war chances Iraq
January 7, 2003 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Evidence from Britain that the anti-war movement is having an effect. Perhaps the upcoming anti-war marches in Washington and San Francisco on January 18th will turn the tide in the USA.
posted by thedailygrowl (25 comments total)

 
...or perhaps everyone will yawn and turn the channel, like we do to everything having to do with politics these days.
posted by Xkot at 4:28 PM on January 7, 2003


So, which war are you in favor of? I'm in favor of the one to remake Iraq; the one to take out North Korea (alas, coming next year), and several others.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:32 PM on January 7, 2003


Paris, please list the other wars besides N. Korea and Iraq.
posted by cell divide at 4:34 PM on January 7, 2003


It laughable that you would consider rallies of a certain size a success. Will the rally be bigger than Louis F's march? If 500,000 lost souls went to the million man march, nothing short of 1 million is impressive.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:35 PM on January 7, 2003


Cell: you'll have to tune in next week for that.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:36 PM on January 7, 2003


The anti-war protests will not make a dent at all in turning the tide here in the U.S.. People that oppose the war because they rationally believe its wrong and not because they're anti-American/anti-Israel/hate Bush/over-privileged college kids with nothing to do/wacko need to separate themselves from the other anti-war wackos. Then people might pay attention.
posted by gyc at 4:53 PM on January 7, 2003


Oh goody, we haven't had a war in a while - the world's getting boring again.

Most people just don't give a damn about Saddam - sure he's persecuting people, but nobody really thinks the madman is going to (or can) send a rocket the US/Britain's way. Saudi-sponsered nuts are more problem these days.

The UK troops will most likely be a bit scared though - their rifle's not working in the sand and good ol' friendly fire from American jets, just like in Gulf War: Part I.

I've always wondered why in the US ppl don't complain about tens of billions of dollars going into this war while just about every state are gonna have similar deficits at the end of this year and are gonna have to make cutbacks to balance the books (except Vermont if memory serves me correctly..).

Anyway, enough random rambling. Previous rallies of hundreds of thousands didn't do much before, so I think this time you'll see good ol' pacifistic getting-in-the-way-to-make-a-point.

No way is America going to try and take out North Korea - they'll just aim to let them stew for a few years before the government eventually breaks into pieces.
posted by Mossy at 4:56 PM on January 7, 2003


Evidence from Britain that the anti-war movement is having an effect.

Evidence from Britain that it's not: Today, Britain called up 1,500 reservists and announced that it was reinforcing its naval task force in the Persian Gulf.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 5:24 PM on January 7, 2003


Funny, and here I thought that they were backing off due to the implicit blackmail of finding Ricin in England, which is one of the chemicals Saddam is known to have used in the past against the Kurds.
posted by swerdloff at 5:49 PM on January 7, 2003


Let me take the utterly cynical hypothetical tack: if the US takes out Iraq, I see Iraq partitioned with the north going to Turkey, the south going to Kuwait, and most of the middle going to Jordan. This gives Turkey the oil it needs to get into the EU, and Kuwait breaks the Saudi near monopoly on oil for the US.
And then it's North Korea's time up at bat. We'll probably do the same routine of isolating them while neutralizing their military, finally turning them over to the South for reunification.
Interestingly enough, the US then has bases in Central Asia pointed at China, Korea pointed at China and Taiwan pointed at China. Hmmm.
posted by kablam at 6:02 PM on January 7, 2003


anti-American/anti-Israel/hate Bush/over-privileged college kids with nothing to do/wacko...

yea, and all those dirty hippies! and liberals!

Anyways, I think the best mode of a protest, is that enough people make a public statement that they will strike if we go to war. It's the economy, stupid!
posted by iamck at 6:16 PM on January 7, 2003


A commentator noted on TV today that Rumsfeld has said that we have evidence that Iraq has WMD but we can not make that know because it would endanger our troops when theyt go in. Does this mean we know where the WMD are but the Iraquis do not? Or: we don't know what they have and we have not found anything but we assume theyhave it and so we will go in and not tell you what we know...or don't know.
shit. Count me in! I want a piece of the action.
posted by Postroad at 6:30 PM on January 7, 2003


While you could posit more cynical motivations on the part of the administration, it is conceivable that certain Iraqis have already told Washington where the goods are, but that to reveal such would just lead to the Iraqis moving it around (sort of like the MX Missle System of the '70's--remember that?!)
posted by ParisParamus at 7:18 PM on January 7, 2003


I see Iraq partitioned with the north going to Turkey, the south going to Kuwait, and most of the middle going to Jordan

Except this is exactly the opposite of what every state in the region says it wants.

Turkey: the territorial integrity of Iraq is a huge issue for them. The next to last thing they want is more Kurds. The last thing they want is for the Iraqi Kurds to break off from Baghdad or make a bid for the Mosul oil fields. ([RANT]When linking news articles, it helps to finish reading them. The article is pretty specific about the the FM's statement being 1) a bluff directed at the Kurds and 2) not even a territorial claim, but a claim to oil revenues based on lapsed treaties never fully implemented. [/RANT])

Kuwait: They have spent the last 100 years trying to keep apart from Iraq. As a small power bounded by silly lines drawn in the 1920s by British colonial officers, they have a huge interest in preserving those lines as they are. And if they decide that they would rather have Iraqis doing all their labor rather than Indians and Pakistanis, they will hire the Iraqis they need and then never naturalize them.

Jordan: the east bankers allready think they are swamped with Palestinians, imagine how they would feel swamped with Iraqis too! Plus the last Hashemite king of Iraq didn't do so well either.
posted by ednopantz at 7:28 PM on January 7, 2003


I can almost assure you that the protests mean nothing to politicians. First, the protests reprasent a very small subset of the American public (as gyc pointed out, rather eloquently). This subset has very little political capital, and many feel that they protest simply to protest rather than because of any political feeling.

For instance, as noted, the US anti-war protests are never held against Hindu-Muslim violence in India. In fact, as Pakistan and India were lined up for nuclear war, I don't remember the Chomskyites were saying a thing. I mean, you're allowed to talk about war if you're not the US or Israel. Further, there's a growing sentiment that the protests are heavily anti-Semitic; Israel's human rights policies are surely no worse than the Human Rights policies in nations such as Egypt and Libya, yet they are never denounced.

Being against a war with Iraq at the present time is one thing (and in fact something I agree with); running to the streets telling "George Warbucks Bush no blood for oil" is another entirely.
posted by Kevs at 9:49 PM on January 7, 2003


"many feel that they protest simply to protest rather than because of any political feeling.....For instance, as noted, the US anti-war protests are never held against Hindu-Muslim violence in India." Kevs - you can do better than this! The US is not spoiling for a war against either Pakistan, India, or both. You might as well accuse Americans of failing to organize protests against civil wars in Africa. Also - "there's a growing sentiment that the protests are heavily anti-Semitic" - a growing sentiment where? On the part of whom?

So, if you are against a US war against Iraq, "Being against a war with Iraq at the present time is one thing (and in fact something I agree with); running to the streets telling "George Warbucks Bush no blood for oil" is another entirely." - how are you expressing your opposition? (and do you believe that oil would play no part in a US invasion of Iraq?)
posted by troutfishing at 10:28 PM on January 7, 2003


ParisParamus - All these wars that you advocate! - I think they will have an overall effect like using a dry ceramic circular saw blade to cut tile for your kitchen floor (try this if if you dare! But better to rent the wet saw) in the sense that the dust gets everywhere (The law of unintended consequences).
posted by troutfishing at 10:33 PM on January 7, 2003


PostRoad - another neat Rumsfeld quote on the possibility that Iraq has WMD's: "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence", which I take to mean - the US must invade, just to be sure.
posted by troutfishing at 10:37 PM on January 7, 2003


People that oppose the war because they rationally believe its wrong and not because they're anti-American/anti-Israel/hate Bush/over-privileged college kids with nothing to do/wacko need to separate themselves from the other anti-war wackos.

We're trying.

It's difficult to make people see the differences within the movement. It's especially hard to make the media take young people seriously--there's a common perception that all protestors between the ages of 16 and 25 are "over-privileged college kids with nothing to do." I know a few privileged students who protest for cheap, rebellious thrills. I know far, far more who are deeply and genuinely opposed to war (this war or all war) and have gone to great lengths to make that opposition known. (Sometimes that very privilege is what allows them to protest--most poorer kids can't afford to travel 400 miles to an event or get arrested for civil disobedience--both things my "rich" friends have done.)

But what are we supposed to do?* It's impossible to stop certain people from attending rallies or marches (especially marches). Leaders could denounce certain wacko groups, but do this only very occasionally because denouncing anyone is divisive and leads to smaller marches. Size does matter. The bigger the event, the more likely it is that mainstream media will cover it, and the more people it reaches. The more people who see large events, the more people think "hey, it's not just a few wackos--look at all those people," and the more people are emboldened to turn out for the next event. The hope is always that the protesters will come to present a large enough percentage of voters that representatives cannot afford to ignore them.

To some extent, the movement is already starting to self-regulate. Remember the International ANSWER protest this past fall? It was big. It would have been a lot bigger--perhaps twice the size**--if ANSWER didn't have such a rotten reputation within the anti-war movement. People sacrificed size for the moral high ground. I don't know if that's effective. People outside the anti-war activist loop, did you know the movement was split? Should we have sucked it up and gone for the attention-getting massive size, or held out for a smaller event the ideology of which we could defend without qualms?

there's a growing sentiment that the protests are heavily anti-Semitic

a growing sentiment where? On the part of whom?


There is indeed a perception that anti-war rallies are becoming havens of anti-Semitism--I've seen several articles (didn't Newsweek have one?) and TV news coverage of the supposed phenomenon. Mainstream news networks and papers have emphasized the Palestinian presence, but at the events I've attended it's been limited to a few flags hoisted in support of liberation. I haven't heard any rhetoric attacking Jews as a religion or a people nor any advocating killing Israelis. Palestinian sympathizers show up at anti-war events because many of them see the US's Israel policy as indicative of a general antipathy towards Muslim and Arabic peoples. Though a few of these demonstrators are undoubtedly anti-Semites, it is a mistake to think they constitute any kind of force within the larger anti-war movement.

*Really. If you have an idea, tell me. The community is stumped.

**I'm basing that on what I know many of my friends' feelings to be and discussion on radical websites. About eight people from my school attended the protest--I estimate we could have sent three times that many if the event had been organized by a more neutral group.
posted by hippugeek at 11:58 PM on January 7, 2003


seriously, what about a strike?
posted by iamck at 12:13 AM on January 8, 2003


I know far, far more who are deeply and genuinely opposed to war (this war or all war) and have gone to great lengths to make that opposition known.

That's admirable, but I don't think anybody in their right mind desires war, or thinks war is a fabulous idea.

Unfortunately, not everybody is in their right mind, and defending Americans against crazy bad people who want to kill them is in the nation's best interests. Reflexively braying for peace is very nice, but it doesn't make a dent in the plans of real, dangerous enemies who don't want peace at all, but rather the opposite.
posted by hama7 at 2:18 AM on January 8, 2003


Listen to the world's fears, Blair tells US

Blair bows to the British public and deigns to justify his position as Bush's poodle with some yapping. Could this be because the majority opinion in the UK is consistently anti-war and pro UN.

I predict concerted publicity/propaganda supporting Blair's position from the media (particularly Murdoch's rags), but for now he's pretty isolated.
posted by niceness at 3:34 AM on January 8, 2003


Firstly this article is a kind of 'told you so' puff piece by the Mirror, which is the only tabloid to have an anti-war stance. Secondly, New Labour are always getting a cabinet minister to present a view that is (slightly) opposed so they can test public opinion but also make it seem like the party is on the side of everyone. Don't fall for it, the only words that matter are coming out of Blair's mouth.

I'll be on the next anti-war march here in London and I was on the last one too. I don't expect it to make any difference but I have to do something apart from wait for the next election.

In fact, as Pakistan and India were lined up for nuclear war, I don't remember the Chomskyites were saying a thing

I probably shouldn't dignify this with a reply but I just can't resist. I don't remember the Bushies kicking up much of a stink. I don't remember the Bushies worrying about nuclear weapons being in the hands of these unstable countries, or worrying about the danger of nuclear weapons at all.

I think I can say with little fear of contradiction that people on the left have been against nuclear weapons for a very long time. If you've only started worrying now, you really should keep up.
posted by dodgygeezer at 6:31 AM on January 8, 2003


It's especially hard to make the media take young people seriously--there's a common perception that all protestors between the ages of 16 and 25 are "over-privileged college kids with nothing to do." I know a few privileged students who protest for cheap, rebellious thrills. I know far, far more who are deeply and genuinely opposed to war (this war or all war) and have gone to great lengths to make that opposition known.

Hippugeek, I think the point being made was that there is a certain demographic that is destined to come out for any anti-war protest - in fact, is destined to show up for almost any kind of protest, period.

I'm a journalist who covered a Klan "rally" (such that it was) a while back in our town, when many of those who showed up to protest were termed, loosely, "anarchists" - mostly young kids, clad in black, multiple piercings, heavy on the androgyny and Doc Martens. The same folks who tend to show up in droves to protest at international economic summits; the same folks who have constituted a large portion of the crowd at the few anti-war protests.

In short, professional protesters. Or so it seems. We know what they don't want - hate, economic injustice or war - but they're less eloquent in expressing what they do want.
posted by kgasmart at 7:53 AM on January 8, 2003


...many of those who showed up to protest were termed, loosely, "anarchists" - mostly young kids, clad in black, multiple piercings, heavy on the androgyny...

Heh. My friends!

I concede that some of them are singularly ineloquent when discussing their beliefs. I think some of that may come from their sense of urgency about the situation--wemuststopthiswar/racism/economicoppressionrightnow!!! There's a feeling that the most grevious offenses must cease before a better world can be built.

We probably have quite different insights into the activist culture. Protesters are naturally eager to get the message of the day out, especially to journalists, on whom we depend to communicate the protest to the rest of the public. In private, these same kids argue the fine points of anarchist politics, positive race relations, reproductive rights, defense, foreign aid... You might be surprised at the complexity of positive worldviews held by the pierced masses.

...I don't think anybody in their right mind desires war, or thinks war is a fabulous idea.

Of course not; sorry, I didn't mean to imply that in my comment. In fact, I pretty much agree with you...except for that "reflexively braying" bit. I don't know how to convince you that protesters are educated and weigh very carefully the risks of both war and peace. If you think those who come down on the side of opposing an armed, preemptive attack are wrong, that's fine, but please don't belittle them as unthinking asses.
posted by hippugeek at 11:35 PM on January 8, 2003


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