Steven den Beste honored me with a link in one of his prolonged essays on the conflicting aims of the United States and some of its European allies. He says that the anti-American Europeans are motivated by quasi-religious longing for a Marxist future.
Perhaps. But I think their actions are a bit more simplistic . . . and parochial.
Unfortunately, I have little empirical evidence to base this on . . . except that there is the New York Times letters section, and that is often a good cross section of the current lunatic fringe wisdom.
My theory is this: antiwar protesters are animated by a deep dislike of George Bush. They don’t like his mannerisms, his haircut, his use of the word “evil.” In short, they dislike his style . . . and for this they are willing to march in defense of fascism incarnate, chant infantile rhymes in public, and chain themselves to Iraqi military installations.
Now, I’m not saying this in not heroic activity. After all, who am I to judge? One man’s peace activist is another man’s useful tool in the service of repression. But I do think perhaps these guys are letting President Bush get under their skins just a bit.
Take Brooke Stevens, from Kent, Connecticut. Observing from the comfort of her idyllic New England refuge, Stevens believes Bush has offended everyone on Earth.
Since the war drums began last summer, the Bush administration has shown contempt for diplomacy, often resorting to taunts and name-calling, and has made innumerable specious arguments for war.
Stevens appears to have awoken refreshed from a long summer vacation (or a coma) to the news that Iraq invaded and looted it’s neighbor, had to be dislodged by United States forces (but not until unleashing the largest environmental holocaust in recorded history) and then spent 12 years violating the terms of a U.N. brokered ceasefire.
Surely you can understand the hesitancy of Europe and the rest of the world when it comes to adopting a resolution that would not only condone the Bush administration's bellicose behavior but encourage more of it in the future.
Yes, how dare the cowboy Bush force the international community to back its copious words with meaningful actions. Why to cave into such pressure would set a dangerous precendent whereby nations would have to actually live up to their admirable rhetoric about peace, justice and human rights.
But what really gets Ms. Stevens is Bush’s ‘bellicose behavior.” How gauche . . . how not well brought up.
On the same page, Donald Marritz chimes in from Gettysburg, PA:
The huge antiwar demonstrations that took place all over the world on Saturday show, above all, that people have a deep-seated, visceral understanding that war should be the last resort to solve a problem.
The key word here is “visceral.”
People like Marritz came to their understanding of the futility of war not through any intellectual rigor but through feeling. They feel it is wrong. After all, how could a thinking person -- living in Gettysburg of all places -- conclude that war is unlikely to solve any problem. Perhaps he’s a slave owner.
Another of the visceral generation, Britta Anderson of Webster, NY, has dabbled in geopolitics and come to this remarkable policy perspective:
Rather than starting a war with Iraq, the United States should focus on an initiative, through the United Nations, to deal with the dangers to world security posed by a North Korea with far-reaching nuclear capabilities.
So let me get this straight . . . rather than confront Iraq now before it acquires nuclear weapons, let’s focus on a some strongly worded UN resolutions that will disarm the atomic-powered Blofeld regime in Pyongyang just as effectively as the ones that disarmed Saddam.
Wow, this is stupid on so many levels it’s hard to know where to begin. Best leave her alone to wrestle with this little brain teaser in solitude.
The earnest activists who marched with such earnestness seem hurt that President Bush has not yet acted on their earnest demands to back down in the face of Iraqi contempt for the UN.
Jim Bristow of San Francisco is upset that President Bush dismissed him and his hardy band of Bush haters using the offensively corporate term “focus group.”
As a very narrowly elected president, he should be listening carefully to this country's voters.
Suzanne Russian of Metuchen NJ appears to be cribbing from the same talking points:
We are not deciding on a name for a toothpaste but on a policy that will change the world forever. Mr. Bush, as the president, elected by the people of this country, could at least feign interest in what we have to say.
Well, at least they admit Bush was elected.
The next step might be to actually check on public opinion rather than the mood of a mob armed with paper mache and pointed irony. A cursory look at the Gallup website shows that nearly 60% of Americans currently support invading Iraq with US ground troops to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
That means well over 100 million Americans are even more pro-war than President Bush who has stated that his policy is to use force if necessary to enforce UN resolutions.
But why let a little thing like overwhelming public support stand in the way of deeply felt opinions? Susan DeMark of the Naked City comes right out and tells it like it is:
. . .many antiwar Europeans are not anti-American but anti-George Bush, and they have explicitly expressed the distinction.
They sure have. The Bush=Hitler posters where particulary cogent. And here’s a delightful echo from DeMark’s fellow New Yorker, Mary-Ellen Banashek:
On a trip to Dublin two weeks ago, I met with an old friend, now an Irish senator, who said, "I'm not anti-American, I'm anti-Bush." To which I replied, "I'm an American and I'm anti-Bush."
How loverly. I think if you corrected the typo you would find she was talking with an Irish Setter.
So there you have it. Rather than agreeing on a coherent point of view on the defining issue of our time, instead of challenging the world’s leading violator of human rights and the man responsible for environmental damage hundreds of times worse that the Exxon Valdez, rather than drawing the line at true misogyny, racism, and intolerance . . . the self-identified keepers of the flames of justice have decided what they really don’t like is that George Bush is so damned popular.
No wonder no one takes them seriously