'day after' protests
March 19, 2003 7:53 PM   Subscribe

On the day after war begins, global protests will shock and awe. I'm often reminded that it took years for Vietnam protests to reach the levels we've already seen -- of course, after 3-4 hours, it may hardly matter. *cries*
posted by sudama (22 comments total)
I can't reach the site, can anyone else get to it?
posted by mathowie at 8:59 PM on March 19, 2003

Works for me.
posted by phatboy at 9:20 PM on March 19, 2003

it sent me here:


Enjoy your pointless ego-tripping, y'all!
posted by BGM at 9:23 PM on March 19, 2003

It is now important for the world to know that many in the US - outside of the carefully managed realm of US political opnion - still oppose this war.
posted by troutfishing at 9:48 PM on March 19, 2003

It is now important for the world to know that many in the US - outside of the carefully managed realm of US political opnion - still oppose this war.

As is the case in any war.

And if it goes well and the Iraq people crowd the streets in celebration, it is still important to remember 'those in the US who opposed the war'.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 10:06 PM on March 19, 2003

Dennis: even if the war is completely successful, and this early raid killed Saddam, I will not be ashamed of my beliefs.

I believe that war became inevitable due to George W. Bush's inability to deal effectively with the public opinion of our allies, our citizens and the world in general. I respect that you apparently believe that Bush handled this in an manner, though I disagree vigorously.

That being said, my prayers are with our troops, and the innocents who have been thrust into the middle of this terrible affair.
posted by mosch at 10:26 PM on March 19, 2003

posted by homunculus at 10:40 PM on March 19, 2003


I'm afraid I disagree with you. I think this war, or the conditions leading to it, inevitable - no matter who was President. All that was variable was how we as a nation reacted to the stimulus of 9/11. We could either respond violently, or passively.

Passive acceptance of 9/11 would have guaranteed more of the same, IMO - unless we went to seriously draconian police state measures to ensure our security. Internal passports, permanent security checkpoints on our highways amd state borders - all in the name of 'security'. We could have tried to buy our security, or a cessation of attacks, through foreign aid - but I believe that would have failed. All we would have done is demonstrate that as a nation we were weak and vulnerable. I hate to use a schoolyard analogy, but the kid the bullies pick on doesn't fight back. He accepts the abuse, and gets more because of it.

There's things I don't like about the way GWB's handling things - but I haven't seen him do much to appease the countries that stage mass demonstrations shouting "Death to America", and we haven't had anything like 9/11 happen since Al Quaeda was rooted out of Afghanistan.

War was, IMO, inevitable before GWB took office. The only variable was how our President would respond. I don't know what Gore would have done - I would hope he'd have made the same hard choices that GWB has.

And as you said - now it's time to support our troops. I think tomorrow I'll go give blood, and maybe make a donation to the USO.

posted by JB71 at 10:49 PM on March 19, 2003


You're logic has some problems.

First, you are tying 9-11 to war in Iraq. Admittedly, Governor Bush has tried to do this as well, but he never succeeded.

Saddam is a secular leader. Al Queda is a fundamentalist Islamic organization. Saddam actively suppresses Islamic fundamentalism because it threatens his power. As such, he is the most hated Arab leader in Al Queda's eyes. There is no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Queda.


Saddam was not perceived as a threat by his neighbors, Europe or the most of the rest of the world. The U.S. never made a compelling case that he was a threat, thus it looks like we are the aggressors, not Saddam.

George Bush is the only man that could lose a popularity contest with Saddam Hussein. That takes mad skills.
posted by hipnerd at 11:53 PM on March 19, 2003

Perhaps - but I'm sure you've heard the old saying that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

The US sure used it enough in the cold war.

The US is both the enemy of Al Quaeda, and Iraq. I somehow doubt that Al Quaeda couldn't hold it's (collective) nose while trying to shop at Iraq's markets for goodies it could use against the US.

Agreed, Saddam's a much better PR man in the ME - but then, OJ was better on the PR front than the LAPD.

posted by JB71 at 3:34 AM on March 20, 2003

Saddam was not perceived as a threat by his neighbors

Because of US troops in Saudi enforcing the sanctions and no-fly zone. Pre-1991 Saddam was seen as a threat. Therein lies the problem with the anti-war argument. On the one had the world wants the US to contain Saddam so he is not a threat, but doesn't want the US to invade and take him out. So we end up with a North Korea situation long term that drains American treasure and gets the fundamentalists in Saudi pissed off at us for occupying holy land. Bush knows he can't stay in Saudi or else the terrorists will keep attacking us. So he either pulls out and takes the chance of Saddam re-arming and causing another massive conflict, or he takes out Saddam now quickly while he is weakened from sanctions.
posted by stbalbach at 4:30 AM on March 20, 2003

Since this is a war for peace, the true measure of how successful this war has been will be how peaceful the world will be in five or ten years time and that's just the short term. Unfortunately for the FoxNewsistas (which being a Briton I saw for the first time this morning - OMFG that's a scary channel!!!) you don't get to measure that by how quickly it takes a tank to drive from Kuwait to Baghdad.
posted by vbfg at 5:07 AM on March 20, 2003


Governor Bush ? Why stop there? Just call him Mr Bush, well, heck, George? maybe Dubya. or do you think he is a Governor? respect only as a governer and not a president? Related to the election? is that is? (I know there are bigger things than a title to talk about, but you brought it up).
posted by tomplus2 at 5:49 AM on March 20, 2003

Pre-1991 Saddam was seen as a threat.
...by Iran mostly. Because he had tried to invade that country with the backing of the US and the whole western world.
Because of US troops in Saudi enforcing the sanctions and no-fly zone.
There is this theory that Saddam 1991 was about to invade all of his neighbors (or at least the Saudis). That is speculation, and rather unfounded at that. Saddam had had a really hard time fighting the chaotic post-revolutionary Iran. He could invade (weak) Kuwait, because he thought he could rally Iraq's peope against a country perceived in the Arab world as a British invention and also as stealing from shared oilfields- and because it seems that he was under the impression he had the OK from the US. Indeed let me quote the exact words of US ambassador Glaspie during her meeting with Saddam on July 25 1990:

Glaspie: But we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.
I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late 60's. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction. We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via Klibi or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly. With regard to all of this, can I ask you to see how the issue appears to us?

Actually, read the full transcript.
Afterwords, when he realised that the whole world was against him he was looking for a way to save face and leave Kuwait (of course planting a puppet government on his way out).
There is not a shred of evidence (please indicate if you know of any) that Saddam had this grandiose plan of conquering the Middle East. Indeed he knew that he could't. Had he managed to defeat Iran and invade parts of it, he would have been held, by the same people who called him a butcher, as a "moderate Arab" leader.
posted by talos at 6:03 AM on March 20, 2003

talos, the opposite is true. That transcript you're linking to was fabricated by Iraq, to suit their purposes.

The actual State Department cables relating to the meeting were obtained by the NYT, and excerpts published 7/13/91. (Not on the web as far as I know, but available from LexisNexis.) There is nothing in them that suggests that the US approved of Saddam's making war on Kuwait, and twice the US ambassador states that the US expects Iraq to settle its dispute with Kuwait by peaceful means. The final message to Saddam was:
I was pleased to learn of the agreement between Iraq and Kuwait to begin negotiations in Jidda to find a peaceful solution to the current tensions between you. The United States and Iraq both have a strong interest in preserving the peace and stability of the Middle East. For this reason we believe that differences are best resolved by peaceful means and not by threats involving military force or conflict.
The idea that the US gave its approval to Iraq to invade Kuwait is a myth.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:51 AM on March 20, 2003

Slithy_Tove : Glaspie herself said that:
...she was the victim of "deliberate deception on a major scale," and denounced the Iraqi transcript as "a fabrication" that distorted her position, though it contained "a great deal" that was accurate.
I stand corrected, I knew that the NYT had published the "correct version" and I thought it was this one- still if my memory serves me well there is not a lot missing from this version which is fundamentaly accurate.
I am not suggesting that the US said: "yeah go right on ahead and invade," rather that- because of the vague response from the ambassador and the wonderful relationship the US had with Saddam in the years before- Saddam (no doubt driven by his mad ambitions as well) read the American stance as an OK. I cannot know what the US administration's intentions were at the time, and I don't presume to know. However it is clear that Iraq as a "permanent regional threat" was an invention, and that- had the US made unambiguously clear that it wouldn't tolerate an invasion- its "friendly" dictator wouldn't have dared move a finger. The fact that he had US support to invade Iran, obviously gave him ideas.
See also: John Edward Wilz, : "The Making of Mr. Bush's War A Failure to Learn from History" for its ananlysis rather than its conclusion:
As for the Bush administration, it apparently gave little if any thought as to how it might respond to an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. That it failed to do so almost defies belief. One would think that leaders of the Bush administration might have weighed the question of America's response to an invasion of Kuwait in May of 1990 when Saddam Hussein announced that violation of OPEC oil quotas by Arab states constituted a declaration of war against Iraq. Or when Saddam, on July 17, 1990, declared that the indifference of other Arab states to Iraq's plight was tantamount to stabbing Iraq with a poisoned dagger. Or when Saddam, in the last fortnight of July, deployed powerful forces along the Iraq-Kuwaiti frontier. To be sure, the Bush administration was of the view that Iraq would not undertake a full-dress invasion of Kuwait-reckoned that, at most, the Iraqis might seize part of the Rumaila oil field and Warba and Bubiyan Islands.
posted by talos at 8:18 AM on March 20, 2003

That transcript you're linking to was fabricated by Iraq, to suit their purposes.

Well, the truth is somewhere in-between, according to Glaspie herself.

Anyway, the problem with the hawkish responses is built upon the minute attention span of the media-fuelled public and its political masters. Pictures of 'welcoming Iraqis' in a week or two will be offered as triumphalist vindication, just like the rag-tag Northern Alliance's arrival in Kabul. Of course, those patient articles on Afghan warlordism and massive recultivation of opium now make it onto page 23 of the broadsheets, and any problems with Iraq in a year's time will be similarly cast off as yesterday's news, while the bloviating hawks either target Iran or concentrate on Bush's re-election.
posted by riviera at 8:34 AM on March 20, 2003

Well there was a reason the American public took years to react in vehement protest to the Vietnam war: they had very little media letting them know what was going on.

Now of course the state of the news media in 2003 ain't so hot, but we still know a hell of a lot more from the start of this conflict than we would have in, say, 1962.

Another thing, and this goes out to hipnerd: your point about Sadaam being secular fails in simplistic fashion to warrant your absolute certainty that he had nothing to do with 9/11.

I don't necessarily think that he was involved in 9/11, but I really can't rule out the possibility that he linked up in some unholy meets holy alliance with terrorists to inflict harm on the US. If not 9/11, then perhaps some other ocassion.

Can you be that sure? How?
posted by smithnine at 2:57 PM on March 20, 2003

Your inability to see that this is a just, necessary war is shocking and depressing. May your protests fizzle to nothing.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:04 PM on March 20, 2003

No, smithnine, we can't be that sure. But that's a really lousy reason to start a war.
posted by muckster at 5:50 PM on March 20, 2003

Protest creates gridlock on SF streets

Again, I think these people are just falling into the same trap that Paul Berman described.
posted by homunculus at 11:49 PM on March 20, 2003

Protest creates gridlock on SF streets

Again, I think these people are just falling into the same trap that Paul Berman described.

The same thing happened here and just paralyzed downtown at rush hour. I was on the bus and it added an hour and a half to my trip because I had to transfer downtown coming and going.

What came to mind was a story Sandra Bernhard's big brother told me back in 1969: He was out walking with this dumbshit blowhard who lived in our house at the time. The guy suddenly had scooped up some dog shit and threw it in a mailbox, sayin' he was stickin it to the man.

The response was Hey man, you aren't stickin' to the man, you're stickin' it to the common man.

Well, that's a translation--in the original it most likely was

Fuck man, you're not fuckin' stickin' it to the fuckin' man, you're fuckin' stickin' it to the fuckin' common man, the fuckin' people, dude, I mean, fu-u-uck... what kind of a fuckin' asshole are you, anyway?

Or so I'm guessing--we talked like that then.

That's what I thought of when I saw these kids blocking traffic downtown during rush hour. They were fuckin' stickin' it to people who'd never done anything to them--I mean, fu-u-uck...

You just don't make friends or influence by annoying people who are just getting off work. Especially when you're some preachy 20 something college kid know-it-all who doesn't know his or her ass from a hole in the ground. In other words, I think I agree--you don't reach people's hearts and minds by making their lives more difficult, you just make enemies.
posted by y2karl at 1:35 AM on March 21, 2003

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