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Sunday, February 10, 2008


The "chicken doves" and the "antiwar" "movement"

There's a very interesting article in Rolling Stone magazine in which Matt Taibbi paints the portrait of the Democratic surrender on the Iraq war, and about how "Working behind the scenes, the Democrats have systematically taken over the anti-war movement, packing the nation's leading group with party consultants more interested in attacking the GOP than ending the war."

As I said, it is interesting reading, but it has two major problems. The first is the idea that the Democrats "surrendered" on the Iraq war. In reality, they did no such thing; with the exception of a distinct minority of the Democrats, their talk of being opposed to the war was just that - talk, designed to suck in the votes of the real antiwar movement in the country by pretending to be opposed to the war.

The second relates to the "antiwar" "movement." The article mentions exactly one "antiwar" group, Americans Against the Escalation in Iraq, preposterously described as "the leader of the anti-war lobby." The "anti-war" part is completely preposterous; how can you be "anti-war" when you are just opposed to "escalation"? The "lobby" part isn't really preposterous, because that's exactly what this group is, as opposed to a "movement" which is how it is also described (e.g., in the sentence quoted in the first paragraph above). Indeed, here's how the group describes itself on its website:

Americans Against Escalation in Iraq is a major, multi-million dollar national campaign to oppose the President's proposal to escalate the war in Iraq by sending more than 20,000 additional troops into the violent civil war between Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias.
Not a "movement," just a "multi-million dollar campaign." There is a link on the page labeled "support our cause." Does it tell you to join the organization, demonstrate against the war, even write a letter to your Congressperson? No, it tells you to "visit our online store." This is the "antiwar" "movement" that Taibbi thinks the Democrats have taken over.

In reality, of course, there is a story, as there is in almost every election year, of activists being subsumed into support for the Democratic Party and suspending or reducing independent activity. But you won't find that story in this article, in which mentions of actual antiwar organizations like ANSWER, United for Peace and Justice, Not in Our Name, Iraq Veterans Against the War, etc., do not rate a single mention.

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