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Anyone go to the anti war protest in London today?
September 28, 2002 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Anyone go to the anti war protest in London today? The number of the people has been estimated from between 3000 (by the police) to 350,000 (by the organisers). I reckon 200,000. Either way, its the largest peace protest ever in the country. Me and my friends sign was a great success, with many people commenting on it/photographing it. It was the only black one we saw, so easily stood out. It said 'Its all about the oil' on one side, and on the other there was a picture of Bush looking stupid, and 'No to War'. The protest was peaceful (or was when I left) and on the whole, a success. The only question is, will Bush and Blair take any notice?
posted by Orange Goblin (130 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I'm aware many don't, but for those that do care, the major anti-War-in-Iraq nationwide (American, that is) protest will be on October 6, according the the organizers at Not In Our Name.

And to answer your only question, Goblin, probably not. But maybe the voters will.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:43 AM on September 28, 2002


Three thousand to three hundred fifty thousand? That's a pretty wide spread.

"...on the other there was a picture of Bush looking stupid"

So, you just went with the first photo you found?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:51 AM on September 28, 2002


You wouldn't be posting this here to give your demonstration -- and your successful sign -- a little news boost, wouldja?
posted by mcwetboy at 9:52 AM on September 28, 2002


Goblin--I think XQUZ's right unfortunately... (a side note: I was in London a while back at the same time as a rally in front of Parliament about the age of consent so i went with a friend--it was a rush for the doors, and every time I was shoved or anything, everyone around me stopped immediately and asked if i was ok--it was so cute and polite, while still angry...)

XQUZ: I'm going to be in Central Park on the 6th--i didn't know it was nationwide...it probably won't make a difference either...
posted by amberglow at 9:53 AM on September 28, 2002


In this case, Yes To War. ASAP.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:58 AM on September 28, 2002


I was at the demo, my first since 1984 and it was undoubtedly huge, I watched from Hungerford bridge as nose to tail crowds passed for over three hours.

My favourite banners:
"Eat Bush" & "I'd rather jack than fight Iraq"
posted by niceness at 10:03 AM on September 28, 2002


And to think people say liberals have no sense of humour!
posted by Raya at 10:08 AM on September 28, 2002


still a small number compared to the 400,000 that showed up for the march for Liberty and Livelihood. A pro-hunting rally.
posted by Mick at 10:08 AM on September 28, 2002


Unleash the hounds of war! Follow that desert fox! Tally Ho!
posted by liam at 10:19 AM on September 28, 2002


The only question is, will Bush and Blair take any notice?

I think Adam Felber hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that Bush actually campaigned on the promise not to govern by the latest polls. So in a way, it would be hypocritical if he suddenly started to care what his constituents think....
["That's some catch, that Catch-22."]
posted by Raya at 10:19 AM on September 28, 2002


The BBC story says "Police say they have so far counted more than 150,000 people . . ." Where does this 3,000 figure come from?
posted by D.C. at 10:20 AM on September 28, 2002


Nothing against your sign, but I'd like to know exactly what is 'all about the oil'. The continued pressure to inspect for weapons? The attempts to oust a brutal tyrant from power? I'm still fairly on the fence about whether we should take action, but "it's all about the oil" sounds like a holdover slogan from the Gulf War where Iraq had invaded Kuwait. Maybe it seemed more relevant to me then?

I'm not trying to doubt your conviction, just interested to hear how yourself and other folks have (hastily?) tied this whole showdown to oil.
posted by Karl at 10:22 AM on September 28, 2002


Yesterday Bush the Younger came to Denver, and a couple of thousand folks showed up to jeer the war, more than expected, especially for 11AM on a work day.

The Authorities made sure the Prez didn't see us, but I left the demo early so I could take my daughter over to see the President of the United States of America as he sped by in his motorcade.

Amazing turnout in Great Britain; I hope it catches on here.
posted by kozad at 10:28 AM on September 28, 2002


This might have something to do with the increasing division between Britain and the US.
posted by Beholder at 10:29 AM on September 28, 2002


mcwetboy - You wouldn't be posting this here to give your demonstration -- and your successful sign -- a little news boost, wouldja? - As its front page news in the UK, I don't think it needs it.

D.C. - Where does this 3,000 figure come from? - Comes from Sky News (TV, so no link). I've heard/seen the BBC give figures from 'about 100,000' to 'over 200,000'. It was impossible to count.

Karl - Nothing against your sign, but I'd like to know exactly what is 'all about the oil' - First of all, the use of the word 'oil' is a private joke between me and my friends that I *could* explain, but you probably wouldn't find funny. And it would involve self linking, so I won't :p.

Secondly, people have tied this down to oil because there doesn't seem to be any other reason - Iraq has agreed to weapons inspectors, but Bush still wants to go charging in - why? Also, why choose to attack Iraq now, rather than some time in the past 10 years? Perhaps because Bush doesn't like the idea he doesn't control everything...

As for 'holdover slogans' - people were using the 'USA, USA how many kids did you kill today' chant, from the Vietnam war, if I remember my GCSE History...
posted by Orange Goblin at 10:49 AM on September 28, 2002


Karl, does it matter whether or not oil is really behind the Bush stance? The story sounds good, doesn't it? Quit complaining about it already.

Black signs rule.
posted by shoos at 10:53 AM on September 28, 2002


Secondly, people have tied this down to oil because there doesn't seem to be any other reason

Uh.

I'm sorry Orange Goblin, but because there "wasn't any other reason" you immediately arbitrarily wrote something about oil, put it on a sign and marched through the streets? Wow. Sounds like the work of a bored college student rather than a vigilant activist working for change.

Iraq has agreed to weapons inspectors, but Bush still wants to go charging in - why?

Geez, man, again I mean no harm, but this is sounding ever more dilettant-eish by the second. Bush is still forging ahead because Saddam has ignored ALL THE OTHER post-Gulf War resolutions, not just the ones about weapons inspections. For someone actively protesting the war, don't you read the papers? And keep in mind, I haven't decided about taking action yet either, but I still think it's good to evaluate both all sides of the situation. I guess I'm crazy like that.
posted by Karl at 11:02 AM on September 28, 2002


kozad:

The Authorities made sure the Prez didn't see us, but I left the demo early so I could take my daughter over to see the President of the United States of America as he sped by in his motorcade.

The fact that protests were kept out of the president's sight is itself rather disturbing. Have you ever seen The Year of Living Dangerously?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:10 AM on September 28, 2002


Who says I'm not a bored college student? ;p Seriously though, if you understood the joke, you'd understand the sign. If you are REALLY interested, I can email a long explanation to you, but I'd rather do the two history essays I've been putting off. I'll admit that our views weren't entirely clearly defined, other than we all think Bush is a moron and Blair is his beeyatch
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:13 AM on September 28, 2002


The New York Times Web site has, basically announced: THE WAR IS ON. Sorry boys.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:17 AM on September 28, 2002


This is good, good news. I was a little worried it would turn out to be a damp squib and give Blair another excuse to ignore us all.

...still a small number compared to the 400,000 that showed up for the march for Liberty and Livelihood. A pro-hunting rally.

It is a pity that more people are keen to support the killing of foxes than protest proposed killing of Iraqis. Although I think the success of the Countryside Alliance march had more to do with the deliberate vagueness of it; as someone - I forget who - pointed out the other day, who can argue with "liberty and livelihood"? If they'd called it the "Ripping Apart Animals Because We Enjoy Smearing Their Fresh Hot Blood On Our Ugly, Ugly Faces" march I suspect it would have been less popular. The whole thing was a shameless scam.
posted by zygoticmynci at 11:21 AM on September 28, 2002


The organisers are now reporting 400,000, but I think thats wishful thinking
posted by Orange Goblin at 11:30 AM on September 28, 2002


Give war a chance.
posted by paleocon at 11:46 AM on September 28, 2002


Nothing against your sign, but I'd like to know exactly what is 'all about the oil'.

Karl, this is the left's tactic... They don't actually argue that Saddam is an all right guy, and he doesn't deserve to be attacked. No, they are argue that Bush & Co. are evil, they are in the pocket of the oil companies, the UN needs to approve, they don't have any evidence, Gore really won... etc.... everything to distract you from the point that they won't dare argue the fact the Saddam isn't a insane mass murders hell bent on carnage...

Iraq is never the issue. Something else is always the issue.

One changes the subject when they have no valid argument.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:53 AM on September 28, 2002


The New York Times Web site has, basically announced: THE WAR IS ON. Sorry boys.

When the New York Times' mechanized armor division can invade Iraq, then they can declare war.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 11:57 AM on September 28, 2002


Steve_at_Linwood, Karl, et.al: Yawn. Try here or here. It has nothing to do with evil. But a lot to do with this.
posted by the fire you left me at 11:58 AM on September 28, 2002


... Bush & Co. are evil, they are in the pocket of the oil companies, the UN needs to approve, they don't have any evidence, Gore really won...

Impressive summary! Nice to see that the message is finally getting through.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:00 PM on September 28, 2002


No one is denying that Saddam is evil. However, bombing the Iraqi people will do nothing to stop that.
posted by Orange Goblin at 12:01 PM on September 28, 2002


Steve, your lack of ability (or unwillingness to) put such "liberal" ideas in context is disturbing. War gets people killed. Don't you think we ought to have discussion conerning our motives and goals before we march off to war? "But, Saddam's such an evil bastard" just ain't cutting it when it might be my ass on the line; I'd rather have some facts to point to. I'd rather have weapons inspectors first verify that Saddam is indeed trying to hide WMD from us. The hawks are focusing on Saddam exclusively, and that's the problem. He's their only argument for unconditional attack. He's their only issue.

And remember how most of the United States' former general corps is aginst unconditional (non-objective driven) war? I like to listen to the people with some experience, thanks.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 12:04 PM on September 28, 2002


Just for fun, the I would like the people who disagree with me to read this. And tell me were it is wrong....

On Preview:
No one is denying that Saddam is evil. However, bombing the Iraqi people will do nothing to stop that.

Orange Goblin, you must tell me how you have access to the the war plans... because I haven seen them yet... and I doubt they call for the "bombing of Iraqis"

But I am sure you would make such a broad statement with out justification..... Right?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:06 PM on September 28, 2002


I think the success of the Countryside Alliance march had more to do with the deliberate vagueness of it; as someone - I forget who - pointed out the other day, who can argue with "liberty and livelihood"?

And you have to factor in the coercion of rural types into attending by their richer neighbours: 'miss the march, and you'll never ride across my field again, you oik.' I was going to link to Will Self's glorious take-down of the countryside marchers -- "you're the Tories who can't stand the free market; you're the libertarians who can't handle homosexual rights or decriminalising drugs; you're the defenders of Fortress Britain who get bankrolled by Brussels." -- but the bloody Standard has redesigned and fucked up its archives. Typical.

Anyway, I doubt this load of marchers will create as much shit in the centre of London as last week's. Christ almighty.
posted by riviera at 12:10 PM on September 28, 2002


George_Spiggott, you are correct.

From the 2000 election:
Mr. Gore: 50,158,094 total votes
Mr. Bush: 49,820,518 total votes

A difference of 337,576 votes. But the Electoral College of course. Check out this amusing anecdote from a Mr. Scalia.
posted by the fire you left me at 12:11 PM on September 28, 2002


If the Americans can manage to hit Canadian troops in Afghanistan, I would think hitting Iraqis in Iraq shouldn't be too hard...
posted by Orange Goblin at 12:11 PM on September 28, 2002


non-objective driven

Sorry I thought that had been made pretty clear, guess you haven't watched any news for the last 6 months....

Objectives:
1. Disarmament of Iraq.
2. Over throw the current Iraqi government.

Looks clear to me.

And yes people do get killed in war.. That is something that all of our 100% volunteer Military knew when they signed up. The same thing I knew when I joined the National Guard my freshman year of college...

You dissenters are looking for a smoking gun so you can go: "Ahhh okay, now I see he was a really threat" I just hope I am not in the city were that gun goes off....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:13 PM on September 28, 2002


Go easy on Orange Goblin, folks. He's sixteen years old.

As long as the anti-war effort consists of sixteen year olds who enjoy painting pretty signs and "doing fuck-all," Bush and Blair have nothing to worry about. Have fun, Orange Goblin.

Orange Goblin: I'd rather do the two history essays I've been putting off.

Yes, improving your knowledge of history would probably be a good idea.
posted by Hieronymous Coward at 12:13 PM on September 28, 2002


As long as the anti-war effort consists of sixteen year olds . . .

Hieronymous Coward, I'm afraid you may be missing a few key demographics.
posted by the fire you left me at 12:19 PM on September 28, 2002


improving your knowledge of history would probably be a good idea.

Yeah.
posted by riviera at 12:20 PM on September 28, 2002


Oh yeah, Hieronymous forgot to mention the people who are still living in the '60....
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:21 PM on September 28, 2002


Hieronymous Coward, that's known as argument ad hominem as well as poisoning the well, and not worth a response. Besides, if Orange Goblin is writing two history essays, that's two more than anyone ever saw from our supposed history major President : can anyone produce any coursework that our esteemed President actually performed in the course of "earning" his university diplomas?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:23 PM on September 28, 2002


No need to attack Iraq... The President didn't even do his homework at Yale...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:27 PM on September 28, 2002


Oh, I didn't realise MeFi had an age requirement. Sorry to intrude on an 'adult' discussion, I'll get back to 17th Century Europe, and come back in a few years when I know what I'm talking about, perhaps?
posted by Orange Goblin at 12:30 PM on September 28, 2002


Oh yeah, Hieronymous forgot to mention the people who are still living in the '60....

When only those Americans with a glorious future in Republican politics had the luxury of not fighting wars from the sharp end? Yeah, that's so in the past.
posted by riviera at 12:32 PM on September 28, 2002


No need to attack Iraq... The President didn't even do his homework at Yale...

We must attack Iraq because there are people living in the '60s.

(We can do this nonsense all day)
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:32 PM on September 28, 2002


Go easy on Orange Goblin, folks. He's sixteen years old.

Quite right. Because, of course, sixteen year-olds are by definition incapable of independent thought. No, wait, hold that - they're incapable of any kind of thought! Yeah, and moreover they're all good-for-nothing stoners with no interests outside of girls. And that godawful music with the shouting and the noise. Where did I leave my slippers?
posted by zygoticmynci at 12:35 PM on September 28, 2002


I wouldn't know, you'll have to ask someone who lived through the great slipper loss of '67...
posted by Orange Goblin at 12:38 PM on September 28, 2002


We can do this nonsense all day

Where have you been? This has been going on for months now. We have long ago gone past the point of having a discussion that will result in anyone changing his/her mind. Both sides are now backed so far into their corners, and are up against the wall, that these rants back and forth will never go anywhere.

It is like trench warfare. One side sends artillery fire at the other, and the over side counter-attacks, and the line never moves. But for some reason the fight goes on... Each side knowing how correct they are.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:39 PM on September 28, 2002


Orange Goblin, you must tell me how you have access to the the war plans... because I haven seen them yet... and I doubt they call for the "bombing of Iraqis"
Nice sarcasm, but I think Orange Goblin is very reasonably basing his expectations of the proposed war on past experience--i.e., how the last several U.S. attacks, including those on Iraq, elements of the former Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan, have been conducted. The standard methodology involves dropping bombs.

Surely you're not suggesting that Bush will try something original, like hand-to-hand combat?

And enough with the ad hominem crap, people. An intelligent, informed 16-year-old has a lot more at stake in the future of international law than, say, Dick Cheney, who could shuffle off this mortal coil at any moment.
posted by Raya at 12:41 PM on September 28, 2002


Let's stop with all this warmongering. What we need is a little recreation.
posted by the fire you left me at 12:43 PM on September 28, 2002


Wake me up when there's an anti-peace demonstration I can go to.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:44 PM on September 28, 2002


Orange Goblin, you must tell me how you have access to the the war plans... because I haven seen them yet... and I doubt they call for the "bombing of Iraqis"
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Snickersnicker.........
Ummm Steve? Are they going to bomb somebody else in Iraq? The Germans, perhaps? I think when a superpower chooses to drop bombs in a specified nation, they often land upon citizens of that nation. But that's just me.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:45 PM on September 28, 2002


I fail to see what a bunch of chinless wonders prancing about London booking up all the best restaurants and 5 star hotels has got to do with any of it.
posted by Fat Buddha at 12:53 PM on September 28, 2002


And that's supposed to mean what, exactly?
posted by Orange Goblin at 12:56 PM on September 28, 2002


I think when a superpower chooses to drop bombs in a specified nation, they often land upon citizens of that nation. But that's just me.

But how could that happen they have smart bombs?
posted by zygoticmynci at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2002


Does this thread have a point anymore? Just checking.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:06 PM on September 28, 2002


Orange Goblin, old cock, if you were referring to my comment, it is supposed to mean exactly what it says.
posted by Fat Buddha at 1:13 PM on September 28, 2002


Orange Goblin - I think Fat Buddha is making a comparison with last weekend's Countryside Alliance march. The point being one is altruistic in intent, the other has the appearance of being basically about self-interest.
posted by plep at 1:13 PM on September 28, 2002


So now I'm old??? Perhaps actually doing my History is starting to look like a good idea..
posted by Orange Goblin at 1:16 PM on September 28, 2002


I went to the march in London today although I've been undecided about military action until quite recently.

I've lived in war zones and experienced aerial bombardment first hand. Anyone who thinks wars are nice clean things with little impact on civilian populations should move to Baghdad as soon as possible to experience their own personal reaction to being bombed. Ideally you should take your children and relatives and friends and homes (which you have spent a lifetime paying for) with you and see how you feel when some of it become collateral damage. I was in Pakistan earlier this year and over and over again I met Afghans too traumatised to return to Kabul because of the memories every street and neighbourhood holds for them. imagine every street (and I mean every street) in your town reminding you of a dead friend or relative.

there was a very large pro-Palestine contingent at the march today. I found it slightly annoying as the specific issue of the day was attacking Iraq, but it raises what I feel is an important point - the Bush/Blair push for war has completely ignored the issue of Arabic popular opinion, and done nothing to address the fears and concerns of your typical 'Arab in the street'. It could get out of control very very quickly once the bombing starts.
posted by gravelshoes at 1:25 PM on September 28, 2002


incidentally...
posted by gravelshoes at 1:28 PM on September 28, 2002


Oh yeah, Hieronymous forgot to mention the people who are still living in the '60....

...as opposed to the 50's?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:49 PM on September 28, 2002


na... the '50 don't count
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:49 PM on September 28, 2002


Just for fun, the I would like the people who disagree with me to read this. And tell me were it is wrong....

It's ironic in that if you replace every instance of Saddam with Bush in the first paragraph, all statements would still hold true.

Almost nobody in the peace camp will stand up and say that Bush is not a fundamental problem for the world. Almost nobody in that camp is willing even to describe what the world will look like if the peace camp's advice is taken and Bush is permitted to remain in power in Washington, DC, working away on his biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons programs, still tyrannizing his own people, fomenting radicalism, and perpetuating the current political climate in the "Free" world.
posted by mfli at 1:55 PM on September 28, 2002


And yes people do get killed in war.. That is something that all of our 100% volunteer Military knew when they signed up.

Our military is there to defend us. They're willing to die for us. So isn't it our obligation to send them off to die for a cause that is worthy, like defeating terror? As opposed to making sure one party or the other is in control of the legislative branch? Or detracting from a tanking economy? Or the fact that Al Qaeda is not yet defeated?

I think we owe 'em that much.
posted by owillis at 1:57 PM on September 28, 2002


I went to the March.
An estimate of numbers by the police of 150,000 seems incredibly low: I stood opposite Big Ben for over 2 hours, having gotten there late (huge traffic snarlups, o'course), and the March did not seem to stop.

The atmosphere was overwhelmingly peaceful, with people of all ages, classes, colours and religions hand-in-hand & placard-to-placard, chanting, honking & whistling.

One of the most entertaining 'exhibits' was the London Alternative choir (or whatever they were called) singing peace songs along with the crowd.

The police were friendly, tho' their choppers were mocked and jeered, and my personal hackles were raised when they personally escorted the 'Class War' anarchists with tens of uniformed PC's , a photographer or two and several paddy wagons in close support.

I challenged a couple of things I saw: a group of young Muslim lads dressed with dummy suicide belts (seemed out of place on a peace march...) and a family of same which allowed their young boys to march with toy rifles (ditto).

We know Tony Blair wasn't in Downing St. when we walked past: however, we know he will have heard us, one way or another.

The dangers of this little war escalating to a regional conflagration are too high to ignore: containment has worked, deterrence will continue to work, disarmament is not just for the Iraqis.

I wish I was a praying man...
posted by dash_slot- at 1:58 PM on September 28, 2002


"...there was a very large pro-Palestine contingent at the march today. I found it slightly annoying as the specific issue of the day was attacking Iraq, but it raises what I feel is an important point - the Bush/Blair push for war has completely ignored the issue of Arabic popular opinion, and done nothing to address the fears and concerns of your typical 'Arab in the street'. It could get out of control very very quickly once the bombing starts."

Quite.
posted by dash_slot- at 1:59 PM on September 28, 2002


So isn't it our obligation to send them off to die for a cause that is worthy, like defeating terror?

Umm Yeah. Despite all the distractions, that is what attacking Iraq is about.

For more reference read the musings of Eugene Volokn over at NRO.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:19 PM on September 28, 2002


To answer the original question: yes, I was at the protest and it nearly bloody killed me. My feet ache, my knees which have been a fucking war zone for the last 15 years are just about to collapse, and I had the journey home from hell. I'm damned glad I did it.

One person in this thread referred to "poisoning the well", by now I think it's more like a beer keg full of rather ripe piss. I must admit I find it disheartening.

Anyway, I'm going to make a few points at tedious length. Please feel free to avoid this post like a dose of the clap if that's not agreeable.

Steve_at_Whatever bemoans the fact that no matter how often he (or anyone else) repeats their opinions they just don't seem to be adopted by the opposition. I read in a book recently (and I can't find the damned quote) that while two people will leave an argument with much the same opinions as they arrived, after the confrontation their arguments will be different. And surely the point of argument is test our own opinions rather than change the opinions of others.

Secondly, I believe that there are so many good arguments against going to war against Iraq that I never want to hear the following ones ever again:

Bush is stupid: Undoubtedly true, but even stupid people can be right occasionally and therefore this argument is useless
It's all about oil: Some people on this forum have said that if it was just about oil they'd still be happy to go ahead.
He just wants revenge for daddy: This bollocks might wash with ignorant whopping Texans but I don't believe a damn word of it.

For the record, I'm against the war because already the Iraqi people are being bombed and sanctioned into early graves. If they weren't being killed and starved they may have got rid of Saddam years ago (an undoubtedly unpleasant man). There is no existing threat from Saddam, and proof of having weapons is no proof of using them. I often have a knife in my pocket but I don't go around stabbing people. Yes, he has gassed the Kurds but he did that with full approval from Britain and America (Britain tried to cover it up). He didn't gas any of our military during the last Gulf War and if he was going to gas our own people surely it would have been then.

I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that a war against Iraq will occur, never doubted it for a minute. I marched because I don't want to see the death of innocent people, much less pay for it in taxes.

How does Orange Gob know that there will be a bombing campaign in Iraq? Hmmm, let's see. Because it has already been covered in great depth on these very forums that America and Britain are already bombing the shit out of Iraq. Because there are already loads of planes being lined up ready for attack and what do you think those planes will be dropping? Magic unicorns, pixie dust or bombs? Gee, I just don't fucking know what it could be.

Oh yes, and if any of you ask me to give sources you can go to hell. I mean you surely know how to use a search engine by now. Some of us have been on our feet all bloody day.
posted by dodgygeezer at 2:28 PM on September 28, 2002


Take a break, S-at-L.

You've plenty of other threads to troll in, can you leave this to "Anyone (who went) to the anti war protest in London today?"
posted by dash_slot- at 2:29 PM on September 28, 2002


steve - that sort of paranoid fiction doesn't help anyone. also, I started a criticism of that fog of peace article for you, but got bored as I have better things to do with my life. The ridiculous statements about the peace camp in the first paragraph sound like they are written by a child.

you say: We have long ago gone past the point of having a discussion that will result in anyone changing his/her mind. Both sides are now backed so far into their corners, and are up against the wall, that these rants back and forth will never go anywhere.

but you just seem to be talking about yourself. There are many open minds here if you stop for a moment and listen.
posted by gravelshoes at 2:30 PM on September 28, 2002


~sigh~ Quite a bitter little battle we are having on this thread. I leave you with this thought that I have been having all week: Women keep giving birth to babies and men keep sending them off to war.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:36 PM on September 28, 2002 [1 favorite]


Orange Goblin, you must tell me how you have access to the the war plans... because I haven seen them yet... and I doubt they call for the "bombing of Iraqis"

This NY Times article rather clearly says that the administrations' war plans call for bombing sites such as "roadways, fiberoptic sites... and laboratories." You think we won't hit any civillians?

Hieronymous Coward, you are way, way out of line with that age comment. You listed no contact information in your profile, so kindly be quiet.

On preview: We have long ago gone past the point of having a discussion that will result in anyone changing his/her mind. Both sides are now backed so far into their corners, and are up against the wall, that these rants back and forth will never go

So, we go to war? Your side is automatically right, eh?

That article of yours makes some decent points about the left. Sometimes it's pretty insightful. But it convieniently avoids actually refuting all the points the left is actually making, much as you're doing here.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:37 PM on September 28, 2002


Sorry, I didn't actually link. My fault. Here is the article.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:41 PM on September 28, 2002


dash_slot - didn't see the Alternative Choir, but did you experience the 'Mexican Sound Waves'? When everyone was standing at Embankment, hemmed in by the police, waves of cheering, whistle blowing, clapping, etc would wash up and down the lines. However, this got kind of dull after an hour or so, so we went past the police to do some actual marching.

Oh, and my friend just informs me our sign was on ITV news. Woo :p
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:47 PM on September 28, 2002


All these open minds... ahh...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:47 PM on September 28, 2002


All these open minds... ahh...

Pot. Kettle. Black.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:49 PM on September 28, 2002


Speaking of history, it seems to me the most similar historical precedent to today's marches are the Anti-Cruise Missile marches in the early 80's.

Anyone here who was a part of those who can contrast and compare, how the were alike and/or how they are different?
posted by Jos Bleau at 2:49 PM on September 28, 2002


Digression/
I still cannot figure out why Bush wants this war, for example:
1) It's all about oil - this seems illogical enough, as there are many other ways to control Iraq's oil. See UN's oil for food project. In many ways the US and the UN control Iraqi oil through the use of sanctions.
2)WMD - there seems to be very little hard information about this. We cannot confirm or deny the presence of WMD without UN inspectors, of course, but we withdrew them in 1998 (Rumsfield doesn't seem to remember this finer point.) Many countries have WMD and many of those countries acquired them through US or Russian assistance. How is Iraq different?
3)SH used chemical weapons on his own people - yes, he did. He used chemical weapons on the Kurds while the US and Britain looked the other way. I seem to remember the Reagan admin tried to blame the Iranians, which is a pattern of US behavior concerning chemical weapons. (See yellow rain over Cambodia.) This event occurred nearly 20 years ago, why are we ready to go to war now?
4)W wants to get revenge for his father - this is pure BS. Who do we think W is? Hamlet? I don't trust W, but he's not insane.
5)We want to liberate the Iraqi people - but not the Kurds, or the shiites, or the sunnis, just the "Iraqis." Sounds like Vietnam styled rationalization.
6)The war is a distraction away from domestic problems - well, yea it is, but aren't there better ways to distract the populace without destabilizing a very volatile region? It strikes me that the president is avoiding talk about the economy at all costs, but the cost here is just to high to believe. Create some democrat scandals, for god's sake, they had their hands all over Enron too.
So why is there going to be a war? Anyone?

So why is the US going to invade Iraq?
/digression
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:04 PM on September 28, 2002


I don't ask to be snarky, I want a brainstorm session or something. I don't think the US or Bush are evil war mongers, there must be a reason. Somebody please fill me in.
posted by elwoodwiles at 3:08 PM on September 28, 2002


orange: - nah, missed that, tho it seems it was fun for a while.

Did you see the enormous 'Blair as Bush's Puppet' puppet? that was from Oxford (my home town), well proud of seeing that on the News.

My friends (inc. 'Liz', an retired Quaker who gets arrested demonstrating at Faslane Nuclear Naval Base, & the like) says she hasn't seen anything like it since the anti-Cruise marches of the 8o's, and CND '81. I personally believe this marching season will continue: there are plenty of people opposed on moral grounds, there will be more direct action to jam up cities all round the UK if this war goes ahead.

S_at_L: why are you still here? Were you in London today? Did your mommy never tell you " If you have nothing positive to say, say nothing at all? "
posted by dash_slot- at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2002


elwwoodwiles: The US govt. now has a new doctrine - project power wherever, whenever, whyever. They fear rivals, they need to feed the monsters in their corporate constituencies, they need bogeymen, thet are protected from the consequences of their actions.

They are out of control. We've been here before.

Rome was a republic for hundreds of years before it became an empire. The world has become an agglomeration of consumers for the US corporations to sell to, and that must be secured. The DoD and its clients/suppliers need everincreasing profits/power. The pork barrel grows ever larger, as does the trough next to it.

If you wanted an easy victory, wouldn't you choose a 3rd world country like Iraq (easy meat last time, eh?) to test your new weapons? Or another country, like China (horrid dictator, but too big), or Zimbabwe (horrid dictator, but too small & far away & anyway, full of Africans)?
posted by dash_slot- at 3:31 PM on September 28, 2002 [1 favorite]


In response to elwood

I think the reason's are as follows (in order):

1: Oil. I read that currently fifty per cent of the oil the USA uses comes from overseas and that this will rise to two thirds by 2020. Saudi Arabia is becoming increasingly unstable and may not remain a suitable supplier of oil for much longer. Iraq has the second highest reserves of oil in the world. Like I said earlier, some people think this is a good reason for war. Logically, it has a bit more integrity than the reasons given now I suppose, but I still don't like it (natch)

2: Bogeyman. Military intelligence looked for a country called Al'queda on a map and couldn't find (sorry, couldn't resist) it but the USA must see that the war on terrorism continues. Afghanistan has nothing left to bomb and another target must be found. The world contains many hated and unpleasant dictators but none could guarantee more support than Saddam who is already known by most Americans - therefore, by faulty logic, he must be the most evil man in the world.

3: Weapons. War is good for business and the weapons business has been good to Bush. This isn't the sole reason but I'm sure it can give it an extra push

4: Election. Again not the main reason but certainly an advantage. All countries love a war particularly if it is short, efficient and involves few casualties of your own army. This will certainly be the case in Iraq - in fact I predict that they will pad this war out just so it doesn't look too easy (where's the joy in that)

Bizarrely enough, I have absolutely no idea what Blair's motivation is. Since he is my country's representative I actually find this lack of openness very worrying - at least Bush is entirely transparent
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:45 PM on September 28, 2002


Blair is getting the Bush love. Its the only explanation..
posted by Orange Goblin at 3:49 PM on September 28, 2002


dodgygeezer I liked your comment(s). I am sick of stupid reasons against Bush and the US, and I am sick of stupid reasons to launch a major war. I am basically sick of everyone who bothers to comment on this, except you.
posted by chaz at 3:52 PM on September 28, 2002


Orange Goblin: I liked George Galloway's comment that was something like:
"Our relationship with America is like Clinton and Lewinsky's. It's unfair, undignified and it means we have to spend too much time on our knees"

The muslims didn't seem too keen on that one but I was laughing my head off
posted by dodgygeezer at 4:01 PM on September 28, 2002


Bush: Y'aint my poodle, y'alls mah bee-yatch!

Blair: Woof! Woof!

life as a client state...
posted by dash_slot- at 4:01 PM on September 28, 2002


btw I read that the co-theme of the march was something to do with palestine. i also read that London's mayor echoed Orange Goblin's sign. What's his story?
posted by chaz at 4:02 PM on September 28, 2002


Kudos to the peace protestors (an oxymoron?) for standing up for their beliefs. Free expression is essential for the continuance and spread of democracy and human dignity.

Ignoring the problem in its entirety, however, simply might not be the best solution.

Here's my proposal. It's probably as flawed as any other, but it is an attempt at a compromise.

Pre-emptive strikes by the US upon a sovereign nation would violate the very standards we Americans have long fought to establish and preserve. It is our duty, I think, to prove that we really believe the ideals we purport to believe by applying them to the entirety of the world, not just to ourselves.

I am a former US Army soldier, a veteran of the Gulf War of 1991, and someone who wished then we had "finished the job" by removing Saddam from power. I do not, however, believe he is significantly more dangerous to the world now than he was then.

We know that Saddam Hussein is an evil man who has done and continues to do evil things to his own people. But we also know that what he does is no more evil than what any of a half-dozen or so other regimes around the world are currently doing to their own people. And we know his quest for weapons of mass destruction poses a threat to region and possibly to the world. But so do similar quests undertaken by any of a half-dozen or so other regimes around the world. And we know he is in direct violation of several UN resolutions. But so is the United States and Israel and any of a half-dozen or so other regimes around the world

Basically, he's just not the baddest bad guy around. Certainly not the only one.

But he's an easy target.

But if we do attack, he may do something desperate that he might not otherwise do.

So I propose the UN set an immediate deadline for compliance and the admission of a large group inspectors, say within two weeks. But the UN should mandate that those inspectors be accompanied by a large force of armed "peacekeepers" whose job it will be to ensure the security of those inspectors. They will also guarantee unfettered access. To back the threat, Saddam will be reminded of the aircraft carriers and battleships waiting in the Persian Gulf should they be needed. The inspectors will be given the ability to call in air strikes, with sufficient warning to the Iraqis, of course, to ensure any WMD or WMD facilities discovered are destroyed immediately, not on Saddam's timetable. At the completion of the operation, no matter how long that may be, a smaller contingent of inspectors and peacekeepers will remain to help ensure that no further WMD production ensues.

Meanwhile, a second group of peacekeepers will work to ensure the safety of the Iraqi people from their leader, much as was done in Yugoslavia, but hopefully in a better organized fashion.

Should Saddam reject these demands -- and it must be made clear to him that his is a criminal regime long in violation of international law -- then air strikes against legitimate military targets, government offices, and his palace should immediately ensue.

But not before. As I said before, pre-emptive strikes by the US upon a sovereign nation would violate the very standards we Americans have long fought to establish and preserve.

Why Saddam when he's not the only villain around? Because he is more or less universally viewed as a villain and we have decades of evidence against him. The UN is supposed to be the world body, the voice of peace and reason to guide the world through its difficulties. The UN should act against all such regimes, but not all at once. Saddam should be first, and he should be the example to the other despots, the cautionary example that teaches that the world will not stand for such behavior and will fight for the dignity and lives of all its citizens.
posted by Steve Hight at 4:19 PM on September 28, 2002


dash_slot - I saw a dog with a sign on its lead saying 'I'm not Bush's poodle'...

chaz - I heard that old Ken was in the march somewhere, but nothing more detailed than that. Perhaps he was investigating an alternate way to reduce traffic? ;p
posted by Orange Goblin at 4:26 PM on September 28, 2002


Re: Britain's supposed 'special relationship' with the US, Robin Ramsay's essay "God Save the President!" (found here) said it best:
...Britain is useful to the US chiefly as a figleaf of "international support" and as a proxy, a diplomatic gofer. This does a little to help prevent the US looking entirely like a "rogue state", imposing its will with impunity on the rest of the world. How seriously the United States actually takes Britain was illustrated when, without so much as a phone call to the British government, the US invaded Grenada, a member of the British Commonwealth whose head of state is formally the Queen...
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:30 PM on September 28, 2002


The Observers view. It's a bit irreverent.
posted by Fat Buddha at 4:58 PM on September 28, 2002


Alas, I couldn't go today, but a large number of my friends did. Good on everyone who went. Anyone for the day of action on October 6th?

I placed a bet with some yesterday that the official difference between the numbers by the police and organisers would be 150k - they should have had a counter like at the countryside one :) More people should have gone in tweed today..
posted by Mossy at 5:13 PM on September 28, 2002


FB: actually, quite cool & accurate. I saw the fake suicide bombers and objected [ not to contradict myself from the other thread: if they wanna blow 'emselves up, fine; just not infront of the children.]

The march had a Sunday School outing, and several contradictions - I had a communist ask me to buy a t-shirt, but he only had brown left [ugh!], otherwise, "Not In My Name" sums it up for me.

Now, if only I can get the Muslims on the March to recognise my human rights as a non-Heterosexual...
posted by dash_slot- at 5:14 PM on September 28, 2002


Regarding the numbers, last weeks march of Hooray Henries and their lackies is the only time I have seen no dispute between police figures and marchers figures. Remarkable.
posted by Fat Buddha at 5:32 PM on September 28, 2002


Remarkable.

Well, the Commissioner of the Met doesn't want to be persona non grata next time he's at the hunt, does he? (Or the lodge, for that matter.)
posted by riviera at 5:47 PM on September 28, 2002


I agree with the protesters. In fact, I think the US ought to just pull out of the world. Pull its troops out of Europe, the Middle-East, South America, Asia. Pull it's horrible media out of the world. Cease exporting its evil consumerism. Close every Starbucks, McDonalds, CitiBank, and Chase branch outside of the US. Withdraw all Dell, and Microsoft, and Sun and Oracle products. Withdraw from the IMF and the World Bank. Cancel all third-world debt (but, of course, make no future third-world loans ... leave "the people" free to develop their own prosperity - and free to suffer the consequences if they can't). Pull all influence (and money) out of the UN.

Project force nowhere - simply use it's military might to protect its own borders, and let the rest of the world fend for itself. You don't think you need assertive protection from Saddam? Ok. We can protect ourselves from him should you turn out to be wrong. Can you? You wanna risk it? You think we should just make demands through the UN? Tell me - what do your demands mean without the implicit threat of US force behind them?

But obviously, it is a moot point. Soon after the "Evil Satan" withdraws from the world, Saddam will only need to hear a couple of rounds of Kumbaya, and he'll immediately become nice (since it is the US that is causing him to act the way he acts, right?). Let uranium go any damn place it pleases. Let Europe pay the costs of its own defense from rouge eastern bloc states. Israel would quickly fall (as well as several of the more liberal middle-eastern states) - but that should get rid of all the "tension" in the middle east, right? Let China take Taiwan. And Japan. Let Pakistan and India have at it (the fallout shouldn't affect too much of the EU if the winds happen to be calm).

Yeppers ... the world would be a much safer, more stable place without the nasty US war mongers. I personally would love to give the protesters exactly what they want. Withdraw from them everything they consider "evil".

And then phone them in a couple of years ... and see how much they like the world that resulted from meeting their demands.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:50 PM on September 28, 2002


Me and my friends sign was a great success, with many people commenting on it/photographing it. It was the only black one we saw, so easily stood out. It said 'Its all about the oil' on one side, and on the other there was a picture of Bush looking stupid, and 'No to War'.

Do you want a cookie? Sounds like you need your own blog instead of using metafilter as a discussion group for your activities.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 5:54 PM on September 28, 2002


Actually, some of MM's oddly defensive comments are attractive. I wish the EU would develop a common defence force, its unlikely due to expansion of membership and language/culture issues.

MM: I don't want the US to withdraw from the world, I want to have it agree to use the UN to legitimate the projection of it's power. None of the proteters seem to have said what you assume they did. Nor, indeed, have any of the many American dissenters said that. Why asume that, and go off on one?
Tell me your responses to these queries:
- why Iraq (not China/Zimbabwe/Saudi Arabia?)
- why now?
- what next?

The pro-War faction needs to convince people, or the criticism will grow, and the public - US included - will continue to protest. That's a democratic right, isn't it?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:11 PM on September 28, 2002


O, and I meant to add my favourite placard:
large, flourescent green, square board with an arrow pointing to one side and two words on it: GULF SALE.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:26 PM on September 28, 2002


I am personally looking forward to the feeling of slight-to-serious chagrin that all these protesters are going to feel, three to nine months from now, when the newscasts of Iraqis celebrating in the streets and bringing gifts to US soldiers manning the tanks in their town squares, after Saddam has been ousted in a short, low-casualty campaign of US and British forces.

How many times do they have to be wrong? How long will they keep defending regimes which are completely and utterly committed to destroying their way of life?
posted by MattD at 6:28 PM on September 28, 2002


I say, MidasMulligan old chap, would you do me the small kindness of explaining who these liberal middle eastern states are?
Closing Starbucks and Mcdonalds? Please tell me its true.
Leave the people free to suffer the consequences? I really don't think the world would survive without the benign hand of the US to guide it. So what if some recalcitrants are made to cry uncle from time to time, it's for their own good.
God bless war profiteers.
India is a secular democracy, Pakistan isn't, so why does the US cosy up to Pakistan?
Please, enlighten me, which part of the world has ever benefited from the intervention of the US in the last 30 years? Which country that the US has imposed itself upon now enjoys peace and prosperity?
posted by Fat Buddha at 6:32 PM on September 28, 2002


Oi, MattD, while you are at it can you give me next weeks lottery numbers?
posted by Fat Buddha at 6:34 PM on September 28, 2002


Please, enlighten me, which part of the world has ever benefited from the intervention of the US in the last 30 years? Which country that the US has imposed itself upon now enjoys peace and prosperity?

My god, I never thought I'd find myself backing up something MM said (small joke, very small) but South Korea, with caveats of course, could be used as an example of this. Although there may not be many others.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:50 PM on September 28, 2002


three to nine months from now, when the newscasts of Iraqis celebrating in the streets and bringing gifts to US soldiers manning the tanks in their town squares, after Saddam has been ousted in a short, low-casualty campaign of US and British forces.

You mean like not in Afghanistan? That's the triumph of hope over experience, if ever I saw it.
posted by riviera at 6:57 PM on September 28, 2002


Midas, I have no problem with the idea of US intervention in international affairs but you can't have it both ways. Either the US is intervening for its own good, which doesn't always take into account the best interests of other populations. Or, as you seem to imply, it's intervening on behalf of those populations, which is sweetly altruistic, but should take into account what those folks want. Otherwise it sounds like "We know what's best for you" which is pinko thinking. To suggest that the two are one and the same, that what's good for the US is good for the world, would be naive beyond belief.
posted by liam at 7:15 PM on September 28, 2002


MM: I don't want the US to withdraw from the world, I want to have it agree to use the UN to legitimate the projection of it's power. None of the protesters seem to have said what you assume they did. Nor, indeed, have any of the many American dissenters said that. Why asume that, and go off on one?

Actually, I went off on it precisely because of the point you've just articulated. I know the protesters don't want what I outlined. And I do agree that they have a democratic right to protest - as I have a democratic right to deliver my opinion about the protest (why would you say "... isn't it?" ... did I claim anywhere that I didn't think they had the right to protest?)

My position is that they freely choose to speak their minds - and use that right to condemn the US. Fine. But they are also implying many things that they aren't saying. Of course they don't want the US to turn inward and withdraw support. The EU is now completely accustomed to a large US military presence. We - the US taxpayers - fund their defense. It is extremely expensive.

The UK, France, Germany want to speak freely about how nasty the US is? Great. Let them choose to fund their own protection. Let them try to figure out what social programs (that they so often lecture us for not having) they are going to cut to pay the full cost of their own defense. Or let them raise their own taxes. Yes - they have the right to protest ... But from my perspective, every quarter I write large checks to the IRS, some of which goes to paying for the protection of a bunch of people who I saw today calling my President evil. I say good - then let's remove the evil. It'll be much cheaper for the US - we could defend our own borders for a quarter the cost it takes to project force around the world. Supporting and training a soldier in North Carolina is way cheaper than supporting that soldier in Germany (and the money would support the US economy, not the German one).

But the EU protesters do not want that. They want, in essence, for a fully equal voice in how force is used ... but they don't want to pay a fully equal price to fund that force. What does "work through the UN" mean? That they have equal decision-making authority about the use of force, but when it does have to be used, it is usually 75% American and 25% everyone else. All I'm saying is ... why?

Europeans have gotten quite used to this. The German fellow feels completely free to trash talk the US for the sake of his own re-election ... while also depending upon millions of US dollars flowing into Germany every year for the defense of his own country ... I'd say America ought to - for once - stand up and say "fuck you. Defend yourself. Do without American soldiers and American bases and American dollars". If I'm staying at someone's house, but also paying their mortgage and buying them food, and they want to call me an asshole ... great ... but they should damn well expect me to move out, and to do without my support as well.

The Brussels bureaucrats think nothing of tanking mergers of American companies, while at the same time EU businessmen and businesswomen will frankly say they don't expect their businesses to thrive again until the US economy pulls out of the recession. For quite some time Europe has used the US as a whipping boy, easily spouting protest after protest - while at the same time being fully dependent upon the US for both economic and military support. And they've gotten away with it.

I don't want the protesters to stop protesting - but what I would like is for them to be forced to take full responsibility for their positions. They are free to say "Bush = evil". Great. Then let them live in a world where Bush cares nothing for their defense, the US taxpayers remove all support for it, and they have to face the truth themselves ... that if Hussain is a lunatic, it is up to them - and their own taxes - not the US, to take care of the situation.

Maybe they'd figure out how frickin' weird it is that 400,000 people would protest the US, and zero would protest against Saddam.
posted by MidasMulligan at 7:54 PM on September 28, 2002


My favourite banners:
"Eat Bush" & "I'd rather jack than fight Iraq"


From the September 29, 2002 New York Times:
War Averted!
Bush Credits Sexual Double Entendres On Protest Posters For Convincing Him Not To Invade Iraq: "It was really an eye-opener that young people would prefer masturbation over fighting Saddam."
posted by pardonyou? at 8:05 PM on September 28, 2002


I constantly think about this New Yorker article and MeFi discussion from March. You really should read it. If you reread the discussion, remember that it was before any of this BS anti-Iraq rhetoric began. I fully support the removal of Saddam, entirely based on that article about what he did to the Kurds already. Fuck oil. I think genocide is a crime that warrants action. Maybe the West hasn't done anything about it before, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't start now. And not the US. The world community. But then again, war is bad and we should find non-violent solutions. I don't know... I'm too tired to think right now. And I just watched Dr. Strangelove. Creepy. [/rant]

blah blah blah Atlas Shrugging blah blah.
posted by The Michael The at 8:15 PM on September 28, 2002


We agree about something: pull your troops out. And I wouldn't mind if you took your spying golfballs, your nuclear armed airplanes, your unhealthy restaurants, your merchant bankers, your trash culture.

That doesn't mean 'withdraw from the world'. The British have hardly withdrawn from the world, nor have the Dutch, Swedes, Italians, etc. There is engagement which is not military, is there not? And where necessary - when I fascist state invades another, and a world coalition pulls together to restore the rightful (well, recognised, if not entirely legitimate) rulers - yes, I refer to Gulf War II* - even military engagement with UN backing can be justified.

That's an opinion. I like a whole lot about the US & it's culture, and I'm free to choose what I like: Chuck Berry, HBO, San Francisco, Levi's, Space Exploration, Hemingway, Warhol, blahblahblah. You have a culture which has many admirable parts. I don't feel obliged to swallow it wholesale - some of it is proving a little unhealthy.

*Gulf War I being Iran-Iraq, 1980-1988
posted by dash_slot- at 8:22 PM on September 28, 2002


pardonyou?: "i'd rather jack..." probably refers to the dance/music genre, as 'jack' referring to masturbation is not a common term over here. It's understood as a US idiom, meaning 'wank'. (AFAIK)
posted by dash_slot- at 8:24 PM on September 28, 2002


We agree about something: pull your troops out.

Really? how fully have you thought through the ramifications of this position? The presence of US military is now so utterly status quo that I suspect few can envision what the world would look like if it did withdraw all military. Remember, much of whatever is considered a "problem" is quite often actually a solution to what used to be considered a problem at some point in the past. Take the sizable US military presence in Germany. Remember how it got there (after WW2)? Why it stayed there (the Soviet Union & the cold war)? Do you think the Soviet Union wouldn't have attempted to grab a lot of Europe had the US not been deeply involved? But now that everything's fine, we should just leave, right? So the US pulls out, the Germans understandably insist they they be able to fully provide for their own defense. You like the thought of a now fully re-united Germany, armed to the teeth? Think that will be conducive to European stability? What do you suppose the French would think about it?

You think the UN should handle conflicts? Good. It will be actually quite humorous to watch (as you say) the Dutch, the Swedes, and the Italians mount the campaign to deal with Iraq when Hussain does get nuclear ... as every bit of evidence suggests he is attempting to. Why should the US pay a dime, or risk one of it's own boys' lives? Hussain doesn't have long-range delivery capabilities ... it'll be you, not me, that is most immediately at risk. Besides, Europe is very good at dealing with violent dictators on it's own, isn't it?

And so far as the unhealthy restaurants and trash culture goes - funny thing about that. EU politicians and intellectuals almost universally hate it. Run entire political campaigns about it. Try to pass laws against it. The trouble with it is, however, that significant numbers of the actual citizens of those countries seem to love the stuff. Stupid, unelightened twits.

And ... one of my oldest friends - in fact the best man at my wedding - is a merchant banker, who does most of his business in Europe. And if it's all the same to you, most of the European businesspeople he deals with - and who's businesses he helps fund - would just assume our merchant bankers stayed for a bit longer.
posted by MidasMulligan at 9:12 PM on September 28, 2002


The US cannot afford to get out of the world. We are currently, according to our own figures, the greatest debtor nation on the planet. Markets are already in decline, and we will soon exhaust even the capital of reputation on which we are currently coasting.

Back on track: as a veteran of the protests against US involvement in South East Asia in the '60s, I am glad to see such a high level of public protest against Middle East militarism now. We were years into the Vietnam War before dissent hit this kind of level.
posted by Nicolae Carpathia at 9:25 PM on September 28, 2002


dodgygeezer and elwoodwiles - I agree that the idea of getting revenge for daddy is a silly and melodramatic theory. I wonder why it persists?
posted by madamjujujive at 9:49 PM on September 28, 2002


"Yes, we are reactionaries, and you are enlightened intellectuals: you intellectuals do not want us to go back fourteen hundred years." "People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors." --Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

"Jihad and the rifle alone: no negotiations, no conferences, and no dialogues." -- Sheik Abdullah Azzam

"We believe in the priciple of establishing Sharia, even if this means the death of all mankind." -- Group Leader of the Islamic Group (from Lawrence Wright's article in the Sept. 16th issue of the New Yorker)

"No to war" --A placard in the London anti war demonstration.

Can you visualize the outcome?
posted by semmi at 11:05 PM on September 28, 2002


Just as Bush's opinions does not represent that of the entire United States, the voice of three extremists do not represent the whole of the Muslim people.

But that's just my opinion.
posted by mfli at 11:54 PM on September 28, 2002


[The US should]Pull its troops out of Europe, the Middle-East, South America, Asia.

Sarcasm aside, I have to agree with MM on this one. For the most part. I spent four years with the US Army in then West Germany helping to defend it from whatever should happen to threaten it. The vast majority of Germans I met supported our presence and appreciated what we did for them and with them. Yes, with them. We engaged in several joint training operations with the Bundeswehr, and with the French Army as well. {Yes, the imperialistic French were also there spreading their evil and militaristic ways. ;) }

A few protesters resented our presence. Understandably. We were a foreign force, and it was not unreasonable to see us as an occupying force rather than as a protecting force. But I believe the majority knew better. World War II was long over, and the original reason for our presence had long since faded away, but we remained, at the request of the Bundesrepublik, to continue providing protection to West Germany as it rebuilt itself into the nation it is today.

I was in West Germany when the Berlin Wall toppled. The emotions expressed by all Germans I knew and met were indescribably powerful. We experienced some of it ourselves. We knew the world was changing, if only just a little bit, for the better.

When the Iron Curtain began to drop and the Soviet Union began to crumble, most of us knew we had been correct. The world was going to be better. Democracy, free speech, freedom of worship -- these rights, which too many of us take for granted, would be made available to a greater portion of the world's population. The threat of nuclear annihilation, we believed, had been lifted.

And then the US and its allies failed.

For whatever reasons, whether it was because of money concerns or due to a misguided belief in individualism, we failed to help the newly emerging democracies, most especially the re-emerging Russia, but also its Eastern Bloc satellites, rebuild their damaged infrastructures. We failed to provide them sufficient economic aid. We failed to believe Gorbachev when he vowed to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles. We failed, in turn, to reduce our own stockpiles. We failed to assist Russia with its own disarmament. We knew Russia could not afford to pay its soldiers and scientists, those who guarded the rusting nuclear arsenals, but we failed to help them provide better safeguards against thieves and smugglers and failed to help provide paychecks for soldiers.

We helped build the world we live in today, and yet we failed to shepherd its building. We waffled between playing the leader and retreating within our borders to more "important" concerns like school prayer and flag burning amendments.

The US and its allies, I believe, are still the leaders of the "free" world. Leaders lead by setting the examples others should follow, by establishing the tenor of debate, by listening to a diversity of opinion before deciding upon a course of action, by living up to their own moral beliefs, and by acknowledging their own mistakes.

We hold the moral high ground in this debate over Iraq, terrorism, and so-called rogue nations. What we do should be moral and should follow the precepts of our stated beliefs. In World War II, the US was not directly threatened by Hitler's activities, but we recognized a higher moral purpose and came to the aid of those threatened. The situation in Iraq is no different.

We failed, for what at the time seemed to be justifiable political reasons, to remove Saddam Hussein from power in 1991, at the expense of the lives of thousands of his own people. For the US to unilaterally attack Saddam now would be unjustifiable, for it would violate our own belief system and tread upon the moral high ground we so tenuously hold. Yet Saddam must be removed from power, for to allow him to remain would be to fail to acknowledge and correct our earlier mistake. More to the point, it would be to continue to fail to help the Iraqi people.

Might does not make right. But right does make right. No one questions, seriously, that Saddam is a threat to his own people and to the world. The question is one of whether the US or any other body has the right to remove him from power. I believe we, meaning the world, has not only the right, but the responsibility to do so. But we must act as a unified body, within the moral and legal framework we have so painstakingly established over many years of debate, discussion, action, and mistakes.

Humanity's common moral code was created through just such a process over thousands of years. The belief in moral and cultural relativity, currently in vogue, whether stated directly or not, threatens that common moral code. Without it, international law becomes meaningless. Leadership becomes moot. Nations will retreat within themselves. The European Union, that second great experiment, will have failed. The United Nation becomes nought but squabbling boys in a sandbox. And the world will once again be made safe for its petty dictators and despots.

I outlined in an earlier post what I believe to be a reasonable approach to Saddam: He must comply with UN resolutions, not just with US demands, and he must do so without restrictions. His compliance will be assured through the threat of military force, not necessarily through its use, and that force will be international.

We must do this because it is the right course of action to take. For Saddam is only one of several cruel dictators ruling over only one of several cruel regimes. Saddam can and should be made and example to the others: That the UN will not accept genocide, will not accept mass executions, will not accept terrorism, will not accept barbaric prison conditions, will not accept the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and will not accept a world in which our children are threatened by madmen with missiles.
posted by Steve Hight at 12:02 AM on September 29, 2002


Dennis Murphy - I have my own blog thanks, as someone pointed out above. I considered not adding that part of the post, but thought a) it would be a bit short and b) I wanted to hear what other people had done.

dash_slot - 'Gulf Sale' - wish I'd seen that...we did actually have a similar idea while we were out there
posted by Orange Goblin at 2:01 AM on September 29, 2002


Steve Hight: 2 very thoughtful posts, thank you. I'll think on, but for the time being, I'm outta here.
posted by dash_slot- at 2:48 AM on September 29, 2002


The presence of US military is now so utterly status quo that I suspect few can envision what the world would look like if it did withdraw all military.

Nobody's suggesting the US should pull out. Only that it should perhaps be accountable for its actions through the UN instead of riding rough-shod over everyone on Bush's whim.

It will be actually quite humorous to watch (as you say) the Dutch, the Swedes, and the Italians mount the campaign to deal with Iraq when Hussain does get nuclear ... as every bit of evidence suggests he is attempting to.

Before you play the tired Euro-bashing card, perhaps you should muse over how the governments of countries such as Sweden spend their pennies providing protection for their own people through free health care rather than spending it bombing Iraqis.

Besides, Europe is very good at dealing with violent dictators on it's own, isn't it?

Congratulations, and full points for predictability. I had a feeling it was coming sooner or later.

The basis of your argument, and please correct me if I'm wrong, seems to be that the US either operates in all world matters as judge, jury and executioner, or takes its ball away in a huff. Whatever happened to the notion of decisions made in the interests of everyone? Like it or not, the US has an ethical responsibility to consider the views and opinions of other countries - not to mention the minor ethical implications of bombing the hell out of Iraq. You believe the US can survive on its own, but even your friend the merchant banker suggests you depend on us backward Europeans a little more than you like to think. So why not shut the fuck up and listen for once? 200,000 people on the streets protesting only hints at the level of opposition to war in this country.
posted by zygoticmynci at 2:48 AM on September 29, 2002


Wait, we are going to attack Iraq because it is an evil dictatorship? Oh right. because their leader kills innocent people? Oh, I see. With you now. If anyone is really that concerned about what level of weapons of mass destruction Iraq have, wouldn't we wait and see what the inspectors have to say? You can't back the push for the return of weapons inspectors and then bitch about the reasons why they were accepted.

Accepting the fact that Saddam Hussein is an evil bastard (one of many - what is our real beef with this one in particular - could it be that it *is* all about the oil... yes, there were some key pipelines in Afghanistan, too) if I was a world leader and knew Bush was in town, I'd want some weapons of mass destruction too! (partial joke, people)

Now I'm sure that my knowledge of history isn't a match for some of the other mefis, but isn't it the case that truly successful regime change comes about through revolution, and not by the means of interfering external forces? I'm just thinking of the major democracies around the world, here.
posted by nthdegx at 3:47 AM on September 29, 2002


slash_dot-: Thank you. I welcome your thoughts in return.
posted by Steve Hight at 4:13 AM on September 29, 2002


Umm, I think you'll find that this protest wasn't so much about The War On Iraq, but more about our Prime Minister's unwitting support for Bush, whatever the matter, however misguided.

What would a true war accomplish that a simple assassination of Saddam Hussein and a restart of the weapons inspections wouldn't?
posted by tapeguy at 6:27 AM on September 29, 2002


Midas seems very keen on the notion that because America is the biggest it is also the best.

Saying that because America has invested 75% in previous military action that the rest of the world should just just cut America some slack and happily invest in Gulf War 2 is a monstrous suggestion.

That 25% doesn't come from an anonymous bank, they're not share options. This money comes from tax payers like myself who have democratic rights. The idea that Europeans money should be spent with out any debate simply because it's politically expedient says much of what revolts people about the attitude of the American government.

As for America's withdrawal from the world.... not bloody likely. America, like any other country, doesn't take part in the world through benevolence and altruism but (primarily) through self interest. Starbucks doesn't trade in Britain because it believes that we are thirsty but because it believes we have money.

Sorry but the argument that we should go to war because we are so grateful for America really doesn't work for me. The arguments for war should be solid and persuasive, not because we owe anyone favors.
posted by dodgygeezer at 8:36 AM on September 29, 2002


I guess the argument boils down to this.

Suppose you live in an apartment building, and every night you hear your neighbour beating on his/her kid. Do you call the police or do you go in and beat up the man/woman yourself (doesn't that set a good example for the child)?

I know the UN is a bad metaphore for the police, but isn't what the US proposing just vigilante justice?
posted by mfli at 9:08 AM on September 29, 2002


The UN is a bad metaphor for the police, because so far as I've heard heard, no one pays any attention to what they say. Have they ever talked to a misbehaving country and actually achieved anything?
posted by stoneegg21 at 9:59 AM on September 29, 2002


dodgygeezer says he never wants to hear about the argument against invading Iraq based on "oil".

I have to respectfully disagree with you on this. The age of oil has to come to an end. It will come to an end no matter what the developed world does. Bush and his gang have made it very clear that the US will not begin making contingency plans or making policy changes to reflect the developed worlds need for new energy sources. As long as the existing state of oil dependency remains status quo concurrently with an invasion of any oil rich country there is a relationship between the two.

It is surely not as simple some would make it but there is definitely a relationship there. I am confident that in a hundred years historians will look back at '72 through now, and probably for a few years to come, as the thrashing of a political system/hegemon in the developed world which was simply unwilling or unable to make the smart decisions and begin spreading out the risk in energy development. And the two, or more, invasions of Iraq will be part and parcel of that history of denial and unwillingness to face the big issues.

As it is the United States is at a greater risk because of its willingness to put huge huge sums of money into the hands of oil & illegal drug producers than it is from the machinations of a madman at the reins of a two-bit power. Until the developed world acknowledges and rectifies its illogical stand it will remain "all about oil".

I am not saying I am either for or against said war. Simply that the entire context of this debate is in fact oil and the developed world's dependency on it.
posted by filchyboy at 12:07 PM on September 29, 2002


MidasMulligan says blah blah blah about how Europe doesn't respect the US, he writes checks quarterly to support those who call his president evil, etc etc.

You are a citizen in the seat of empire. What else could you possibly expect? Do some reading of history. Every empire has these issues. That's to be expected. If you feel the United States should give up its empire then say so and work towards it happening. But if you want to complain about the empire not being as fair as you'd like then you'll get very little sympathy from me. If you want make it clear that the subjugated parts of the empire do not hold us in proper esteem then you are simply confused about what it means to run an empire.
posted by filchyboy at 12:25 PM on September 29, 2002


The US is now a threat to the rest of the world - Georges Monbiot article originally printed in the Guardian - right on to all the protesters
posted by fellorwaspushed at 5:43 PM on September 29, 2002


From the Monbiot piece posted above:

In other words, if the US were not preparing to attack Iraq, it would be preparing to attack another nation. The US will go to war with that country because it needs a country with which to go to war.

It must be nice living in Monbiot's world. Where you can reduce everything -- including hopelessly complicated international conflicts involving varying degrees of religious fanaticism, ruthless tyrants, complicated economics, and weapons of mass destruction, among hundreds of other factors -- down to platitudes like the above. And not only that, but to have the gall to frame such a stupid opinion as "fact."
posted by pardonyou? at 7:46 PM on September 29, 2002


Flinchy: I appreciate you world view and largely agree, but your statement is not specifically anti-war

pardonyou: Monbiot is a columnist and not a journalist. Do you seriously expect him to preface every sentence with "I believe" or "I think." He is stating opinion and not fact, in much the same way that "Saddam Hussein is a threat to our safety" is opinion and not fact.

Secondly, the paragraph you quote is not so bizarre a comment. Didn't Bush talk about the axis of evil? Surely the war on terrorism demands that he go to war with any country that he doesn't like the look of? Does the war on terrorism stop at Iraq?

Having said that I generally don't like this article. Monbiot has a fondness for apocalyptic slippery slope arguments (and suggesting that ALL Americans are a bloody thirsty bunch is unnecessary). Maybe he should take the advice of one of the placards I saw "E's not war!".
posted by dodgygeezer at 2:23 AM on September 30, 2002


I was at the march, and damn glad that I made the effort to go. I was wondering if the "official" attendance figure counted everyone who showed up, or just those who made it all the way to Hyde Park. A lot of people were effectively trapped at Embankment.
posted by arha at 10:06 AM on September 30, 2002


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