating these dedicated staff members for their work, Antiwar.com also needs to pay some contributors and to cover the costs of some of the syndicated articles we run. We must also pay lawyers who assist with the operation of the Randolph Bourne Foundation, our parent organization, and provide a kind of insurance policy for our writers against legal harassment, copyright infringement, etc.

Our set of high-volume servers is essential to keeping the site a useful, accessible news source. The servers keep the site robust, fast, and fully protected against constant hacking attempts.

In terms of traffic, we're the equivalent of a major news organization; in terms of resources, we're nowhere near the so-called mainstream media, with its deep corporate pockets. We run a tight ship because we have to – operating the site with a relatively small staff, struggling against all odds to keep it afloat year after year, and providing you with fresh content every day. And we do it on the cheap. Yet we must raise a basic minimum to maintain our present level of coverage. So please – dig deep and help us out with your tax-deductible donation.

Look, I don't know how else to say this, but we're in some very big trouble unless you, the readers, bail us out. Yes, I know we're all sick unto death of hearing the b-word, but think of it this way: the government is forcing you to bail out banksters, corrupt corporate moguls, and politically connected cronies in what will go down as the biggest heist in the annals of crime. On the other hand, when you send your tax-deductible contribution to Antiwar.com, you're choosing, instead, to bail out the good guys, to redirect at least some of your hard-earned tax dollars to the deserving. It's money the War Party won't get its hands on – money that will keep the voice of dissent alive in challenging times.

Will Antiwar.com be swept up and dashed on the rocks of economic and political turbulence, just another casualty of the Second Great Depression? As a great deal of the media – online as well as dead-tree – goes down for the count and our fundraising campaign hits record lows, this is a real question.

Our staff works very hard. Our writers and editors, webmaster and web-monkeys, researchers and fact-checkers (thank you, Scott!), and the rest of the Antiwar.com crew make this the most up-to-date and comprehensive compendium of foreign policy news on the Internet. They are what makes Antiwar.com such a valuable resource.

It's a resource worth preserving through the hardest times, which may still be before us. Yet, whatever happens, of one thing you can be sure: we won't give up the fight. Hopefully, you won't either. As we enter a new era – and I don't just mean this in the sense that we have a new president – the danger of a major war, most likely fought on the battlefields of central Asia, has never been greater. And domestic trends, as I've pointed out recently, augur ill for the cause of peace.

In short, Antiwar.com is more essential than ever, so make your contribution today.

 

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