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January 20, 2003 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Media covers massive D.C. (and world) Anti-War protests, discounts numbers - Backflash: NPR and the NYT later issued apologies for their drastic undercounting of the Oct. 26 D.C. Anti-War protest - later admitted to be between 100,000 and 200,000 in size "...It was not as large as the organizers of the protest had predicted. They had said there would be 100,000 people here. I'd say there are fewer than 10,000"(NPR's Nancy Marshall) Last saturday's D.C. AntiWar protest received far more media coverage but a similar discounting of the numbers. IndyMedia (above link) provided numbers more in line with D.C. Police statements. Many media outlets ran the same AP news feed. [NYT, NPR , CNN, ABC, AP] and claimed..."Thousands" or "tens of thousands" of protesters. But in the words of those who witnessed it (as I did - 2.5 times size of Oct. 26 protest, from what I saw): 'D.C. police chief Charles Ramsey said, "It's one of the biggest ones we've had, certainly in recent times." U.S. Capitol Police chief Terrance Gainer said, "I know everyone is skittish about saying a number, but this was big. An impressive number." A C-SPAN cameraman I spoke to spent the entire protest on the roof of a cargo truck just to the side of the stage. He told me that he had covered dozens of protests in his time, and that the crowd on Saturday was the biggest he had ever seen.' (story) and organizers claimed 500,000 marched in DC meanwhile, a new poll shows support for a war on Iraq is slipping in the US and also dropping at the UN
posted by troutfishing (105 comments total)

 
more trivialization of protest numbers in SF. what are they afraid of?
posted by specialk420 at 11:57 AM on January 20, 2003


Forget economics -- estimating crowd sizes is truly the dismal science. I'm a journalist, and I've covered my fair share of demonstrations -- various local ones here in Montreal, as well as the more well known FTAA demos in Quebec City and this weekend's march in Montreal -- and I haven't a clue how people arrive at the numbers. The police have one number, the organizers have another (invariably larger) and the media have competing estimates, as well. Beats me.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:58 AM on January 20, 2003


"NewsFlash: We regret any misunderstandings caused by our recent news report concerning the charactor of the recent US Anti-War protests...." (...'small, ragged bands of poorly dressed 60's hippy retreads shivered forelornly in the cold, carrying small, childishly scrawled Anti-War banners..."we love American protesters", said an Iraqi Government spokesperson....meanwhile, in sports...'
posted by troutfishing at 11:59 AM on January 20, 2003


I would think that crowd estimation, especially in a rectangular area, was less than rocket science: - CALCULATE THE NUMBER OF SQUARE METERS IN D.C. MALL (which was packed). ESTIMATE POSSIBLE RANGE IN NUMBERS OF HUMANS WHICH CAN OCCUPY ONE SQUARE METER AND MULTIPLY TIMES # OF SQUARE METERS IN MALL. Presto!

This simple calculation should provide a simple, gross calculation of possible crowd sizes.
posted by troutfishing at 12:05 PM on January 20, 2003


It's true what Lupus says, it is very difficult to count crowds, especially when they are moving. The best way to do it is probably to take the organizer's number, add the police number, add the media number, and divide by 3.

The most significant number I heard was that it was significantly larger than the last anti-war march, and that one was supposedly the biggest war-related protest since the height of the Viet Nam era.
posted by cell divide at 12:05 PM on January 20, 2003


My favorite sign: "How Did Our Oil Get Under Their Sand?"
posted by kahboom at 12:15 PM on January 20, 2003


what are they afraid of?
like all liars from the dawn of time, they are afraid of the truth.
posted by quonsar at 12:15 PM on January 20, 2003


Once all the technology is in place and the government databases link to each other, an accurate count will be easy to obtain, along with the names and addresses of the protesters, whose doors will be kicked out in the middle of the night.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2003


Cell_Divide - the crowd was actually quite static for several hours, and it filled -- to overflowing -- the neatly rectangular space of the D.C. Mall. Estimating it's size should have been child's play. (literally - as in 4th grade mathematics
posted by troutfishing at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2003


Another factor:
We left for the SF protest from the east bay around 2 hours
after it started. Not only was there a line around the BART station to get in, as trains arrived, people were already returning. Many people did the march and headed home, to be replaced by stragglers like us.
So the total number in attendance exceeds the total at a given point in time.
posted by 2sheets at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2003


See also: Million Man March and Million Mom March. Organizers always claim more people in attendance than police and media.

From the Mom site: On Mother's Day 2000, more than 750,000 people marched on the National Mall in Washington, D.C...

From GunTruths.com: As it turned out, the turnout was below one million, perhaps two hundred thousand at most.
posted by Frank Grimes at 12:28 PM on January 20, 2003


troutfishing, the problem with your ground area calculation is that it only applies if the crowd is conveniently of the size to fill the mall. If it exceeds that value by any significant amount, you end up under-estimating due to the people that rotate through, get deflected, etc.

Certainly this was the case in San Francisco Sat., where the Civic Center plaza was overflowing by the time I arrived, and the back of the march was still over a mile away. Most people I think simply dispersed rather than fight the crowd in hopes of finding a place where the speakers were audible. (Or perhaps just because they didn't want to wait in line 30 minutes to be the 1000th person to use a given port-a-potty.)
posted by brantstrand at 12:37 PM on January 20, 2003


I'm thinking close to 300 or so showed up for the Million Man March. 350, tops.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:43 PM on January 20, 2003


and divide by 3.

I prefer dividing by pi. It sounds better, and gives nearly the same result.
posted by piskycritter at 12:43 PM on January 20, 2003


Frank Grimes - I'll have time to do the calculation later today if no one bothers. It's really quite simple (see above).
posted by troutfishing at 12:46 PM on January 20, 2003


The other problem with troutfishing's argument is that crowd density is anything but uniform. As anybody that's been to a large concert can attest to, the density of a crowd increases as one gets closer to the stage. Thus, there are not only a range of densities that one might find at a march, but that density is also likely to vary within a crowd.
posted by waldo at 12:46 PM on January 20, 2003


Uh, isn't the real reason for the post to discuss why the liberal media is so consistently under-reporting the numbers. Who cares what algorithm you use, no one seems to be debating that hundreds of thousands turned out, not Thousands. TV covered it this way, major news outlets covered it this way, etc. At what point, or after what action, will the media begin to accurately report that there is significant opposition to this war?
posted by tellmenow at 12:56 PM on January 20, 2003


"At what point . . . will the media begin to accurately report that there is significant opposition to this war?"
Never.
Divide that by 3, baby.
posted by Outlawyr at 1:03 PM on January 20, 2003


Well troutfishing, you give a little, you get a little.

Sure, the evil corporate media doesn't publish the crowd estimate that you'd like to see, but they also refrained from 'outing' ANSWER as bunch of Stalinst thugs who, among other things, support Slobodan and think that North Korea is a paradise.

So you you didn't get everything you wanted, but you still got something.

I think this is the big story, anyway.
posted by Jos Bleau at 1:05 PM on January 20, 2003


The Washington Post had a good article on the pitfalls of counting demonstration crowds. Basically, no one knows how big the crowd was, and the park police are not counting crowds anymore, because of lawsuits (!?) caused by complaints along the lines of troutfishing's.
posted by ednopantz at 1:05 PM on January 20, 2003


from the "Dropping at the UN" link in the post...

There is widespread international appreciation of the fact that inspectors would not be in Iraq today if the United States had not used its overwhelming military and diplomatic power, the official said. Bush could easily declare victory now and save himself a potential debacle. “He’s shown seriousness, and Saddam caved,” the official said. “If you ask whether the world is in a better position vis-a-vis Saddam Hussein than it was a year ago, the answer is ‘Absolutely.’ Is that victory? Yes, if you want it to be.”

This sounds like a great compromise to me.
posted by tellmenow at 1:08 PM on January 20, 2003


Well, however many people showed up, this sure is depressing. Such faith we all have in the responsiveness of our representative democracy.

Equally depressing is this analysis of who supports the war:

The informed public is considerably less hawkish about war with Iraq than the public as a whole. Those who show themselves to be most knowledgeable about the Iraq situation are significantly less likely to support military action, either to remove Saddam from power or to disarm Iraq.

(Present company excluded, of course.) (No, seriously; with few exceptions, I believe the hawkish MeFites are well-informed and have a legitemate opinion, though it's one I happen to disagree with. It's the twits who think Iraq already has nukes, or who think Iraqis were involved on 9/11, who worry me. And there sure seem to be a hell of a lot of them.)
posted by ook at 1:27 PM on January 20, 2003


For 30 years, measuring crowds rested on the shoulders of the U.S. Park Police, which divided the Mall into sections, used aerial photographs to determine the density of the crowd and issued a head count. The numbers often were disputed. After officials estimated that the Million Man March in 1995 was more like a 400,000-man march, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan threatened to sue. Congress later mandated that the Park Police, an arm of the National Park Service, bow out of the counting business. [from Wa post article]

damn. at least they had some math. I recall seeing the "10,000 march against the war" headline and being sure that it was an undercount. on the bright side, I have a great idea for a little indie non-profit business: CrowdCountersRUs
posted by jessamyn at 1:30 PM on January 20, 2003


You want to talk about numbers?

289 Million Americans Avoid Peace Rallies
(2003-01-19) -- Police across the nation estimate the crowd that avoided yesterday's anti-war demonstrations at about 289 million. Americans from coast-to-coast voted in absentia against criticizing the Bush administration for Iraq's failure to comply with U.N. resolutions.

Anti-anti-war demonstrators gathered in grocery stores, shopping malls and private homes to proclaim their disagreement with protestors marching in the streets of Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

"Going about my regular Saturday routine is my way of saying I disagree with the radical left-wing agenda of the anti-Bush crowd," said college student Melanie Sampson, who spent the day preparing a term paper for a literature course.

Police reported no unusual problems with the droves that stayed away from the protests.

"It was a normal Saturday in America," said one Sheriff's deputy.

posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:31 PM on January 20, 2003


there's an echo in here.
posted by quonsar at 1:38 PM on January 20, 2003


doh!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:39 PM on January 20, 2003


It's the twits who think Iraq already has nukes, or who think Iraqis were involved on 9/11, who worry me. And there sure seem to be a hell of a lot of them

One wonders how they can possibly be so uninformed. It must be another crime against America of that damn commie/terrorist Liberal Media, keeping the masses uninformed.
Let's hope FoxNews' unbiased, balanced reporting will finally enlighten them
posted by matteo at 1:42 PM on January 20, 2003


Steve_at_Linwood - I find that argument rather silly. Given that only a small pecentage of Americans EVER go to D.C. rallies -- due to a whole host of factors including such trivialities as WORK and FAMILY, HEALTH, and PRIOR COMITTMENTS.........

By your argument, somewhere around 289 MILLION AMERICANS have demonstrated against GUN OWNERSHIP, and ABORTION RIGHTS - as well as AGAINST ABORTION RIGHTS! (confused, these 289 million!). As a matter of fact, the same rough number of Americans PROTESTS AGAINST ANY ISSUE OR GROUP WHICH HOLDS RALLIES IN D.C.

Isn't this called something like "Oppositional/Defiant disorder" - Americans SURE ARE CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(NOT - silly argument)
posted by troutfishing at 1:45 PM on January 20, 2003


FLASH - 289 MILLION AMERICANS PROTEST, TAKE RANDOM CONTRADICTORY POSITIONS AGAINST WIDELY VARIED ISSUES BY STAYING HOME, SHOPPING, GOING TO MOVIES, EATING DINNER.....
posted by troutfishing at 1:49 PM on January 20, 2003


I imagine that the only similar photos of the DC rally are in the hands of the police, but here's some great helicopter shots of the immense crowd at the San Francisco rally.
posted by gametone at 1:59 PM on January 20, 2003


By the way, this evening NPR had on a BU professor who had devised a methodology for counting crowds from the air (he had done previous work countind sand dunes per square mile...). (I'll reference this later this evening, or when I can) He calculated the "Million Man March" to be around 875,000 with a variance of 25%. The Park Service thought highly enough of his work to commission him to write a white paper on crowed estimation. Congree, however, refused to fund the Park Service for such crowd estimation. End of story.

I think the D.C. Police Chief and Capital Police Chief quotes are telling, though.....And don't forget -- there have been rallies around the US and the World of varying size: the US Anti War protest tally for this week could be well over a million. It could well be 2 million. The crowd sizes have surprised gov. officials around the US and drawn wide and varied media attention. All media admits that the protest movement is GROWING:

Kansas City Star, 1/18: "War is the talk of the land....But a growing number of Americans are starting to shout for peace....Protests and marches are being held in major cities across the country this weekend, including mass rallies today in Washington and San Francisco. Internet sites are linking protest groups. High school students in Washington ditched class last week to hold signs on busy streets....This latest reincarnation of the protest movement appears to be more mainstream than its predecessors, attracting disparate groups that have been at odds in the past. It includes all ages, races, ethnicities and creeds. Blue collar and professional. Democrats and Republicans. Gulf War vets and soccer moms.....A full-page ad this week in The Wall Street Journal, titled "A Republican Dissent on Iraq," denounced President Bush's war plans:

"We supported the Gulf War and our intervention in Afghanistan. We accept the logic of a just war. But Mr. President, your war on Iraq does not pass the test."

A provocative ad campaign sponsored by an online political network began airing Thursday in major markets, urging President Bush to "let the inspections work." The ad, reminiscent of one that attacked Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election, shows a little girl counting daisy petals only to have her image replaced by a nuclear explosion....The National Council of Churches -- representing 36 Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox denominations -- will hold a peace vigil Monday that will include members of 60 families who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks....City councils in 43 cities, including Chicago, have passed anti-war resolutions.

Kansas City protests are regular sights in Westport and the Country Club Plaza and building in numbers. Louis Rodemann, a volunteer at Holy Family Catholic Worker House in Kansas City, is a regular...."I won't deny allegations of Saddam Hussein's immorality," Rodemann said. "But how many people ... women and children ... are we willing to kill because we don't like this guy?"....Rodemann's opposition to war should surprise no one. He has a long record of nonviolence activism. He lives in a soup kitchen and fixes supper nightly for homeless families....But then there is Nancy Thrutchley, a Leawood Republican. She thinks the war would be morally wrong and worries that world anger toward America would build exponentially.....Rodemann and Thrutchley live worlds apart. But like others in this new peace movement, they've joined voices to oppose a war."

posted by troutfishing at 2:09 PM on January 20, 2003


Yes ook and matteo that is what most jumped out at me too and what truly terrifies me...how utterly uniformed the American people seem to be. I believe that so many Americans are just so vengeful and also so willing to believe anything at all will make them safer is what is driving that attitude. They want to believe that going to war with someone, anyone will make them and the world a safer place. They want to believe that so strongly that they have convinced themselves that it WAS the Iraqi citizens that bombed the Trade Center. How utterly sad.
posted by SweetIceT at 2:11 PM on January 20, 2003


trout, I think you'll find that there are many decaffeinated brands out there that are just as tasty as the real thing. Can you please lay off the italicizing and boldfacing and all-caps-ing?

WRITING LIKE THIS DOESN'T MAKE YOU MORE PERSUASIVE. IT FOR DAMN SURE WON'T STOP THE WAR. IT JUST MAKES YOU LOOK AS NUTS AS GENE RAY, CUBIC, AND IT MAKES MY BRAIN HURT.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:13 PM on January 20, 2003


Great pic, gametone, but where's Waldo? (just kidding)

troutfishing, you might want to calm down. Steve's point is illogical, but sympathetic. If you leave out the minority of protestors, where is the American voice against the war? Simple, it's in Bush's falling approval ratings, it's all those who protest by email, discussion forum, and phone call. The question raised by this link isn't how we quantify that desent, it's whether or not we'd hear about it if we could? Rah Rah makes good news and happy viewers. Making people feel uncomfortable with news of an opposition is not so good news.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:15 PM on January 20, 2003


Rou_Xenophobe -Blocks of adorned text make my brain hurt!

Steve_at_Linwood - Sorry if my CAFFEINE CRAZED brain missed your subtle point.
posted by troutfishing at 2:26 PM on January 20, 2003


Why should politicians pay attention to protests? Protests represent the extremes of any movement. There is nothing, zero, zilch, for a moderate or conservative politician to learn from, or to gain by paying any attention to, these protests.

The last person who a moderate politician, legitimately uncertain about the merits of war in Iraq, should pay attention to is a person whose view of the situation is so extreme, and so unnuanced, as to drag themselves across who knows how many miles to protest on a cold winter day, to waive silly signs.

This is obviously anecdotal, but I know maybe a dozen people who attended Saturday's protests or who would have but for confounding schedule issues -- half are pacificist, half are radicals. No more than two or three of them supported military action against the Taliban and al-Quaeda after 9/11, and then only to a very tentative extent. Not one of them old enought to have had an opinion back then supported Desert Shield / Desert Storm. They all oppose the death penalty. At least half of them support the extreme-left view of the Israel / Palestine dispute (i.e., that Israel is an illegitimate Zionist incursion upon soveregn Arab territories) and of the balance, I'd say the most conservative view is that the Palestinians should have back total control of the West Bank and Gaza, the Syrians should get back the Golan, and that Palestinians should have free access to move back to the pre-1967 Israel without any constraints or protections to Israeli civil society. In other words, so long as Barbara Lee and her ilk sit in Congress, they are represented, but they can't legitimately aspire to a broader audience.
posted by MattD at 2:32 PM on January 20, 2003


Wulgar -
posted by troutfishing at 2:36 PM on January 20, 2003


Why must one be uninformed to be for the war?
posted by xammerboy at 2:37 PM on January 20, 2003


MattD - Politicians care about little else but numbers.... And one of the few things they care more about is public opinion trends! you can bet that Karl Rove has noticed this trend! (see above)
posted by troutfishing at 2:39 PM on January 20, 2003


MattD - The Kansas City Star takes strong exception to your viewpoint that anyone who would be willing to brave the cold to protest a war is some sort of fringe extremist (you said, above - "...a person whose view of the situation is so extreme, and so unnuanced, as to drag themselves across who knows how many miles to protest on a cold winter day, to waive silly signs)"

By your charactorization, Jesus Christ was one heck of an extremist - but most Americans nonetheless call themselves "Christians" of some sort. Meanwhile....

(Kansas City Star): 'This latest reincarnation of the protest movement appears to be more mainstream than its predecessors, attracting disparate groups that have been at odds in the past. It includes all ages, races, ethnicities and creeds. Blue collar and professional. Democrats and Republicans. Gulf War vets and soccer moms.

A full-page ad this week in The Wall Street Journal, titled "A Republican Dissent on Iraq," denounced President Bush's war plans:

"We supported the Gulf War and our intervention in Afghanistan. We accept the logic of a just war. But Mr. President, your war on Iraq does not pass the test."
'

posted by troutfishing at 2:47 PM on January 20, 2003


troutfishing, I am glad you raised this issue, and I am glad to see some blogs linking to this thread. If the so-called liberal mainstream media won't report this accurately, at least we have the ability to get news from the Web.

Although it does feel like turning a battleship in a bathtub, there are some encouraging signs that sentiment is changing. For instance, I wasn't aware of these events: Republican business leaders raised concerns about a war with a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal. Chicago, the nation's third-largest city, joined a list of 38 city councils that have passed antiwar resolutions. Read the full story here.

posted by madamjujujive at 2:51 PM on January 20, 2003


The informed view in favor of the war: it is merely pragmatic.

If Saddam Hussein is eliminated, then the chance of Saddam Hussein resurrecting his WMD program or employing WMDs he may have managed to stockpile is zero, as is his ability to disrupt the worldwide economy by meddling with petroleum supplies. If Saddam Hussein is not eliminated, then the chance of him doing any of the forgoing is non-zero. Since he is motivated, capable, and willing to employe WMDs if he thinks he can, and since he has no claim whatever to political legitimacy as a ruler, nor has he nor any of sympathizers the ability to impose significant casualties upon a US-led invading force, the pragmatic course is to invade and put in place a less threatening leadership.

And, of course, to answer the most recent objections, this view is entirely inconsistent with NOT going to war against North Korea. Absent a little bit of terrorist funding, North Korea has done nothing of notice militarily in 50 years. North Korea has the ability to impose significant casualties. The Chinese don't wish to see North Korea invaded and could presumably intervene. So, war against North Korea is not a sensible move.
posted by MattD at 3:00 PM on January 20, 2003


Why must one be uninformed to be for the war?

Not saying that. A well-informed person could indeed come to the conclusion that war in Iraq is justified and necessary.

But the survey I linked shows that an enormous number of people who are for the war, hold that opinion because they are uninformed or misinformed (as in, they believe things that are provably untrue, such as "some of the 9/11 bombers were Iraqi citizens" or "The Bush administration has released evidence connecting Iraq to the 9/11 bombings.")
posted by ook at 3:01 PM on January 20, 2003


Re: trends. I think you misread Karl Rove. His genius, if you want to call it that, is almost precisely in the opposite direction -- he recognizes the power of a consistent, aggressive, and principled message, which does not attempt to pander to shifting perceptions. The 2002 campaign, when he put the President out on the road pushing aggressive defense actions and aggresive tax-cutting actions had a lot of people perplexed -- but left several Democratic Senators and candidates wondering what had happened.

In the past couple of weeks, Bush has taken action on the social front (affirmative action amicus brief, renominating his most conservative judicial picks) and on the economic front (dividend tax cuts) which were more forthrightly conservative than almost anyone expected him to take, even after the November victories. To expect that he would allow his actions on what is obviously his most important responsibility (policing and deterring terror emerging from the Arab and Muslim worlds) to be otherwise guided does not seem likely.
posted by MattD at 3:06 PM on January 20, 2003


xammerboy>> I read the page that ook posted and was dismayed by the poll results that said such a high percentage of respondents believed that it was Iraqi citizen's that were commandeering the planes that struck and destroyed the WTC. It was they I was calling uniformed. By this poll a full 44% said they believed some or all of the hijackers were Iraqi citizens.
posted by SweetIceT at 3:07 PM on January 20, 2003


The informed view in favor of the war: it is merely pragmatic.

"Pragmatic" to those who do not have to kill and die in such a war, and pick up the pieces. A mere abstraction. Something to discuss over martinis.

Sickening....
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:09 PM on January 20, 2003


ook -- a good clarification. One certainly can't be happy with such survey results if one supports the availability of the war option.

However, I must reiterate my view that an equal ignorance pervades the anti-war opinion cohort. Perhaps not as gross a factual ignorance, but an equally severe belief that persuasion and compromise are likely to get us somewhere with our enemies -- when most evidence is to the contrary -- and a severe misunderstanding of the politics of Iraq.

My own personal fantasy is that we can take action at once against Iraq and aide the democrats in Tehran to overthow the mullahs, and place the entire of Iran and non-Kurdish Iraq (with its Shi'ite majority) under the governance of the now well-matured moderating Iranian democracy movement with representation of Iraqi moderates in the parliaments. This would have the salutory effects of defunding the Hisbollah in Lebanon, in turn, knocking out a large prop under Palestinian terrorism, and of creating a moderate counterweight to the Saudis for leadership of the Islamic world.
posted by MattD at 3:13 PM on January 20, 2003


The pragmatism is of those who recognize that the question of the killing and the dying is not "whether or not" but "where, when, and how much."

If one believes that the militant anti-Americanism prevalent in ceratain quarters of the Arab and Muslim worlds can be quelled by hopes and wishes, or even by compelling our Israli allies to a craven surrender to enemies sworn to their destruction, than, I suppose, that indulging Saddam and his ilk may have some merit as a policy proposition.

If one doesn't believe that, than it certainly seems better to begin to take corrective action against a tyrant with no actual support among his people nor any actual allies, than to have to do it in five or ten years time against a charasmatic leader with real popular support and actual allegiances, not to mention the capability to project meaningful threat to the continental United States. I'd rather see 1,000 American soliders and 20,000 Iraqis (sadly, including some civilians) die in the invasion and occupation, than 100,000 American soldiers and civilians, and millions of people throughout the middle east, if we wait to fight this battle against an al-Qaueda-ish supreme leader of Pakistan or Egypt with the whole Muslim world behind him...
posted by MattD at 3:20 PM on January 20, 2003


MattD. 'glad you called that a fantasy...
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:21 PM on January 20, 2003


Re: trends. I think you misread Karl Rove. His genius, if you want to call it that, is almost precisely in the opposite direction -- he recognizes the power of a consistent, aggressive, and principled message.

No doubt this explains the country's policy towards North Korea.
posted by Slothrup at 3:22 PM on January 20, 2003


an equal ignorance pervades the anti-war opinion cohort

You're equating "ignorance" with "people who don't agree with you", MattD.

The belief that diplomacy, compromise, or other non-military forms of persuasion might or might not be effective or preferable to war is a difference of opinion. You believe one way, I believe the other, there are plenty of arguments to be made both ways. Neither of us is provably incorrect. The belief that any evidence exists that Iraq was tied to 9/11 is a provable falsehood. Very big difference. Which is my whole point.
posted by ook at 3:27 PM on January 20, 2003


troutfishing, I just hope you feel better as these thread seems to be some sort of therapy for you today.

I am sorry to say, for you, that no amount of protesting is going to stop this war. An assassination, coup, or Saddam going on an extended vacation from Iraq are about the only things that could slow this down. Protests didn't stop the first Gulf War, and the chanting "No Blood for Oil" won't stop round two.

For example there was a push from the Left to goto the UN, with the hopes that the UN would stop or stall the war, but now that it looks like the UN will find Iraq in breach the UN is no longer any good to the Left:

A second resolution will not somehow make war more just. It will not make it more moral. It will not make it less dangerous or any less of a "defeat for humanity", as the Pope puts it. It does not make it right. The push for a second resolution, whether or not it actually comes to pass, provides a get-out clause for all those who, for manifold different reasons, cannot or will not stand up to Washington's warmongers - including our own half-deaf, tag-along leadership - or are just plain confused, frightened or apathetic. It is no substitute for taking individual and collective responsibility.

Unilateralism was the big evil, that war was only just if the world community found it to be so. But now that the world community looks like it might find just that, well now doesn't mean anything either. These are the last gasps of the 'anti-war' movement.

But none of that will matter in a couple of weeks...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:34 PM on January 20, 2003


Slight misstatement there -- I should've said the belief that any evidence has been released is provably untrue. There are of course those conspiracy theorists who maintain that the Bush administration has lots of damning evidence, yet for some unexplained reason hasn't made it public.
posted by ook at 3:37 PM on January 20, 2003


We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. --John F. Kennedy

Also, one approach to dealing with N. Korea (which I don't necessarily agree with, but it's a lot more interesting than the "let them get away with it," "starve them out," or "attack them" choice matrix that the media presents to us).
posted by rushmc at 3:40 PM on January 20, 2003


MattD I am afraid that your solution (imperial-like control and war, rather than more subtle, covert, and diplomatic actions) is far more likely to inflame moderates who still hold out hope of a peace-making rather than war-making America. However I do understand your position, which is most likely shared by most in the Middle East, even if they do not share your methods. It's just that using war to redraw borders and 'reshape' the middle east is basically what got us into this mess in the first place. I agree with you that change is definitely needed, however I disagree with your monolithic view of Middle Eastern people as being uniformly irrational-- I would argue that a consistent foreign policy, which might involve invasion of Iraq and real, significant, ultimatum-like pressure on the Israelis to honor UN agreements (which you call craven surrender, most would call it a tremendous step forward for regional stability and peace) and international law would sell a lot better, and reduce the threat of extremism far more than any world-reshaping invasion an border redrawing. I also understand your frustration with "the left" who do not seem to think that there needs to be a major change in the Middle East. However anyone who does not see that Israeli withdrawal and compliance with UN resolutions are a major part of that change is probably coming from just as idelogically driven position as those who see that as the only factor.
posted by cell divide at 3:47 PM on January 20, 2003


Someone I know online pointed this out to me: in the pictures of the weapons inspectors checking out the empty chemical warheads, they're bare-handed and not wearing eye protection. What the hell is that? No gloves? Who sticks an eye right up close to something assumed to be a chemical weapons warhead? Does anyone in this mess know what they're doing?

And I vote January 27 for things to start blowing up in Baghdad.
posted by swerve at 3:50 PM on January 20, 2003


ook: The problem with the survey you linked is that it only shows the beliefs of one side of the equation. It says nothing about the beliefs of those opposing the war, those beliefs which could easily be just as ignorant. In fact, it doesn't give us the questions they actually asked. The reporter makes some all inclusive statement that those opposing the war are more informed without giving any information to back this supposition. Without being able to see any of the raw data used, the poll is worthless.
posted by Plunge at 3:52 PM on January 20, 2003


swerve, we should start a pool. Excuse me now, I have to go throwup.

(p.s. I mean no attack. I've been doing the same predict game, and its pretty heinous.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:54 PM on January 20, 2003


You don't throw rocks at the guy who's trying to tame the tiger.

Very interesting item. Thanks, rushmc.
posted by hama7 at 3:55 PM on January 20, 2003


I highly recommend that you check out today's talk of the nation - specifically the segment on "Is war with Iraq inevitable" in which the interviewee sites the fact that a) Bush made up his mind long loooooong ago, and there really isn't anything most anyone can do to change it and b) OK, we've mobilized our military fully and completely. To pull them back at this point would not only be demoralizing to the military, but would SERIOUSLY alter our standing in the world as a military power.

Interesting points to consider. Then again, I think the alteration of our image would be one which shows that we have great might, but are willing to temper it when the conditions show that we have no cause to use it. That, or we're just big bullies who are all swagger and no punch. I say, take a lesson from our parents when we were children - it doesn't matter what the other kids on the block call you, just that you do the right thing.
posted by jearbear at 3:55 PM on January 20, 2003


discussion in Metatalk here
posted by G_Ask at 3:57 PM on January 20, 2003


re: North Korea -- I actually do think that the US position is consistent there. See this comment above: http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/22931#419376.

re: reasonability of people in the Middle East. I believe that people in the Middle East are highly reasonable. Certainly, the vast majority of Iranians, Turks, Kurds, Pakistanis, are reasonable. I believe that the large majority of Arabs can be reasonable, as well, but have been badly mis-led by their leaders for so long as to leave things at an awkward state. They have been inflamed into believing that Israel -- sitting on perhaps 1% of what could be thought of as the historically Arab realm, and a 1% that is among the least valuable of all that end (since without oil or other meaningful natural resources) -- is worth endless war and disorder. They have been tricked into believing that the presence of US troops in Saudi Arabia in 1990-1991 -- which defended the holiest places in the Muslim world from conquest by Saddam Hussein, an atheist who killed thousands of teachers and preachers of Islam in his rise to power and his quest to keep -- was a grave and calculated affront to Muslims. And, worst of all, they have been deceived into believing that America, the place in all the world where Arabs are most free to pray, participate in politics, and make a living, is their enemy.
posted by MattD at 4:08 PM on January 20, 2003


eliot cohen's (from today's talk of the nation) dismissive - oh so smart -response to a call-in guests (not in anyway excessive) estimate of the attendance at this weekends protests was disgusting. what a creep.
posted by specialk420 at 4:08 PM on January 20, 2003


It says nothing about the beliefs of those opposing the war

Poll X talks about Y but not Z, therefore Y is false. Nice logic.

It says nothing about the beliefs of those opposing the war... which could easily be just as ignorant

Could be, sure. Got any evidence or specific examples?

Without being able to see any of the raw data used, the poll is worthless.

Full survey questions. Full survey results. All the raw data you can eat.

Come on, fella, surely you can do better than that.
posted by ook at 4:09 PM on January 20, 2003


Jos Bleu: Sure, the evil corporate media doesn't publish the crowd estimate that you'd like to see, but they also refrained from 'outing' ANSWER as bunch of Stalinst thugs who, among other things, support Slobodan and think that North Korea is a paradise.

Actually Salon talks about it. I would link to the article but it's paid subscription required. A short example from an article by Michelle Goldberg:

"Activists are increasingly grumbling about the Workers World apparatchiks behind ANSWER, who have thus far dominated the antiwar movement by buying up protest permits before other groups have had a chance. The group's values are diametrically opposed to the vast majority of people who oppose the war -- Workers World supported the Chinese government's massacre of "bourgeois, pro-imperialist" protesters in Tiananmen Square and celebrates such beacons of resistance as Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and Kim Jong Il. That's why when Mobilize New York, an e-mail list for New York City activists, sent out a protest alert, it linked not to the ANSWER home page but to the parody site International A.O.W.C.U.T.G.D.F.P., or Authoritarian Opportunists Who Cozy Up to Genocidal Dictators -- for Peace."
posted by whatever at 4:14 PM on January 20, 2003


How the Press Downplayed the Protests - Deceptions and Illusions - By Wayne Madsen in Counterpunch
posted by gametone at 4:35 PM on January 20, 2003


Wulfgar!: no worries. I grew up around reporters; my humor is pretty dark.
posted by swerve at 4:59 PM on January 20, 2003


Indymedia provides some more coverage of the event and tons of pics. It would be nice to find some video of the event.
posted by elpapacito at 5:02 PM on January 20, 2003


And for some damage done during the rally look at
this link. Protesters be aware that exactly the same happened in Italy during Genoa protests. Some vandalism is also being staged by political oppositors, so call police if you see any vandalism being done, videotape them and report them to police. Keep a copy of the video, the vandals are a disgrace for human race.
posted by elpapacito at 5:07 PM on January 20, 2003


re: North Korea -- I actually do think that the US position is consistent there.

Hoo-hoo! That's a good one. Care to back that opinion up?

North Korea has done nothing of notice militarily in 50 years

More nonsense. Persistent, repeated attacks and skimishes with the ROK, kidnappings, spies, missile tests and more. Not to mention the buildup and maintenance (even in the face of a famine that killed 10% of their population) of a standing army of over 1,000,000 soldiers. Even the most cursory examination of recent history shows they've been busy beavers indeed for the past 5 decades.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:53 PM on January 20, 2003


Fun Fact:

More people attended the Detroit auto show on the last day than the participants in all the US "peace" protests combined.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:14 PM on January 20, 2003


re: North Korea -- I actually do think that the US position is consistent there.

Hoo-hoo! That's a good one. Care to back that opinion up?


I would argue that US policy viz Iraq and N. Korea is very consistent: Only fight wars you can win quickly and decisively. Rightly or wrongly, the Pentagon is confident it can whip Saddam's forces. Rummy seems to think they can do it in under a week. N. Korea could lay waste to Seoul in a few hours with conventional forces alone and is therefore a much more intimdating foe.

What is particularly hypocritical about fighting the easy wars and avoiding the disastrous ones?
posted by ednopantz at 6:18 PM on January 20, 2003


Steve, two fun facts to counteract your fun assumption:

1) If we can't get an accurate report on how many people have participated in the US Peace protests, then your claim is supposition. That's the point of the thread, that those who oppose the war also face opposition from the media.

2) You continue with presentation of irrelevant facts as if they matter. I can guarentee that more US citizens have attended high school than have participated in peace protests. So What? Those facts are unrelated, as are yours to the topic. Can you argue with facts, or is mis-direction all you have left?

I'd venture a wager that more people in the US have seen "The Two Towers" than have participated in current peace protests. Does that prove that we as a nation are more commited to stopping Sauron than in finding a non-violent solution to our relations with Iraq? I'd kinda doubt it, myself...
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:27 PM on January 20, 2003


What is particularly hypocritical about fighting the easy wars and avoiding the disastrous ones?

Fighting a war isn't, in itself, hypocritical. It's the reason's that we fight or don't that can be. If our focus as a nation is fighting to protect ourselves from the terror of WMDs then taking on Iraq instead of North Korea is indeed hypocritical due to the stated goal. I do, however, admire the idea that we should pounce on those we don't like just because we can whip their asses, and ignore other threats because it might get messy. Isn't that how John Wayne did it?
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:32 PM on January 20, 2003


Wulfgar! misses the point: we as a nation ARE more commited to stopping Sauron than in finding a non-violent solution to our relations with Iraq.
posted by quonsar at 6:35 PM on January 20, 2003


*giggling til beer comes out of my nose*

mea culpa, quonsar.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:38 PM on January 20, 2003


To Mount Doom we go!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:38 PM on January 20, 2003


There was a sizable showing in Honolulu. The local Indymedia folks were actually impressed that the media estimated the crowd size to be larger than what the organizers guessed. NION leaders said there were 1,300. The local police, quoted by the better Honolulu newspaper, put the number near 2,000.

Nothing like the crowds in D.C. and San Francisco, sure, but considerable in Hawaii where it's pretty hard to get people excited about anything.
posted by pzarquon at 7:08 PM on January 20, 2003


place the entire of Iran and non-Kurdish Iraq (with its Shi'ite majority) under the governance of the now well-matured moderating Iranian democracy movement

I believe that the large majority of Arabs can be reasonable, as well, but have been badly mis-led by their leaders for so long as to leave things at an awkward state. ....[ff]


first, what celldivide said.

re the comments above -- look, Iran is a Persian country. Iraq is an Arab country. They have different languages and cultures. the idea that you can just lump them together doesn't argue for much knowledge of the Middle East.

One pretty consistent trend in US discussions of the Middle East is the prevalence of overgeneralization to a greater or lesser degree. The region is not homogeneous. The radical views held by Osama Bin Laden and people like him are a held by a small minority of the Arabs and Persians and Africans, Muslims and Christians and others who live there. Most people are gracious, unassuming, and just want decent lives for themselves and for their children. Most Arab capitals are cosmopolitan and culturally tolerant - but the exceptions, like Saudi and Iran, get all the US press. Yes, an overwhelming majority of Arabs, including the Arab Christians, think Israel is at fault against the Palestinians, but that's a political position, not an admission of terrorist tendencies. Many Arabs loathe Saddam but nevertheless think that a war that destabilizes Iraq and the region would not be a positive development for either the short or the longterm. Others disagree.

Sorry for the rant, but the point is that as the Bush administration and others map out their plans for improving the regional status quo, it would be helpful if the American people had more informed and more nuanced coverage of the region, the people, and the issues at their disposal, rather than the widespread lumping together of 'Arab' 'Muslim' 'terrorist' 'fundamentalist' in so many stories, posts, etc. Fairminded people will still disagree about the merits of ousting Saddam by force. But better not to disagree out of ignorance????

Yes, it's interesting that the major media tend to underplay the weekend's protests -- and nobody's going to win the battle over numbers although in DC at least, higher is probably more accurate than lower. I appreciate the post and the [mostly civil] comments in this thread. War is not a Risk game. People die. Maybe your brother or mine. It's worth a little serious discussion among those who disagree, wouldn't you think?
posted by dharmamaya at 7:46 PM on January 20, 2003


> More people attended the Detroit auto show ...

Uh huh. You see, Steve, it's like my boy Juvenal said...."The people long eagerly for two things - bread and circuses."

Plus, you're wrong. Estimated attendence across the 10 days of public admission at NAIAS was 750k. On Saturday, it's a safe bet that there were 300k - 400k people participating in protests across the US.

And let's not underestimate how fucking cold it is and how bleak the entertainment options are in Detroit, eh? Doesn't take much. I'd bet that if you held a Flat Eart Society rally indoors in Detroit in January with booth babes and Spongebob Squarepants, people'd turn out in droves.
posted by brantstrand at 8:24 PM on January 20, 2003


OK, MattD - [I had to ride out a fight with my loving wife about time I spend on Mefi, but I do think our words and opinions have consequences, so...] - Here's a quick, hard-headed Anti-War analysis: Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld have put - in writing, no less the objective [see: "Rebuilding America's Defenses" (2001), also see (see Chris Nelson's brief history] of toppling the regimes of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. The Gulf comes first because "Guarding the American security peri-meter today – and tomorrow – will require changes in U.S. deployments and installations overseas. .....the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein. " ("Rebuilding..." page 26)

First of all, I must assume that the North Koreans can read english and are thus aware of this stated objective. I furthermore suspect that some North Koreans can understand spoken English and so have heard that they have been included in Mr. Bush's "Axis of Evil". Indeed, since top US foreign policy planners have telegraphed their intentions far in advance - we can expect the members of the "Axis of Evil" to make a mad rush to acquire nuclear deterrents before they come up on the US "regime change" list.

So, given that the US is moving to invade Iraq, it is quite understandable that the North Koreans are pursuing a Nuclear deterrent....they have every right to suspect that they are next on the list. One outgrowth of recent US (G.W. Bush adm.) foreign policy has been a likely INCREASE (not a decrease) in WMD's, and in Nuclear Proliferation. Furthermore, remember - should the North Koreans acquire a half dozen or so nuclear devices - they will also have the missiles to project them up to 1500 miles, with 3000 mile capability planned....

If the North Koreans acquire 1500-3000 mile range nuclear tipped missiles, we can expect - given that North Korea has in the recent past lobbed a "test" unnarmed missile over Japan - that Japan may very well consider acquiring a nuclear deterrent (in the opinion of many foreign policy analysts). Others in the region may also try to acquire their own nuclear counterforce. SO: Nuclear escalation in South Asia? (!) I certainly do not feel safer from this most recent outgrowth (arguably) of US foreign policy.

Furthermore, Hamas - which until now has confined it's terrorist acts to the theatre of the Arab-Israeli conflict - has just issued a call for suicide strikes against the US and US interests. Now, Hamas surely has no illusions about the monstrous nature of Saddam's regime; They are reacting to the growing feeling among Muslims (and some other peoples of the world) that the US is fast becoming a much bigger bully than Iraq could ever be. Of course Americans do not perceive themselves this way, but this is immaterial, from the standpoint of geopolitcal analysis.

The US insistence on acting unilaterally is the real problem, in my analysis. There are many liberals, and many on the US left who would not so adamantly oppose current US foreign policy on Iraq - and the larger role of the US as the "global cop" - if the US had not just walked away, during the Bush adminstration, from a record number of international treaties (on small arms, land mines, human rights, international law, Global Warming, nuclear arms.....and many more). There are many on the left - given the changed climate of US opinion since Sept. 11 - who would support the US on Iraq, even to the point of intervention, if the US were to work -in earnest- through the UN, and if the US were trying to build up international agreements and treaties, as well as the authority of the UN - rather than trying to destroy embryonic international agreements and international governing bodies....as fast as possible.

In the growing consensus of much of the world (note the international nature of the anti-war protests) it is the increasing US resort to unilateral actions and policies which is emerging as the real global threat, not Iraq, Iran, or North Korea.
posted by troutfishing at 8:25 PM on January 20, 2003


Brantstrand - So just what are you saying about Spongebob Squarepants, anyway?


posted by troutfishing at 8:32 PM on January 20, 2003


The most valuable statement in this thread:

No more than two or three of them supported military action against the Taliban and al-Quaeda after 9/11, and then only to a very tentative extent.

Using that as a baseline, were there 50K people who matter at the rally? 10K. Again, looking forward to this overwhelming majority crowd of a-hole pacifists yelling and freaking out when the war starts.

The thing is, this will likely be a 14-day or even 7-day war, so watch as the pacifists quickly move from telling us how evil President Bush is, to how, The Occupation is destroying Iraqi society.

Once again: PATHETIC, delusional, A-HOLE PACIFISTS.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:28 PM on January 20, 2003


First of all, I must assume that the North Koreans can read english and are thus aware of this stated objective. I furthermore suspect that some North Koreans can understand spoken English and so have heard that they have been included in Mr. Bush's "Axis of Evil". Indeed, since top US foreign policy planners have telegraphed their intentions far in advance - we can expect the members of the "Axis of Evil" to make a mad rush to acquire nuclear deterrents before they come up on the US "regime change" list.

So, given that the US is moving to invade Iraq, it is quite understandable that the North Koreans are pursuing a Nuclear deterrent....they have every right to suspect that they are next on the list. One outgrowth of recent US (G.W. Bush adm.) foreign policy has been a likely INCREASE (not a decrease) in WMD's, and in Nuclear Proliferation. Furthermore, remember - should the North Koreans acquire a half dozen or so nuclear devices - they will also have the missiles to project them up to 1500 miles, with 3000 mile capability planned....


North Korea has been pursuing Nuclear weapons long before Bush took office. The only difference now is that it is in the open and the entire world knows about it and is condemning it. Saying that the Bush adminstration was the cause of this is ridiculous.

Remember, North Korea ignored the agreements they made with the Clinton administration almost from the very beginning.
posted by Plunge at 9:32 PM on January 20, 2003


It should also be pointed out that if Louie F can amass a crowd of 750,000, or even 1,000,000, what does it signify that an anti-American, anti-Israel rally can almost attain that number? It means that there are a small number of pacifist fools in the Republic.

It should also be pointed out how much easier, for reasons of transportation, communication, and increased population it is to get a certain number of people at a rally; it's not the 1960's or 1970's any more.

So those numbers means even LESS.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:33 PM on January 20, 2003


Remember, [America] ignored the agreements made [by] the Clinton administration almost from the very beginning.

You'll have to do better than that. Arguments self-linked due to length.

Not that I disagree with the general thrust of what troutfishing has to say, but I am quite certain that the 'nuclear proliferation' card that has been so ably played by all sides recently is a red herring, an easily-understood dumbing-down of the real issues so folks will be distracted from the actual game at hand. For reasons I explain in my self-link above.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:42 PM on January 20, 2003


There are some really neat crowd shots -- of recognizable areas if you've been to San Fran -- at the SF Indymedia site. This page is all pix, so even if you're not on the "there were a bazillion people there" side, the images are impressive.
posted by jessamyn at 11:59 PM on January 20, 2003


ParisParamus - Re: "Once again: PATHETIC, delusional, A-HOLE PACIFISTS.
"
- Is this the best you can do?

Re: "if Louie F can amass a crowd of 750,000, or even 1,000,000, what does it signify that an anti-American, anti-Israel rally can almost attain that number?" First of all. "Anti American?" Your comments come closer to that mark - of being "anti-American", given that dissent and the toleration of dissent is one of the principle features which has long distinguished the U.S. from authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.

I suspect that Louis Farrakhan attracted a large crowd because Black Americans feel very strongly about the issues underlying the "million man" march. Being a black male in the U.S. inner city - that's no walk in the park.....

People express strong political views on issues which they feel impact their lives. American Blacks feel rather strongly about the effects of racism (and the surrounding politcal and cultural order) on their lives. It's that simple. However, as many commentators have noted, the Anti-War protests - before U.S. troops have actually invaded Iraq - resemble, in scale, the protests which occured after the U.S. had been at War in Vietnam for years.

Plunge - I didn't say that North Korea wasn't pursuing a Nuclear Waepons program prior to the G.W. Bush administration. But many observers - both on the left and on the right - have suggested that the chaotic signals coming from the Bush adm. played a major role in the North Korea decision to move aggressively to dramatically accelerate their Nuclear program.

EdnoPantz underscores my point: North Korean tactics ("sure the U.S. can invade, but we'll obliterate Seoul and even send a few nuclear tipped missiles off at large cities in the region....") are quite effective ("I would argue that US policy viz Iraq and N. Korea is very consistent: Only fight wars you can win quickly and decisively....N. Korea could lay waste to Seoul in a few hours with conventional forces alone and is therefore a much more intimdating foe. ") By stating, in print, an agenda of aggressive regime change, (and even worse, by repeatly stating the likely lineup of nations so targeted!) and underscoring it with the "Axis of Evil" rhetoric, Bush administration members have given North Korea a very good reason to seek a nuclear counterforce. ......under the circumstances, any competent strategist would advise this very course - it is very effective.

ParisParamus - On the basis of the above quotes, I'd have to ask the question; are you suggesting that anything other than the recent, rather incoherent U.S. approach towards North Korea is "pacifist"? I would merely call the U.S. North Korean policy - up to this point - "dumb", "waffling", or "incoherent": not the best way to deal with a bully! Think of North Korea as a small Pitt Bull - what is the best way to deal with such a creature (besides running away)? - First, talk low and soft, in soothing tones of voice. Note: this does not preclude options of offense or defense, assesment of the dog's defenses and vital points, or the formulation of a strategy of attack. It merely buys time for consideration of the situation, and allows for the possibility of a nonviolent resolution of the situation.

StavrosTheWonderChicken - I read your piece (linked to above), and liked it quite a bit - great writing, too.
posted by troutfishing at 4:48 AM on January 21, 2003


"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." - Hermann Goering
posted by troutfishing at 4:50 AM on January 21, 2003


I read somewhere today:

Class Warfare?

Where do I enlist?

Trout: You're a good fisherman. But you need to quit going after these poisoned carp as you simultaneously try to prove to them you're worthy of catching them. They'll be washed up in the hurricane anyhow. You've got too good a pocketful of ideals to waste on getting these internet-adversaries going.

Oh yeah. What am I saying? Keep it up.
posted by crasspastor at 5:10 AM on January 21, 2003


ParisParamus - your rabid bellicose rhetoric sure enamours me to your POV. There's nothing like a well argued coherent point to sway opinion.

Some more numbers to argue over:

'So TIME asks you: which country poses the greatest danger to world peace in 2003?'

A) North Korea - 8%
B) Iraq - 9.1%
C) US - 82.9%

Total Votes Cast: 254342

NOTE: This is an unscientific, informal survey for the interest and enjoyment of TIME.com users and may not be indicative of popular opinion.
posted by asok at 5:38 AM on January 21, 2003


I'd have to ask the question; are you suggesting that anything other than the recent, rather incoherent U.S. approach towards North Korea is "pacifist"?

I suspect that if you interviewed the core members of this rally (as opposed to curiosity seekers; people not sure of their stand; and college students: really too young to have serious perspective), you'd find a group of people who NEVER give the green light to war.

Whatever happens in Iraq (in terms of actual military operations) will take a month or less; my bet is about 20 days (it's quite possible that the mass surrenders of the 1991 war will be magnified this time, right up to Saddam's inner circle). At most, two thousand people will die. But the world will be rid of a menace with infinite cash. The Middle East's corrupt, disgusting, fascist ways will be seriously undermined. Perhaps most important, against those one or two thousand people, tens of thousands will not be murdered, and many more will not be tortured, imprisioned; and millions more will have a chance for some conception of freedom.

People who don't get this can be described as pacifists: they cannot understand that war is, when all else fails, GOOD; BETTER THAN DOING NOTHING. PACIFISTS WANT TO DO NOTHING! Even after two decades of various nuclear, chemical, and biological schemes, NOTHING! Even worse, I suspect most of these pacifists are significantly motivated by a pathological hatred of the Bush Administration (how much smaller would the crowd have been if it was President Clinton, or a President Gore overseeing it?).

So yes, pacifists. And I'm not sure what North Korea has to do with it, except, perhaps that we tried to PACIFY them, too.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:39 AM on January 21, 2003


Asok. If you are willing to give significant to that "poll," then I would suggest you are disqualified from serious debate on this subject.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:20 AM on January 21, 2003


Paris - I brought up North Korea because it has been constantly mentioned in Bush Adm. foreign policy pronouncements - in the same breath - as Iraq and Iran.

I can't speak for the Anti-War protesters in general. I might be considered a "core member" (I don't know - I was at both events, but didn't help or sympathize with the Stalinists (Maoists?) who organized it) but I don't hold a blanket condemnation of war - but merely of wars which are, in my opinion dumb, grossly unjust, and/or counterproductive (in the classic Utilitarian sense). You might be right about the general tendencies of the Anti-War protesters - I don't really know - but I don't think that you need fear that the US will be swept by a general wave of pacifism!!

By the way, there were a considerable number of Vietnam, Korean War, and even WW2 vets protesting: presumeably because most think that War on Iraq (as currently proposed and envisioned) would be a bad idea....for a host of reasons.

"Even after two decades of various nuclear, chemical, and biological schemes..." Do you mean on the part of the US? - Oh, OK, our schemes are always "defensive" - or do you mean Saddam Hussein's schemes (at least chemical and biological) which we provided him the materials and technological assistance for when Iraq was fighting Iran in the 80's?
posted by troutfishing at 6:28 AM on January 21, 2003


or do you mean Saddam Hussein's schemes (at least chemical and biological) which we provided him the materials and technological assistance for when Iraq was fighting Iran in the 80's?

Guess what?! The current situation is different than if Saddam had simply fought a stupid war over nothing against Iran. What if Saddam hadn't gassed his own people, or invaded Kuwait, or consistently disregarded UN Resolutions, or paid $25K/suicide bomber in Israel? If none of that had happened, and the same war was about to take place, I might have made it down to Washington for a rally; and such a rally wouldn't have been led by the Free Mumia(sp?) crowd.

Yes, America doesn't have completely clean hands. But, at least, unlike France or Germany, we're able and willing to take responsiblity for the unintended consequences of our actions.

More, perhaps later, but I have to catch the MetroNorth train to Grand Central, and a job interview....
posted by ParisParamus at 6:41 AM on January 21, 2003


ParisP - your continued trolling of this thread is most *amusing*. The ideological blinkers seem to be fitting just dandy.
posted by asok at 6:59 AM on January 21, 2003


Paris, you're still patronising us with your pipe-dream that this is good vs evil,

"What if Saddam hadn't gassed his own people, or invaded Kuwait, or consistently disregarded UN Resolutions, or paid $25K/suicide bomber in Israel?

Any suggestion that this is about bringing Saddam to justice was completely thrown in to touch when both Rumsfeld and Straw (in the UK) suggested that Saddam could have immunity from prosecution if he goes into exile.

So that's Ok then - as long as we get what we want the gassing, invading, UN disregarding, suicide bomber employing (you might want to back that up), mother of all axis of evils gets to go free. I'm sure our friends the Saudis have his condo built already - by the sea, right next to Idi Amin.

On preview:
asok, he's not trolling, he really believes this simplistic good vs evil shit.
posted by niceness at 7:04 AM on January 21, 2003


Paris - Good luck with the job interview - honestly! I don't really take your curses too seriously (or as seriously as your reasoned opinions, that is) : Nothing like an argument to sharpen up one's thinking. I bet your job interview will benefit as long as you're not still steamed up about this post....and - besides - where would we be without each other as foils? (Well, OK, we'd find other foils!) Good luck. ($$$!)
posted by troutfishing at 7:07 AM on January 21, 2003


Troutfishing, you damned pacifist wimp! Go for the jugular, boy! the jugular, I said!
posted by troutfishing at 7:10 AM on January 21, 2003


More, perhaps later, but I have to catch the MetroNorth train to Grand Central, and a job interview....

I'm still reeling from trying to imagine the persuasive arguments you'd give in that.

"I'm sure your decision to hire me will only take a few days. No problem at all. What do you MEAN you need to think about it? YOU'RE DOING NOTHING! HIRING ME HELPS THE ECONOMY AND WILL SAVE THE ECONOMIES OF THOUSANDS OF OTHERS!"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:18 AM on January 21, 2003


That was funny XQUZPHYR....I was basically thinking the same but you so eloquently put it into words...good laugh this morning.
posted by SweetIceT at 7:41 AM on January 21, 2003


ParisP - In case you check this thread again, a few words as regards this:

I suspect most of these pacifists are significantly motivated by a pathological hatred of the Bush Administration

You almost got it. Let me rephrase for you: I suspect most of these pacifists are significantly motivated by a pathological hatred of killing people.

I'm not quite a pacifist myself, but I endorse any political or diplomatic manuever that begins from the desire to take as few lives as possible. I have seen no evidence whatsoever that the Bush Administration has this as a primary goal. Thus, while I'd be ecstatic to see Saddam Hussein (and Kim Jong-Il and Charles Taylor of Liberia and SLORC in Burma and the current despotic rulers of Turkmenistan and the Ukraine and Zimbabwe and on and on) removed from power and strung up by their toenails, I have next to no confidence that the likes of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld - both magna cum laude graduates of the Kissinger School of Realpolitik that worked so well in Southeast Asia and South America - are the right people to delicately bring about this kind of change.

Being against the Bush-led war on Iraq is not the same thing as being in favour of doing nothing.
posted by gompa at 10:45 AM on January 21, 2003


Americans from coast-to-coast voted in absentia against criticizing the Bush administration for Iraq's failure to comply with U.N. resolutions.

For that matter, a strong majority of eligible voters chose to eliminate the executive office, and, presumably, the executive branch of government in every presidential election in my lifetime.
posted by sudama at 11:38 AM on January 21, 2003


For that matter, a strong majority of eligible voters chose to eliminate the executive office, and, presumably, the executive branch of government in every presidential election in my lifetime.

Huh?

Where?
posted by bshort at 6:27 PM on January 21, 2003


"Dear citizens: due to controversy over the excessive profanity employed on this post, there will be a short ban on posts directly concerning the scheduled US invasion of Iraq on Metafilter"...courtesy of the rumour mill...
posted by troutfishing at 2:35 PM on January 23, 2003


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