Are They So Afraid of Ron Paul?
Raimondo describes Glenn Greenwald as having to choose between "liberal hawks
and outright neocons."
It is the clarity
of Ron Paul's positions that is allowing people to finally realize that there
is no difference between the liberal hawks and the neocons and that together
they form America's only party, the war party.
It is my opinion
that what is happening in America is a new political center is being formed;
Ron Paul is pulling opposite sides of the political spectrum together and ripping
those sides away from the existing center where the war party sits. Dr. Paul
is uniting all people that value real freedom, peace, and prosperity. Once he
is triumphant, this new center will look to its left and its right and see on
the far fringes the desiccated corpses of what was once the war party and its
partners in crime, the mainstream media.
Thank you very
much for what Antiwar.com is bringing to the table.
~ Luis Almeida
am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi's declaration: "First they ignore you, then they
ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win!"
~ Alex Caragonne,
San Antonio, TX
Around the Antiwar Movement
Nice write-up. I hope it gets a discussion going so we can improve our effectiveness
as a movement.
A couple of brief
responses: First, your article focuses on demonstrations – is this the most
effective way to use our resources and focus our efforts? In particular, I wonder
about whether weekend demonstrations make much sense as the legislators are
not there to be affected by it. Doesn't it make more sense to organize demonstrations
when the legislators are working (generally Tuesday through Thursday, in Washington,
D.C.) so that they feel the demonstration and have their day disrupted by it?
Second, the neocons'
philosophy has been in power much longer than the Bush administration – we just
didn't call them neocons. The National Security Strategy was put in place by
Bush I and remained in place during the Clinton presidency. The Carter administration
put forward a doctrine of the use of military force to ensure Western access
to Middle Eastern oil. The Truman presidency approved a coup d'état in Iran
because the elected prime minister wanted to keep oil profits for Iran rather
than having it go to Western oil companies. So, we are fighting against a much
more entrenched policy that spans both parties over several decades. The challenge
that we face now that will make our task even more difficult is the world oil
supply has peaked just at a time when two major populations – China and India
– are growing by gigantic leaps and needing more oil. Thus, military and economic
domination of the Middle East has become an even greater security priority for
those in power in the United States .
Thanks for your two points – both of which are well taken.
to weekday actions, I think the reduced numbers we get for those is a serious
concern. In the final analysis, I don't think small numbers of protesters can
generally shift a congressperson's position. I think we need to show that failing
to end the war carries with it a legitimate risk of electoral defeat. A well
attended protest can show politicians that a large enough number of people care
about a given issue to potentially swing an election. It's also easier to get
media coverage on a weekend, when one is competing with fewer alternative stories.
I do hope, however, that our large protests can become more like the actions
Voters for Peace supports, by putting on speakers who will focus the crowd's
attention on specific political figures.
Second, I agree
that aggressive U.S. policies in the Middle East date back to the post-World
War II era. Some of these policies – such as support for the shah's regime –
have now come back to haunt us. That said, I think the neocon policies embodied
in the PNAC document of 1998 and then implemented after 9/11 have taken us to
a whole new level of aggression. Our leaders are now perfectly comfortable with
indefinite occupations of Middle Eastern countries. They have also placed us
on a permanent war footing. Unlike the Soviet Union, terrorism will probably
never go away, so our War on Terror – unlike the Cold War – is unwinnable.
What do VFP
and your other groups have planned over the next few months?
The lower turnouts at demonstrations is probably due in large part to a growing
feeling that demonstrations are ineffective.
is a mix – there are less reporters working and less readers reading! (At least
on Saturdays.) I'm not sure that a protest demonstrates to those in power that
they will lose votes based on the war. I'm sure the Democrats have made the
calculation that all they need to do is show some difference from Bush and the
Republicans and that will be sufficient to keep most peace voters in line. And,
if the Repubs pick anyone but Ron Paul the Dems will be able to play their lesser-evil
games and keep most peace advocates voting Dem. They may lose some peace voters
to a third party or independent candidate, but they will keep most and get the
center. At least that is the balance they have struck.
I agree that expressing
electoral power is key, which is why the Voters for Peace approach makes sense
to me. People signing a pledge to only vote for peace candidates (see VotersForPeace.us).
We will be joining in with other organizations to survey candidates – not just
incumbents but challengers – on peace and other issues. And we will be letting
voters know where the candidates stand. We are also working with peace groups
on a voter education project where we contact our members (all the groups together
will have well over a million people) and educate them, urge them to get out
and vote, and also get involved in canvassing efforts. It is nuts-and-bolts
work, but that is what is needed.
Beyond that I
see the year as one of building the grass roots. It is evident that we are most
likely to have two candidates from the major parties who will not pledge to
end the war and will not take the bombing of Iran off the table. So this election
is not likely to result in peace. We have a long road ahead of us to build the
peace majority that is needed – the people are out there, they are just not
I agree the PNAC
letter was an outline of the plan put in place by Bush II, but its roots are
in Bush I's Defense Planning Guidance, which continued in force during the Clinton
years. See "The Corporate-U.S.
Takeover of the Iraq Economy." There are long roots to the problems we are
confronting, and they will not be cut off by one election. We need to be planning
for a marathon, not a sprint.
I read your piece
at Antiwar.com, and I appreciate the time, thought, and effort you devoted to
It is strange
– the size of antiwar demonstrations has decreased even as the opposition
to the war has increased. I agree with much of what you say about the reasons
– e.g., the failure to concentrate on a single message, the lack of better
outreach to less radically left groups. But I'm afraid I'm not optimistic that
even the best of efforts will reverse the trend, at least not to the extent
necessary to achieve the goal we seek. (Frankly, I think that would require
a draft. Bush ain't too smart, but he's been smart enough not to do that. His
National Guard experience taught him something.)
I still go to
demonstrations whenever I can, but only because I find them personally uplifting.
I think most people have decided that they just don't do any good. We did, after
all, have good turnouts before the war, and both the government and the media
brushed us off like so many gnats.
I think we have
to speak the only language these people understand – money. That's what
this war is all about. That's why you never catch a whiff of neocon remorse.
If our Army is wrecked, so much the better. Think of what it will cost to rebuild
it. I'm sure Dick Cheney doesn't particularly like his poll numbers where they
are, but if he's crying, let's face it, it's all the way to the bank.
I think an economic
boycott would be our best strategy. On the last day of every month – to
commemorate another month's worth of wasted lives and wasted dollars in a wasteful
war – people would show their opposition by spending absolutely NOTHING
– no gas, no groceries, no restaurants, no movies, nothing.
It wouldn't really
disrupt the economy. Retailers wouldn't like paying clerks to stand around,
and just-in-time inventory systems would suffer a slight disruption, but for
the most part, people would just buy what they needed the day before or the
day after. But it would send a message. If you could get a significant slice
of the 70 percent who oppose the war to participate, I guarantee phones would
be ringing in the White House and on Capitol Hill the next day. The very thought
that people might learn they could go 24 hours without shopping would terrify
This need not
preclude more demonstrations. Groups could, should, and many no doubt would
organize more visible events to coincide with the boycott for the benefit of
I would call it
"One Day to End the War." It would require some publicity, but so do demonstrations.
I have no idea what a reasonable national publicity campaign would cost, but
MoveOn, True Majority, and People for the American Way would all be good places
to start. And it would require far less effort than a demonstration for people
to participate, and to far greater effect. All they have to do is plan ahead
a little and then NOT do something. If we can't do that, we probably deserve
this friggin' war.
Thanks for your
kind comments and well-considered feedback.
Are you aware
of the Iraq Moratorium? They have a protest day on the third Friday of each
month that includes refraining from buying gas. It's not quite what you propose,
but along the same line.
I'm less optimistic
that the strategy of not buying stuff on one day will work. Even if you could
get 3 million people to participate in such an action and that's a lot
retail sales would only drop 1 percent on the boycott day. Retailers
would hardly notice. Mainstream media would be very unlikely to announce such
a boycott, so you'd have to spread the word via word of mouth.
On the other hand,
if we could get 300,000 people to show up at protests (one-tenth as many), that
would make a difference. Also, unlike previous demonstrations, we need to focus
our criticism on individual members of the House. Since a House member rarely
gets more than 200,000 votes, demonstrations with five-figure turnouts can be
a serious concern if they specifically focus on a particular representative.
wish to point out that there have been other American observers who noted the
rise of dynastic politics in the United States. To be specific: Kevin Phillips,
in his book American
Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush,
published in 2004. The key point the book makes is that four generations of
the Bush family have been involved with the rise of the national-security state.
There have been other prominent political families throughout America history,
but stronger parties and strong public sentiment kept it under control. The
Republican Party in the 14 elections between 1952 and 2004 has nominated either
Richard Nixon or a Bush family member on the presidential/vice presidential
ticket in 11. This streak is unprecedented in American history. Here are the
– 1952 VP, 1956 VP, 1960 Pres., 1968 Pres., 1972 Pres.
Walker Bush – 1980 VP, 1984 VP, 1988 Pres., 1992 Pres.
Bush – 2000 Pres., 2004 Pres.
The three exceptions
during the period: 1964, 1976, 1996
Party only has one streak that even approaches this in length:
Roosevelt – 1920 VP, 1932 Pres., 1936 Pres., 1940 Pres., 1944 Pres.
~ Eric Lund
Tunnel at the End of the Light
(1) Lebanon and
Iraq are not, as Leon Hadar calls them, "failed states." They are
destroyed states. The former destroyed by Israel, the latter by the United
(2) A watershed
event has just occurred changing the dynamics of the whole region, and marking
the death knell of U.S. intervention. That is Putin's very clear declaration of
the Caspian area as off limits to the intervention or influence of any country
not on the shores of the Caspian Sea. In effect, as it may take many decades
for historians and political scientists to grasp, this declares the Caspian
Russia's Caribbean and subject to a Russian "Monroe Doctrine," if
(3) Olmert's trip
to the Russian Federation immediately after Putin's trip to Iran, which was
sudden and unexpected, marks the sea change.
The story goes
that when Napoleon invaded Russia, watching Moscow burn in the distance, set
afire by the Russians themselves, he exclaimed, "Scythians!" recalling the tactics
of the ancient inhabitants of the area in their wars with Persia.
From that point
onward, so the same story goes, he knew he had lost, though never defeated in
battle, and immediately began his retreat after a short stay in deserted and
One will also
note how Putin praised Iran as a great and ancient nation, a kind of reference
the Americans, and especially the incompetents in the White House now, are incapable
of understanding in all its full force.
The same incompetents,
one fears, are also incapable of anything like Napoleon's belated recognition,
~ Eugene Costa