The antiwar movement must rise again. Now

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on 100 Comments
iraq 045
Anti-Iraq war protest. February 15, 2003 (Photo: REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid)

For the last month there has been a rather heated discussion on this site and others about Ron Paul and to what extent his candidacy for the Presidency should be viewed as a positive vehicle for raising the issues of war, occupation, America’s military footprint (including bases) apoad, interventionism and civil liberties. Having watched Ron Paul the other night in the first Florida Primary debate, I can only conclude that his participation in these debates is helpful to those issues. His arguments were reasonable and plausible, and should not have been taken as extreme by the average viewer. Moreover, Paul faced three other individuals on the stage who presented polar opposite views to himself. On the issue of Iran specifically, Romney, Gingrich and Santorum had a contest to see who could sound more determined about going to war with Iran. Sadly, it is highly unlikely that we will hear such contrasting viewpoints in the future debates involving President Obama.

In the South Carolina Republican primary last Saturday Ron Paul received 13% of the vote and the nod from only 10% of the voters who identified themselves as Republicans in the exit polling. He received 14% to 15% of the Republican vote in Iowa and New Hampshire. Paul polls better among declared Independents, and will achieve higher numbers in states that have open primaries. In open states Independents will vote for him out of conviction and some Democrats will vote for him tactically. With a current ceiling of about 15% of the Republican vote, there is no realistic path for Ron Paul to the Republican nomination.

More importantly, to what extent are Paul voters motivated by his positions on international issues and civil liberties? The readily available polling date on this question is not extensive, but based on what I have found, even the most optimistic interpretation of the data would indicate only a small minority of Paul voters are primarily driven to vote for him based on these issues. In the Florida debate, Gingrich went out of his way to associate himself with Ron Paul’s FED and monetary recommendations. Of course, Gingrich wouldn’t go near Paul’s anti-war message.

To those readers who are convinced that Ron Paul is the answer – and maybe the only answer – to changing US policy, I say, “Keep on Truckin,” no need to read further. To the rest of us, and particularly those people who call themselves Progressives, I argue we should look back a year and ask what went wrong, and how did Ron Paul end up the only anti-war candidate of 2012.

I contend that the Democratic base is more inclined towards anti-war positions than the Republican base, and that no anti-war movement will succeed without getting the support of that Democratic base. Hence, the first question is: “how did we end up with no significant challenger to President Obama in the Democratic primaries?” Going back in modern American history, there have been two major primary challenges to existing Democratic Presidents, McCarthy vs Johnson in 1968, and Kennedy vs Carter in 1980. The latter contest revolved around Kennedy himself, so I will concentrate on the challenge to Lyndon Johnson.

Allard K  Lowenstein
Allard K Lowenstein

The Dump Johnson Movement arose in 1967 around opposition to the Vietnam War. Two individuals, Allard Lowenstein and Curtis Gans, were the main drivers behind the movement. Lowenstein, in particular, actively spoke at numerous university forums to kick-start the effort. He tried to convince Robert Kennedy and then others to run, but all refused. Finally, in October 1967 Senator Eugene McCarthy accepted the long-shot challenge. McCarthy did so well against Johnson in the initial primaries, the President suddenly decided to withdraw from the race.  The Movement succeeded beyond all expectations. Unfortunately, Robert Kennedy was assassinated after he too entered the race as an anti-war candidate. Chaos followed within the Democratic Party, which led to the election of Richard Nixon that November. But the seeds were planted for a major reform of the Presidential nomination process four years later. Rules that basically remain in tack to this day.

My point is that despite all the advances in social networking and public communications that have occurred in 44 years, no major individual or group has persistently attempted an organized primary challenge to President Obama as Lowenstein did in 1967. And no major Democratic politician has shown a willingness to run. No profiles in courage this year. I will not deny that the Vietnam War was a larger issue in 1967 than the Mideast wars are today, and that asking Democrats to challenge the first African-American President presents a special problem, but I suspect not putting up a primary challenger to President Obama is going to be judged by history as a mistake. What is clear is that our views are not getting a proper airing in the 2012 Presidential discussions.

It is now too late for a primary challenge. Moving on, “Why is there no organized anti-war movement in 2012?” Before George Bush’s Iraq war there actually were massive global anti-war protests. True, those protests only aided in keeping some countries from entering the war rather than preventing the war itself. Hence, many probably believe that an effort today would be as hopeless as in 2003.  On the other hand, we now have global and American publics that generally views the Iraq war as a monumental mistake, publics that are reluctant to see yet another war in the Middle East, publics that are hurting economically, and perhaps most importantly, a US military that is exhausted and wants to stay home for some years.

Therefore, I strongly recommend that publishers, pundits and bloggers such as Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, Katha Pollitt, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Matt Stoller, Cenk Uygur, folks at this site, and whoever else you want to name, put aside their differences and call a meeting to initiate the organization of a single-focused “No More Middle East War” movement. Sirota can negotiate to bring along the Ron Paul people. If organized and positioned correctly, it should be again able to gain broad public support. Even significant support from our soldiers and their families should be possible. We need an American Spring.

Phil has stated that the Iraq war motivated his starting Mondoweiss. His number one concern is that we not go down the same road with Iran. In one comment, Phil even called for a clean-Gene effort, putting on ties and dressing up to convince middle America to stop an (impending) war. If nobody else will lead the effort, then maybe Phil should suspend the other activities of the site and use Mondoweiss as a vehicle solely to initiate a movement to prevent armed conflict with Iran. After all, there is not going to be any near or medium-term progress on the I/P front if the US and Europe continues to escalate their conflict with Iran.

My only caveat against what I just proposed is the worry that a more visible anti-war movement might actually be used as a foil to gather support for military action. Recall how quickly the mainstream media helped turn around public support for the Occupy Movement by picturing the activists as DFHs and freeloaders. At the moment, it is impossible to figure out with certainty what is happening inside our government with respect to Iran. Even on this site, quite opposite theories are being offered. Is Obama engaged in some opaque effort to outflank the Israeli government, the pro-Israeli lobbies, our Congress and the Republican Party? Is our military the only significant power in Washington preventing another war? Segments of the US military and the CIA were the only forces able to stop Bush-Cheney from bombing Iran during the second term of that administration. Would a large public anti-war movement compel the military to side with the hawks? I cannot answer that question.

Based on what I do know, I advocate for a massive, public effort.   

100 Responses

  1. Krauss
    January 25, 2012, 3:33 pm

    Well, I’m skeptical for several reasons. Let me delve into the matter:

    First, there is a blessing on war with Iran in the media. It’s not the preferred choice, but it’s seen as acceptable, even preferable if sanctions don’t bring immediate results and Israel would attack.

    There was no such latent backing of the Vietnam war. The press was simply subdued in earlier generations, but with Vietnam they asserted themselves. With Iran, not so much. A few scattered voices.

    Second, the Republican party has changed. Yes, Ron Paul has shown that there is still an anti-war faction(derided as ‘isolationist’ by people who should know better on the left) within the Republican party after 3 decades of neocon dominance which has shattered the GOP into a mere ghost of what it used to be.

    Third, Obama is not Lyndon Johnson, he has started all kinds of wars. It means that war itself is now so common that Americans have more or less accepted it as a permanent state of mind. Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq(up until recently), and now Iran is looming.

    Second, the nation is more heterogeneous, not just by ethnic diversity but also by class and common experience. The gated communites are on the rise.
    Aside from things like ‘the economy’, which everyone cares about, politics have become very much more niched. Hispanics care about immigration, for one, Asians care about affirmative action and anti-Asian discrimination in our culture and in our wider society(especially against male Asians), the situations for blacks are not better.

    Even whites are starting, as they already are a minority among those under the age of 5 and if you discount Jews and Arabs from their population, they already are a minority in the under 18-age range too, to take on more grievances. I think it’s just a matter of time before you get equivalent racial organisations. I see ‘NumbersUSA’ as a mere precursor.

    All this means that it’s harder to unite all communities, politics have become much more fragmentized. Another thing: in times of economic decline, people don’t tend to want to get engaged with the wider world, as they suffer in their private lives.

    The 1960s was a great decade by most economic means, people could take time to look at our culture or our foreign policy, we could afford it.

    All these internal factors make it hard, but not impossible, for a anti-war left to gain traction and work together with elements of the right to prevent a war.
    But they inevitably have to take on the Israel Lobby in trying to stop a war, because unlike Iraq, where discussion of ‘who started what, and when’, Iran is a clear-cut case. It’s the Israel Lobby all the way, and that means if people start talking about this, the whole ‘the left are anti-Semites meme’ will resurface again. This is yet another issue which wasn’t present in the 1960s when it was Vietnam.

  2. Newclench
    January 25, 2012, 3:34 pm

    I’d love to see some kind of evaluation of United for Peace and Justice. But not one of those ‘if it weren’t for us even worse things would have happened.’ More like, ‘we failed and you should learn from our mistakes.’

  3. Dan Crowther
    January 25, 2012, 3:49 pm

    Well said Bruce.

    “I will not deny that the Vietnam War was a larger issue in 1967 than the Mideast wars are today”

    Well, yea, no one is getting drafted into the service

    “”Why is there no organized anti-war movement in 2012?” Before George Bush’s Iraq war there actually were massive global anti-war protests. ”
    ———
    George Bush was a Republican. The Democratic party(and its assorted minions) is not going to get behind a anti-war movement when a democrat is in the white house (especially when there is no draft)

    “My only caveat against what I just proposed is the worry …..”
    ——–
    That you would be creating something like a “vanguard”? – While I treasure Greenwald, some of the others you mention have cheered on war before and some (sullivan) are tried and true Thatcherites. Others (Uygur) have done a 180 since their salad days, in his case on the young turks web based show. Aside from Greenwald and vanden heuvel there really isn’t a portrait of integrity mentioned. And to me, that is what being “anti-war” is all about. Do I want to fight and die? No. So, therefore, I don’t want anyone ELSE to fight and die.

    Unfortunately, this sentiment becomes harder and harder to find as we climb the economic and influence ladders in liberal circles. the further removed one is from the prospect of actually fighting and dying, the more one seems to care about far away places that might be in the need for “humanitarian intervention” — we see this among celebrities, professional “left” agitators etc. I mean, Rachel Maddow fell just short of advocating an invasion into Uganda because of their anti-gay laws. Some of the “liberals” on this site are STILL defending US involvement in Libya. So, I think before any agenda or platform gets decided on, “the left” needs to first call out some of its inconsistent members.

    I guess what I am saying is, the “left” needs to first admit how full of sht they are and have been, and then go from there. And the people who have “lead” in this area, should be looked on with skepticism, not with reverence – in my opinion. Some of the “faces” of the left need to go, post haste

    • Bruce
      January 26, 2012, 12:46 pm

      @Dan Crowther

      Part of the problem is “what is the left?”

      The majority of Republicans believe anyone not conservative is “far left,” including Obama.

      The MSM as a rule has a rather expansive view of whom is on the left in America. It frequently includes Democratic partisans and base of voters.

      Many liberals, and probably a majority of Democrats, would not want to be called leftists. I doubt Rachel Maddow would be comfortable calling herself a leftist.

      Many of the criticisms of the left are directed at targets which don’t self-identify as leftists. My own view is that the left-right dichotomy is not very helpful and that a political classification scheme with 5-6 different ideological/political types, not positioned on a straight line with two end points, would be far more explanatory.

      • Dan Crowther
        January 26, 2012, 2:39 pm

        bruce,

        I always put left in quotes, as its a term that has lost much, if not all, of its meaning – same with liberal or conservative.

        Of course the MSM includes democratic partisans and its base as official representatives of “the left” – it sets a boundary for debate by doing so. If the furthest “left” you have to go is someone like Howard Fineman, your not going very far, and this is what the corporate media want.

        Funny, I agree that Maddow and others might not identify as “leftist” but she also happens to be the ‘face of the left’ everynight on TV. This is what I meant by “some of the faces of the “left” have to go” —

        There is no “left” that is represented anywhere in the mainstream – socialists are the left. there is no mainstream socialist organization or group of advocates, we’re here talking about the capitalist “left” – to me, that is no left at all. I don’t see how you can be pro-capitalism and say your are anti-war, it seems to be a necessary element in capitalist development – over production, diminishing profits and excess capital have always been a recipe for war, until we talk about our mode of economic production, any talk of anti-war movements seems premature.

        I find the left/right distinction to be useful, to the extent that it defines where our political allegiances lie, with the establishment/ruling class (right) and the general mass of people (left). The problem is that in America, advocating what would truly be best for workers and their families – owning their labor- is considered too radical to even mention.

        And so, we are left with upper class liberals, who benefit from capitalist society and defend it to the working class people, who with nowhere else to go, either buy in or drop out entirely. In this sense, the liberals represented in the mainstream at once (1) bracket what is acceptable or “serious” in our political discourse (2) defend and make palatable the ruling political class to working class people (3) take from the working class their right to speak for themselves. Working class issues are one thing, working class people are to be shunned at all costs.

        The real left, the wage earners and their families must first come to the realization that their public advocates often have differing and even antagonistic interests(and they are begnining to, even if the now identify as conservative) – these would be the “5-6 different ideological/political types” people. The only reason you would need those 5-6 different types is because of class. The left should be an economic distinction, not an ideological distinction, and if that is the understanding, than common ground can be found among “working class conservatives” or those on the right who have a personal interest in a working class anti-war movement.

      • Bruce
        January 26, 2012, 4:14 pm

        @Dan Crowther

        I spend half my time in Europe, mostly Norway. These different ideological/political types become very clear if you observe European politics. The two-party system in the US obscures how similar these political groupings are from one advanced western country to another.

        If we put aside, as you want, differences on social issues, we observe a major political battle between left- and right-wing populisms. The problem is the splintering of the laboring classes. Marx seems to have underestimated how large the “petite bourgeoisie” would become in advanced economies. With the growth of the service sector and the movement to outsourcing whether domestic or international, the working/middle classes have polarized around quite different ideologies. (I thought Naomi Klein explained this very well in her book, No Logo. In the last decade, it has been right-wing populism that has made all the gains in Europe. The left is still in disarray, even thought right-wing governments have been discredited due to the economic crisis.

        I doubt the “laboring classes” can be united at this point. I wonder whether the polarization can even be effectively narrowed.

        Until now, the economic elite have maintained control in the US. But the forces of right-wing populism could easily capture the Republican Party. Watch Newt Gringich. He really understands how to manipulate the underlying resentments that fuel right-wing populism everywhere.

      • Dan Crowther
        January 26, 2012, 5:38 pm

        I agree with your point about Newt Gingrich for sure, and I do understand where you are coming from

        I think the divide between left/right populism is big, and I think it is big because both left and right in the states have forsaken their historical roots and both movements are now in a “post-historical” period, where they themselves are free to re-define whatever they like. For example, there is no rational explanation for “liberalism” to be a state worshiping (and in my opinion deeply authoritarian) movement. When you go back and read some of the classical liberals, they are almost uniformly anti-statist. Humboldt’s “Limits of State Action” comes to mind. But now, being “liberal” almost by definition means defending the state or in our language “the government” – this is antithetical to any sense of liberalism, if the term has any meaning.

        In this sense, left and right SHOULD be very close to one another, and I think that the case can be made. “your on the left, Im on the right, we both loathe the state – lets do something about it” — But as long as the left continues to define itself with defense of concentrated power (the state) your probably right, the splintering will continue.

        The right’s shock troops have been bred to loathe the state, but not to loathe arbitrary power – their masters are of course the capitalist class, so subordination to outside orders for survival is something the rulers on the right want to engender in their troops, makes them better wage laborers. But in here, I think, again, there is a real opportunity among working people (and not elites speaking on behalf of working people) to find common cause. The working class “left” wants to suppress the tyranny of the corporate state/capitalist class – the working class “right” wants to suppress the power of the state to arbitrarily intervene in their lives. I dunno, I think common cause can be found – but only among working class folks – and with the help of the “petite bourgeois” on both sides as they slip down the economic ladder into the proletariat…….

      • Dan Crowther
        January 26, 2012, 9:21 pm

        I should say, the percentage of the real laboring classes – the poor, lower middle classes that vote for the right wing agenda is pretty small. the lower classes are the least frequent voters on the whole but pluralities vote “left” — If we are talking about the small business owner/white collar middle management right wing populists”petite bourgeois” – yea, that is undoubtedly a massive gap, those people are truly F’d up. But again, those people have a self interest in the current model. but there are more non-participants than there are real working class “right wingers”

        The reason the “right wing populists” could take over the republican party, and possibly the country is because our system gives disproportionate power to small states. There are more people living on ten blocks in new york city than the whole state of wyoming, and yet new york state and wyoming have the same number of votes in the senate. but in terms of a mass right wing movement of the people, that just aint happening.

        But I do think that aside from the small biz/white collar element, there is a lot of agreement – especially on war.

      • Bruce
        January 26, 2012, 10:56 pm

        @Dan Crowther

        Europeans and Americans mean different ideologies when they talk about “liberalism.” Your definition is closer to classic European liberalism and European liberal parties today.

        In America, “liberalism” is more akin to what Europeans would call “social democracy.” A successful social democratic party is based upon the idea of citizen solidarity. Unfortunately in America – the land of immigrants – solidarity is a weak concept even among liberals. It has almost been driven out of the political landscape except among social conservatives, and then they express solidarity only for each other.

        I don’t understand why it is so hard for upper middle class liberals and middle and lower-middle class workers to grasp they need to form an alliance for either to achieve political hegemony. The compromise is simple: liberals must offer the working class economic security and a larger slice of the pie, and the working class must support social equality. Instead, all of America has totally bought into politics as a consumer choice. We vote as if we are buying a soda. Don’t like this brand or tired of another, switch (or in this case just try another candidate). There is no awareness that political alliances require stable and persistent compromise agreements. You give and you get. Consumer choice in politics gives a false sense of freedom. Under this model all the compromises are arranged outside the purview of the voters among elites.

      • Dan Crowther
        January 27, 2012, 9:19 am

        You make good points Bruce — and as you say, the compromises are arranged among elites, and to me, this is the problem.

        But I do think that “my” definition of liberalism is right there under the surface, and can be seen in anti-state rhetoric and anti-corporate personhood rhetoric. But, in my opinion, it is more important to any coalition building that the left gives up its defense of “the government” -which currently is a elite driven state capitalist model- and begins speaking in earnest about empowering people in their places of employment, in their communities etc.
        The occupy movement does a wonderful job at being anti-statist, and I think it’s a big part of the reason why it still enjoys widespread support.

        It’s the institutions of “social solidarity” that have been a large part of the problem. Trade Unions, the think tank/ single issue advocacy of the left — there are too many litmus tests and credentials required to be a involved in the left solidarity movements – the right doesn’t care who you are or what your background is at all, look at the clowns on right wing radio/TV, almost none have credentials or are “serious” people, but they have an opinion, can communicate with working class people, so they have a job and a platform. the left needs to do this if there is to be any coalition building. Having some ivy league educated hipster make the case is not helping.

        The reason why I think the real reform needs to begin with the left, is for the reasons you cite earlier – right wing populism has made gains while left wing populism hasn’t – it is of extreme importance that the left is honest with itself and admits their methods and strategies have not worked, but rather hurt. But the upper crust liberals, if left in charge will continue to harp on the economically trivial (gay bashing/bullying, saving the whales, “representation” of non white males etc) which turns off a lot of people and at the same time does nothing to advance the cause of the real left, working people. But I think this starting to change, the new citizen radio thing could be tremendous in this effort, but again, as you say, it will take organizing and a dedicated effort

      • Bruce
        January 27, 2012, 2:22 pm

        @Dan Crowther

        All this is getting too off topic, but to respond to your remarks:

        I am an outlier with respect to some of your concerns. Having spent half my life in Scandinavia, I am not anti-state, just opposed to the US state model and corporate economic control. These countries work on account of “social solidarity.”

        A healthy skepticism of the state is important and I am not saying Scandinavia is utopia, but you will have a hard time convincing me social democracy is not an attractive model. As a foreigner, I received an excellent subsidized university education, rational health insurance, a share in the value of all the nation’s resources, more political freedom than here, a community without poverty, a good pension, a well-functioning collective transport system, an economy driven to maintain demand for labor, and a healthy business environment. I was also able to easily start several high tech start-ups. Entrepreneurism thrives there.

  4. Citizen
    January 25, 2012, 4:22 pm

    Here’s a recent article about the current campaign for the next POTUS in Florida: link to jewishjournal.com

    Judging by the thrust, tenor, and conclusions of referenced and hot-linked article, the Jews in the key early primary voter state of Florida (a bell weather state), numerically more than in any other state except California, the choice boils down to Obama, Newt, or Romney. Ron Paul is not even in their thinking, either because of their concern for the US safety/welfare & net & social issues like abortion & gay rights, or Ron Paul’s foreign policy stance–or both. They will be either super-PEP or super-neocon when they vote. There will be no issue on foreign policy in the main election (except who loves & promises the state of Israel (right or wrong) more. Sad. I’m so old, I won’t live to see the eventual regret. Looking forward to the TV ads for Newt purchased by the Adelson couple.

  5. seafoid
    January 25, 2012, 4:52 pm

    If Israel attacks Iran it’s going to be very different to 2003 and the assault on Iraq . The Jewish influence then was hidden but an attack on Iran wil bring it right out into the open and it will be seen by Shia all over the world as a Jewish attack on Shi’ism. And Shi’ism especially the Iranian version is prone to feeling persecuted. And striking back. And Americans should remember what happened to the Marines in Beirut in 1983. And what happened afterwards. And Jews anywhere could be targeted. And war is a racket. Always has been.

    • iRevolt
      January 25, 2012, 10:00 pm

      I take issue with bits and pieces here; there are certainly schools of thought within Shi’ism but none which are so varied, especially in respect to Iran, that would qualify as having their own “versions” – i.e. there is no Iranian version of Shi’ism.
      According to the teachings of Shi’ism followers are to despise oppression and oppressors and so in the case of Palestine they are to despise Israel and those who back the apartheid regime, those who in any way (publicly or behind closed doors) support the oppression of the people of Palestine.

      If Iran is attacked by Israel, the US or any other foreign body I believe that there will be a reaction that will shake the entire globe; Shi’as around the world will rise up as never before, and so will those who choose to side with the Shi’a despite religious differences. It will be seen as Karbala-esque – “…when the sky rained blood…”

      Iran, despite all its shortcomings, will not make this out to be Jews vs. the Islamic Republic of Iran, on the contrary I see it forcing the Zionist Lobby of the US out into the open, as some have already stated. Iran will accuse Israel, the US and those who back the Zionist apartheid regime of creating the atmosphere leading up to the attack and blame them for it, as they should be held accountable.

      But yes, war is a racket (General Smedley D. Butler) and “to hell with war” – it’s time to smash it before it’s too late.

    • thetumta
      January 26, 2012, 9:13 pm

      Wishful thinking. What do you think the Shia had to do with what happened to the Marines in Beirut in 1983? Why did RR run away? Another myth, like they’re going to wipe Israel from the map.
      It wasn’t the Shia and it wasn’t Hezbollah and it wasn’t the Pals.
      What wold the recent Iranian that was defeated by the current Iranian Prime Minister and is confined to his home have to say about this? What was his job in 1983?
      Hej!

  6. Henry Norr
    January 25, 2012, 5:23 pm

    Historical side note, FWIW (not much): Back in the 60′s many of us in the New Left were convinced that Allard Lowenstein, the main operator behind the Dump Johnson Movement, was a CIA agent, or at least a collaborator with the agency. Grove Press even published a book making that argument in the 1980s. In hindsight, I think the story was very likely BS, but it arose because he was so into his ties with high levels of the establishment, even as he tried to enlist the movement in his projects, and because he was very hostile to anyone he judged a commie or commie dupe.

    The question was taken seriously enough that the New York Review of Books, after publishing a very critical review of the book, ran a long exchange about it.

  7. Nevada Ned
    January 25, 2012, 7:00 pm

    There is enough opposition to the Middle East wars that it could be an important force if it were mobilized. Public opinion polls show lack of support for the war, especially among registered Democrats.
    Because it was so long ago, people today forget that Hubert Humphrey gave hundreds of pro-war speeches, and once proclaimed “The war is our great adventure, and wonderful one it is, too!”
    In comparing the climate today with the climate in the 1960′s, there are differences, some helping the antiwar movement and some hurting.

    The economy in the 1960′s was humming along. Now it’s a wreck. So people are very concerned with the financial cost of the war. The US is using lots of mercenaries (private armies, like Blackwater), which are more expensive than draftees. I remember being paid about $100 a month in the US Army. Rumsfeld’s innovation was to raise private armies, to sidestep opposition to war.

    Back in the 1960′s, many liberal forces didn’t want to oppose Lyndon Johnson because they wanted to maintain good ties with the Administration and its Great Society programs. Now, the Obama administration had done very little along these lines, not even having a program against racial discrimination!!

    The degree of opposition that show up in public opinion polls can vary depending on the details of the poll. For example, if asked, “Do you agree or disagree with the President’s policy?” some people will agree because they think it’s unpatriotic not to support the President. Some will agree because the administration claims to be winding down the war. Why oppose the war if it’s ending anyway (supposedly).
    An honest poll would ask, “Do you want war, or do you want peace?”
    Very few politicians running for office honestly proclaim,
    “If you want war, vote for me. If you want peace, vote for my opponent”.
    You know *WHY* they don’t run under that slogan?
    Because they’d rather win.

    It may be hard to get people to vote on foreign policy when domestic policy is the main concern. So what about a campaign of calling for cancelling the various wars in the Middle East, and freeing up that money to help the unemployed, those without medical care, etc. – a variety of domestic needs.

    FWIW

    • MLE
      January 26, 2012, 2:47 am

      I agree, that opposition to Mideast wars is much more all encompassing than in Iraq. Some of my friends who went off and joined the military were very gung-ho about Iraq, and I came across a huge swarth of Bush supporters who claimed that it was really WWII that brought us out of the depression and that war was good for the economy, so even if the whole thing is a bust, well all turn out all right. None of these people are singing that song now. I think all the old channels are trying to start the drumbeat for war again, but the public is not biting this time. We can’t judge by the Republican debates, since its a very pre-selected group and they’re part of the war machine themselves. When the troops from Afghanistan start coming home, and there’s no GI Bill or social programs waiting, and the solution for their high unemployment is another war with Iran, it’s not going to be a pretty sight.

      I understand what’s to like about Ron Paul’s foreign policy. If the economy were stronger, I would consider a vote for him, although he would need to be 3rd party and not as a republican. But I haven’t found a job in over a year and before that I was working retail and making under 20,000 with no benefits. I really need to put the economy ahead of my foreign policy wishlist for now. Although I’m not sure I’ll vote for Obama either. I’m probably staying home or voting for a more leftist 3rd party. Maybe voting for FDRs reanimated corpse as a write in. NJ is in the bag for Obama, although they pretend it’s up in the air every election cycle.

      Also, I like having my birth control pills and access to women’s health services. When I got kicked off my parents insurance, I was able to get the Pill for cheap at PP. The Republicans scare me a bit on those issues, even Ron Paul. I’m looking for jobs anywhere at this point, and if I end up in a state that’s not as woman friendly, I’d like to have some women’s health access.

  8. American
    January 25, 2012, 9:18 pm

    I’m for whatever it takes to stop a war with or even an attack on Iran.
    The main problem I see with rallying the public to a anti war protest or stand is numbers and the MSM.
    In the VN era it was the college age who did the most work. Perhaps they can be organized again.

    • Citizen
      January 26, 2012, 8:01 am

      The anti-war kids have been supporting Ron Paul–there is no other candidate that is anti-war. Since Ron Paul won’t be an ultimate contender, the end campaign on both sides will ignore the issue except in the wedge issue appeals to the Zionist/Israel First communities, where both Obama and his ultimate opponent will both kiss Israel and rattle sabers at Iran.

  9. ToivoS
    January 25, 2012, 9:25 pm

    Bruce, all I can really say more power to you. A strange thing happened in 2009 with the antiwar sentiment in this country. It seems that much of that sentiment was simply partisan politics and was a mobilization of Democrats to embarrass Republicans. With Obama in power the antiwar issue disappeared.

    I think if you really want to rebuild the antiwar movement then today you have to reach out to the right. Appeal to the Ron Paul followers and involve those around antiwar.com. I would feel comfortable in working with people like that in a left-right coalition that supports our Bill of Rights, civil liberties and the end of military domination of the globe. I can’t see this as becoming a significant electoral alliance (divisions of social issues and economic equality just runs too deep) but it has the potential to put real pressure on the government to avoid war with Iran.

    I still believe that Obama is sincere in not wanting to go to war against Iran, but his efforts to appease the Israeli lobby has led him into so many compromises that he is creating a situation where circumstances will lead him step by step into a war he doesn’t want.

    • Bruce
      January 25, 2012, 10:17 pm

      @ToivoS

      I asked Phil to change the title of my posting, as like you I do not believe this should be a movement of the left. It has to be a left-right or cross-spectrum alliance of everyone who opposes any war with Iran or any more wars in the Middle East. As far as I am concerned, the people around antiwar.com should be involved. The protests in the UK before the Iraq war involved a quite diverse coalition.

      And it has to be a single issue movement or an issue-by-issue alliance because as you say the divisions on social and economic issues are too deep to organize a stable political alliance.

      I am unable to determine what Obama’s strategy is. Those that know are not talking and Obama’s talk is not encouraging. I call for public protest, since I don’t see how we can rely on Obama to prevent war.

      • jayn0t
        January 25, 2012, 10:46 pm

        “I don’t see how we can rely on Obama to prevent war”. I don’t see how we can rely on the Pope to prevent Catholicism.

      • Bruce
        January 26, 2012, 12:29 am

        @jaynot

        Actually, I believe the Pope is doing quite a good job in keeping down the number of Catholics, even with his anti-contraception campaigns. I wish Obama was as successful in preventing war.

  10. kma
    January 25, 2012, 9:43 pm

    Bruce Wolman must be kidding:

    “Therefore, I strongly recommend that publishers, pundits and bloggers such as Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, Katha Pollitt, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Matt Stoller, Cenk Uygur, folks at this site, and whoever else you want to name, put aside their differences and call a meeting to initiate the organization of a single-focused “No More Middle East War” movement. Sirota can negotiate to bring along the Ron Paul people. If organized and positioned correctly, it should be again able to gain broad public support. Even significant support from our soldiers and their families should be possible. We need an American Spring.”

    Here’s Katha Pollit, wedded forever to Obama:

    link to salon.com

    sorry, I couldn’t find the link on blogginheads.tv but it’s there at the end of the salon post. Katha Pollit is a complete idiot moron.
    Wolman, you must be full of idiotic crap to think that people like this are going to save us from the inevitable. are you nuts? how many people in the streets does it take? do we need to fight our police in the streets with weapons like Cairo? we did what we could in 2002, and you saw the result. now what?
    it is inevitable. if there is any fight to be had in our streets, it will happen after the fact, and believe me, it won’t be Pollit on our side! are you nuts?

    • Bruce
      January 25, 2012, 10:30 pm

      @kma

      I didn’t name those people because I necessarily thought any of them would take up my suggestion. I chose them because they all expressed some agreement with Ron Paul’s foreign policy positions, even though they quite disagreed on whether or not Ron Paul should be supported. If they are opposed to a war with Iran, then in my opinion they should support an anti-war movement. If they want to leave it to Obama’s judgement, then obviously they won’t be part.

      My point is that these people have some public platform – audiences larger than the original initiators of the Egyptian protest movement – and they should use their platforms to help kick-start a mass opposition. If none of these people will do it, then I am willing to try myself, but I am not pretentious enough to believe that I could be more effective than any one of these people.

      If only Phil and Adam use Mondoweiss to start this off, I will be satisfied and will lend my aid.

      • Danaa
        January 26, 2012, 12:38 am

        Bruce, the only way to do anything about the march to bomb Iran is to do something about The Lobby. That’s who has been calling for it, that’s what’s behind it, and that’s why the Jewish people on the left who’d normally be anti-war are coerced into silence.

        This site does shine light on the Lobby (in all its nether reaches) and on the many ways in which it ties up the hands of Jewish activists. It also highlights the significance of Jewish establishment figures and general influence in muzzling the media and hobbling our political system. In that MW does a great service, unequaled anywhere else. You pointed out yourself that if there were an effective anti-war movement it’d draw the attention of that crowd. And they don’t take prisoners.

        The bottom line is simple – israel is hell bent on bombing Iran, snuffing out the life of a few more Hezbollah/Lebanese people out in the process. The Lobby’s job is to make sure America does what Israel wants. The only question is when. Zbig says between now and 3 weeks before the election. I tend to agree.

        Th only way out is for a critical mass of Jewish people to get together with non-Jewish Americans and stand up to the forces of doom, be they israel, The Lobby, organized jewish organization and tsometimes, their own families. To do that there’ll have to be a heck of lot more courage around than we’ve seen thus far. Glen has much of it to spare. But he is just one. And there are too few around like him even if I were to count to 100.

        Organizing is certainly a good idea, whether it’ll be in time to prevent the evil deed or to deal with the consequences after the fact (and there’ll be quite a few negative ones). I would however say that such a movement should be its own organization and its own site, with Mondoweiss adding logistic support as one of several stake-holders.

        Mondoweiss has another important role that takes up much of its bandwidth and accounts for a huge fraction of its supporters. It has been unrelenting in shining light on a process of Israel taking over the West bank (to be followed by expelling large numbers of palestinian inhabitants). The Jewish establishment is in on this and indeed, supports it (notable dissenters notwithstanding). Bombing Iran is just a part of the plan, and it seems like Israel (80% of it, and a large chunck of its leadership) concluded that it’s a critical part. Mondoweiss has been one of the few places where these connections are made, as well they should. It should continue in this laudable effort, but perhaps lend support to a new anti-war movement such as the one you are talking about cobbling together.

      • Bruce
        January 26, 2012, 2:27 pm

        @Danaa

        Let me respond to your assertions:

        1. I agree that doing something about the pro-Israeli lobbies could prevent the bombing of Iran. But organizing a mass protest movement would be doing something, something big. The lobbies are not insensitive to public opinion. That is why they spend so much time manipulating it.

        2. Do you really think there would be no political will to bomb Iran if there was no Israeli lobby? Are the super-nationalists/hawks in the US powerless? Is there no will to control the Middle East on account of its oil? The Israeli lobby is certainly a major driver and it may be the tipping point, but I don’t see the Republican position (or even the Democratic position) on Iran solely driven by the Israeli lobby.

        3. Jewish people who self-identify as being leftists by and large are opposed to bombing Iran. Many are at the forefront of what little anti-war movement there is at the moment.

        4. There are a number of Jewish liberals and moderates that when asked are not in favor of bombing Iran. Look at the polling. In fact, they are more opposed than non-Jewish Americans the last time I read the polls. My experience indicates that they are more willing than ever to disagree with the organized Jewish and Israeli leadership on this issue. I suspect they could be manipulated back into line. But a well organized and carefully positioned anti-war movement would provide an outlet for a significant number of these people to show their support, thereby dividing the community. Even elite figures such as Tom Friedman and Joe Klein have shown a willingness to attack the Israeli government lately.

        5. I have never criticized MW for the issues it covers. Phil and Adam do an amazing job. I have contributed to MW myself, and please point out a single posting of mine that would give pleasure to the pro-Israeli lobbies or get me off the Jewish S.H.I.T List. My criticism has been directed at the MW commenting community. You say it is necessary for a “critical mass of Jewish people to get together with non-Jewish Americans and stand up to the forces of doom, be they Israel, The Lobby, organized jewish organization[s] and sometimes, their own families.” Yet, and don’t take this personal, when I try to convince Jews to do this, you, Keith, MRW, Citizen, American and others would be the last people I would want next to me. Keith discussing “world Jewry” and MRW recommending reading David Irving would not be helpful. Can you not comprehend that? There are many Jews I know who would be receptive to reading postings from Mondoweiss, but I don’t send the links for fear they might read your commenting. (And I am not the only one who says this.) They reading you would be counter-productive. It is the same reason I stopped contributing to the site. And not for a lack of courage. I already have alienated more than enough family members over I/P.

        6. I am glad Zbig is Mika’s dad and therefore gained a platform on MSNBC. His remarks needed to be heard. But, as I indicated in the posting, the most and perhaps only effective force that can stop a military conflict with Iran is the US military, especially the Army. An elite soldier in the Special Forces, just back from his third tour in Afghanistan, recently told me that the Army – from the top Brass to the grunts – are opposed to another war, especially with Iran. They are exhausted and they need to stay home for some years. This was an 180 degree change in attitude from the previous time I talked to him at the start of his tour. Before I concede it is only a question of when the US attacks Iran, I would like to know for sure what is happening behind the scenes with respect to the military. Obama may not listen to us, but he does pay attention to the soldiers. Support our troops may be the best strategy.

        7. You write, “such a movement should be its own organization and its own site, with Mondoweiss adding logistic support as one of several stake-holders.” At the moment, there is no movement and no site. My argument was that Phil and Mondoweiss should take up the challenge if nobody else will. It is more vital than the other important roles MW currently serves. After the movement gets ignited, Mondoweiss can hand off to an independent organization.

      • Citizen
        January 26, 2012, 6:12 pm

        The Adelsons of the USA by virtue of our lobby bribe system of electing and keeping our representatives and POTUS–are the determining factor, not Joe Jew or Dick & Jane Goy. Truman began this state of affairs in 1948, when running against Dewey.

      • Citizen
        January 26, 2012, 6:31 pm

        Bruce.

        I hope you don’t think that I don’t realize American neoliberalism has joined hands with neoconservatism.

        For every $1 the U.S. government spends on the wars in the ME, the owners of the oil companies earn an additional ¢75 in net profit. Such phenomenal cost-benefit ratios can be generated only indirectly. And that is perhaps one of the important features of our new endless wars in the ME: a fairly modest increase in military spending brings about massive changes in prices and distribution – changes that go beyond the immediate arena of the conflict, and whose magnitude can match and even exceed the military budget itself.

        The neo-conservatives sent their army to the Middle East, the price of oil soared, and inflation – although hesitant at first – eventually started to follow. 
        The distributional consequences weren’t lost on investors and workers. While wages remained flat, profits – particularly those earned by dominant capital – surged. As a result, the ratio of profit to wages climbed rapidly – rising 250 % since 2001 as of 2006, and sending the overall share of profit in GDP to its highest level since data began to be collated in 1929. 
        The huge distributional impact of a small increase in inflation is symptomatic of the new order. During the welfare-warfare state, inflation usually involved a wage-price spiral that worked to limit the differential increases in profits. For instance, a 4 % increase in prices typically would be accompanied by a rise in wages – say, of 3 %. A result, the markup ratio of sales to wages would increase by 1 %, generating a relatively modest rise in profits. The situation now is very different.

        Workers in the US are locked in global competition with workers in China, India and other ‘emerging markets,’ which means that wages do not rise –and sometimes even fall – in the midst of price inflation. In this context, a 4 % inflation translates to a 4 % increase in the markup and to a far larger increase in profits. There’s a reason why fat oil cats Bush, Chaney have loved the Zionists, Israel Firsters, PNAC creators.
        All in all, then, the new wars in the ME are definitely cheap in our new world where the big capitalists’ corporate portfolios are stuffed with everywhere, spreading their risk to virtually nothing. For a minimal cost to them, they stir up inflation and generate large increases in profits. But cheap wars have another side to them. They are hard to win. Of course, that’s Dick and Jane’s problem.

      • Danaa
        January 27, 2012, 1:36 am

        Bruce, you say: “… don’t take this personal, when I try to convince Jews to do this, you, Keith, MRW, Citizen, American and others would be the last people I would want next to me. Keith discussing “world Jewry” and MRW recommending reading David Irving would not be helpful. Can you not comprehend that? There are many Jews I know who would be receptive to reading postings from Mondoweiss, but I don’t send the links for fear they might read your commenting”.

        I think this part sums up the problem in a nut-shell. You have now excluded me personally from your movement, as one you wouldn’t want to make common cause with. You go on to exclude several others, each for their own sins of expression. Putting the rest of your post aside for a moment, what you’ve just implied is that you don’t really want any non-Jewish people, and/or strongly non-zionist people like myself along for any ride that challenges the lobby, unless you have vetted them for purity of intent.

        Yet, since you agree that The Lobby has much to do with the march to attack Iran (I hate to call it “war”, just like Iraq was not a “war” but a conquest), even if we disagree how much, someone reading your statement would conclude that this action you are calling for – which involves undermining The Lobby – as you admit – is something for Jewish people and perhaps a smattering of philo-semites to do. The rest of us should keep off the grass. Not pure enough and under too heavy a cloud of suspicion.

        I do see a little problem rounding up the numbers and/or the enthusiasm if anyone from middle America (which MRW, American and citizen often try to give voice to), technocrat America and/or just strong anti-zionists/anti-imperialists (myself or perhaps Keith) are excluded. The anti- or non-=zionist part is especially important, seeing that The Lobby is 80% about zionism and perhaps 1% for Jewish people and those are only a very narrow Jewish elite it is for. This is indeed Israel’s lobby through and through (which is why I consider the tern “Jewish Lobby” a bad misnomer). Whichever party is in power in israel is what The Lobby supports. Right now we know which party it is and have reason to believe it will only slide further to the right.

        I also do disagree with you about the support for bombing Iran. It is 95% directed from Israel, channeled through the neocons that are in league with it, and through The Lobby that enforces Israel-first policies throughout the US government. That Republicans call for bombing and democrats whine about it or are silent in the face of the onslaught, is really a reflection of the deep corruption of our political system, and the subservience of the MSM village – (as Greenwald highlights at least once a week). The essence of the corruption lies in the unchecked power of lobbies that have no counter lobby or movement to oppose it. It is my opinion that The Israel Lobby has achieved such supremacy just by virtue of the absence of effective opposition – ie, it embodies a serious – potentially fatal – fluke of the American system of elections and governance.

        Your reply to me, if not the original post, showcases precisely why progressivism has become so toothless in this country. There is an elephant in the progressive camp and everyone is too busy looking away to mount an effective counter-action. Personally I am sorry to see you so hobbled by suspicions and distrust. Needless to say, I don’t share this particular predilection.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 27, 2012, 2:37 am

        no worries danaa, the word got out a long time ago the anti war movement on campuses all across the country has been replaced by bds and activists for palestine. if bruce doesn’t want to hang with us so be it.

      • Bruce
        January 27, 2012, 4:38 am

        @Danaa

        You were the one that stated, “The only way out is for a critical mass of Jewish people to get together with non-Jewish Americans and stand up to the forces of doom, …”

        I don’t agree with that statement myself, but assuming its true, then somehow a critical mass of Jewish people would have to be convinced to do so. I do not see you as someone that could help convince any mass of Jews to do anything. But go ahead and try. You don’t need my blessing.

        In fact, and this is my judgement and I am allowed to make it, I don’t think you would be able to help convince a large group of people about anything. But again, prove me wrong.

        By your twisted reasoning, you conclude I am arguing that only Jewish people and philo-semites should take on the Israeli Lobby. Never did I imply such. Contrary to your flight of imagination, neither have I implied anything about working with non-Jews. In fact, in previous posts and comments I implored non-Jews to be more active on the I/P issue, and I recommended to Phil that he should worry less about changing the positions of Jews and Jewish organizations and instead concentrate more on working with churches such as the Methodists and the Presbyterians, which have taken relatively progressive stands on I/P. And for the record I work overwhelmingly with non-Jews.

        How did you end up determining that you and your minute gang of mutual admirers on the site make up or even represent the universe of non-Zionists and anti-Zionists? My unwillingness to make common cause with you is not due to you considering yourself anti-Zionist. I have no problem working with non-Zionists or anti-Zionists. But that doesn’t mean I have to work with every non-Zionist or anti-Zionist. That you believe MRW, American and citizen give voice to Middle America and that you and Keith give voice to technocratic America is nothing short of delusional.

        You ought to find another poster child for “toothless progressivism” in America. I spend half my time outside the US and am not confined to that box. But what are your efforts or plans for effective counter-action? Writing comments taking me to task at MW and praising your friends insights here? You spend an awful lot of time on this site. What else do you do? What movement are you working on?

      • tree
        January 27, 2012, 4:41 am

        I think this part sums up the problem in a nut-shell. You have now excluded me personally from your movement, as one you wouldn’t want to make common cause with. You go on to exclude several others, each for their own sins of expression. Putting the rest of your post aside for a moment, what you’ve just implied is that you don’t really want any non-Jewish people, and/or strongly non-zionist people like myself along for any ride that challenges the lobby, unless you have vetted them for purity of intent.

        Yet, since you agree that The Lobby has much to do with the march to attack Iran (I hate to call it “war”, just like Iraq was not a “war” but a conquest), even if we disagree how much, someone reading your statement would conclude that this action you are calling for – which involves undermining The Lobby – as you admit – is something for Jewish people and perhaps a smattering of philo-semites to do. The rest of us should keep off the grass. Not pure enough and under too heavy a cloud of suspicion.

        Makes you wonder why Bruce can’t see that “based on what I do know, I advocate for a massive, public effort, ” is completely contradicted by his need to personally approve of everyone who joins this “massive, public effort” and to reject those who might disagree with him on other issues. I think you’ve hit the problem directly on the head, Danaa.

      • Bruce
        January 27, 2012, 4:53 am

        @Annie

        I’ve expressed my view that preventing a military conflict with Iran should have highest priority for now. If that means not hanging out with you and danaa, so be it.

        But could you clarify who the “us” is?

      • tree
        January 27, 2012, 5:08 am

        I’ve expressed my view that preventing a military conflict with Iran should have highest priority for now. If that means not hanging out with you and danaa, so be it.

        And what if it meant hanging out with people like annie and Danaa? Or even, heaven forfend, other people you might disagree with? I don’t think you are really giving “highest priority” to what you profess you are.

      • Bruce
        January 27, 2012, 5:50 am

        @tree

        I don’t need to personally approve of anyone who joins a massive, public effort. I do not even have to be part. I am just one minor sole.

        I advocated that Phil and other leading bloggers, or Phil alone if necessary, use Mondoweiss and their sites to kick-start a mass movement against further wars in the Middle East. Any organization, which is formed, doesn’t have to pay any attention to what I think.

        What I did say in the comments is that if I was going to try to personally persuade people to support a mass movement I would not work with danaa, MRW, citizen, or American on account of my belief that their advocacy would be counterproductive. But let them prove me wrong. That would be great.

        Is your reading comprehension level so limited?

        When danaa, MRW, American, Citizen or you organize anything remotely similar, I will decide whether to join your effort if I meet your qualifications. Fat chance of that happening.

        If Phil and/or Mondoweiss take up the challenge, it is completely up to them how they want to work with the above mentioned individuals.

        If Annie and danaa are busy with BDS and Activists for Palestine on college campuses and these have replaced anti-war movements, then I won’t be hanging with them. I believe anti-war is more than BDS and Activists for Palestine, but I respect their choices.

      • Shingo
        January 27, 2012, 7:02 am

        I’m sure you mean well Bruce, but you seriosly have no idea what you are talking about.

        But organizing a mass protest movement would be doing something, something big. The lobbies are not insensitive to public opinion. That is why they spend so much time manipulating it.

        There were mass protest movements in teh lead up to the Iraq war and they ignored it completely. When 1 million came out in protest against it in London, Blair simply argued that those who stayed home supported the war.

        Do you really think there would be no political will to bomb Iran if there was no Israeli lobby?

        Seeing as there is little political will to bomb Iran even with the Israeli lobby, I’d have to say yes. Remember that it was the Budh Administration that denied Israel to attack Iran in 2008 and you can’t get more super-nationalists/hawks than Cheney et al.

        Is there no will to control the Middle East on account of its oil?

        Indeed there is, but there is also a widely held belief that if the US couldn’t control Iraq’s oil (a much smaller country with a much weaker military and a much smaller population) then there is no chanc of pulling it off in Iran.

        The Israeli lobby is certainly a major driver and it may be the tipping point, but I don’t see the Republican position (or even the Democratic position) on Iran solely driven by the Israeli lobby.

        Then you’re in denial.

        Jewish people who self-identify as being leftists by and large are opposed to bombing Iran.

        According to what poll?

        There are a number of Jewish liberals and moderates that when asked are not in favor of bombing Iran. Look at the polling.

        What polling are you referring to?

        My experience indicates that they are more willing than ever to disagree with the organized Jewish and Israeli leadership on this issue. I suspect they could be manipulated back into line.

        Why would they need to be manipulated back into line if they already oppose an attack on Iran?

        There are many Jews I know who would be receptive to reading postings from Mondoweiss, but I don’t send the links for fear they might read your commenting. (And I am not the only one who says this.) They reading you would be counter-productive. It is the same reason I stopped contributing to the site. And not for a lack of courage. I already have alienated more than enough family members over I/P.

        Which only goes to prove that there is no such thing as a Liberal Zionist. What you’ve only confirmed Bruce is that contrary to your’s and Slater’s argument (among others), that Jews are the key to solving this problem, when in fact, you’re JEwish circle still reside in a hermetically sealed bubble os self delusion.

        An elite soldier in the Special Forces, just back from his third tour in Afghanistan, recently told me that the Army – from the top Brass to the grunts – are opposed to another war, especially with Iran.

        So they are opposed to it, not becasue it woudl be a morally repugnant idea, but becasue they want some R&R is that it? Wow, that’s reassuring!!

      • Shingo
        January 27, 2012, 7:14 am

        I don’t think you would be able to help convince a large group of people about anything. But again, prove me wrong.

        You’ll have to excuse Danaa Bruce, seeing as Danaa is obviously unaware of your extensive list of achievements in this reagard.

        How did you end up determining that you and your minute gang of mutual admirers on the site make up or even represent the universe of non-Zionists and anti-Zionists?

        Oh I don’t know. How about the fact that:

        1. The US was outvoted 14:1 in the last UNSC resoluton to condemn the settlements?
        2. That the UNGA oted overwhelmingly to admit the PA into UNSCOM?
        3. That according to world opinion, Israel’s reputation and prestige lingers somewhere net to North Korea?

        I have no problem working with non-Zionists or anti-Zionists. But that doesn’t mean I have to work with every non-Zionist or anti-Zionist.

        Working to to do what? What is it you’ve actually achieved, other than to appoint yourself the gate keeper for that it acceptable discourse among your Jewish circle?

        I spend half my time outside the US and am not confined to that box. But what are your efforts or plans for effective counter-action?

        What are yours Bruce? What have you achieved other than being Goldstoned and being cowered into silencing yourself and not posting to this forum?

        The delusional one is you Bruce. I don’t hear Danaa making delusional claims about willingless to work with people.

      • Bruce
        January 27, 2012, 1:33 pm

        @Shingo

        1. Would you please read more closely. I have never argued that “Jews are the key to solving this problem.” That was danaa who wrote that. I was only responding to his assertion, and then replied if true, …. I have already stated that I don’t believe Jews are the key to solving this problem. I sense that Phil also considers Jews to be the key. So if you want to argue this point, take it up with danaa, Phil, and/or Slater, not me.

        2. I already mentioned in posting that mass protests in UK did not stop it from entering the Iraq war. However, protests in Germany and some other countries did help keep them out of the war. As I also wrote, the situation today is different. We have the Iraq war disaster for people to remember and military troops which are not nearly as gung-ho about a new war as they were before Iraq. I am also not predicting success. But what is the alternative?

        3. Bush-Cheney wanted to bomb Iran. Those hawkish currents still exist in the Republican Party. The charge that Democrats are weak on Iran have been standard Republican fodder since Carter. Gingrich, Romney, Bachman, Perry, Caine and Santorum were not just pandering to the Israeli Lobby.

        4. I don’t see how my #5 proves there is no such thing as a Liberal Zionist. I am not a Liberal Zionist, so will let them defend themselves. Once in a response to Witty, I argued that for me there is a contradiction between liberalism and zionism and I am not convinced the two are theoretically compatible, and that Israel certainly is not liberal if one looks at Zionism in practice.

        4. Whether the Jewish circles I know “still reside in a hermetically sealed bubble of self-delusion,” no more than most Americans.

        5. Not sure what you mean by “Why would they need to be manipulated back into line if they already oppose an attack on Iran?” What I meant is that with the use of fear American Jews now opposed to a war with Iran could be manipulated into supporting a war. Just as Americans could be manipulated into military action, as is happening at this moment.

      • Bruce
        January 27, 2012, 1:56 pm

        @Shingo

        I was Goldstoned? Now who is being delusional.

        I stopped posting to this blog and forum because the comments section was dominated by you, MRW, Keith, Citizen, Danaa, American, Chaos, Witty and Hasbara trolls. I considered not the majority, but too many of the comments to be a quite negative reflection on the usually excellent postings. At the time, the comments were unmoderated. Since the commenters kept insisting they were the site and were reflective of the audience, I didn’t want my writings to be associated with that community.

        Besides the site continued quite nicely without me, and Phil broadened the list of contributors with people that had more relevant experiences than mine.

      • Danaa
        January 27, 2012, 2:58 pm

        Bruce, you give me too much credit for ubiquity. If you look at my history (not suggesting you do, heaven forbid) you may notice my rate of comment frequency has been highly modulated. Kind of doubt Shingo will accept a title as “dominant commenting force” either (that does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?).

        I am, of course, delighted to see Shingo added to “my” rag-tag gang. Wouldn’t want it to be another “Gang of Four” (it’s copyrighted!). Will just have to find a properly good title for him – champion knight that he is. As for poor Keith, I’m not sure he would accept the “technocrat” label (my bad, tortuous grammar and all that). Or, for that matter, whether he’d care to wear the gang colors. Maybe annie can help fix the costume design?

        Though now that I see our numbers growing (do we have a minyan yet – perhaps with tree and a few of her admirers?), am thinking of consulting one of the many excellent lawyers around to fashion a decent set of By-Laws. Every gang should have such, otherwise it’s just a mafia.

        Can we have Mooser too, please? assuming he gets over our little difference of opinion over an individual whose first name starts with a “G”. Of course, he is on record as saying he wouldn’t want to be a member of any group that would have him – but we can have really innovative By-laws that would allow for bifurcated membership, surely.

      • American
        January 27, 2012, 3:26 pm

        “Since the commenters kept insisting they were the site and were reflective of the audience”…..Bruce

        Well I can’t let that go unanswered Bruce. None of the people you named have claimed to be “the site” or even representive of the audience of the site. No way any of the above can know exactly what the audience of this site is since many readers may not be and probably aren’t commenters or regular ones anyway.
        I have made clear my pov is strictly my own, and also based occasionally on what other Americans say on issue topics here that I have expressed to me personally and seen elsewhere on the net.
        So if you want a disclaimer, there it is. I imagine everyone you named would say the same thing I have.

        However let me say that are things I see on this site also that offend me and I guess what would be called “my people” in the ethnic divide that appears here sometimes. Like the one below, but I don’t consider it reflective of the site, just of you, or try to tar the site because of your one comment.

        “Bruce January 19, 2012 at 4:47 pm
        Whatever the reason is that Americans died in WW2, it was not to save the Jews of Europe. The American record of the period is not one of which to be proud.”

        Whatever the reason Americans died in WWII?
        I don’t think I need to address that. Everyone can see what it is.
        And don’t try to turn my response to you into any argument. I’ve said all I wanted to say, not interested in further comment.

      • tree
        January 27, 2012, 3:29 pm

        Bruce,

        You are contradicting yourself and can’t see it.

        I advocated that Phil and other leading bloggers, or Phil alone if necessary, use Mondoweiss and their sites to kick-start a mass movement against further wars in the Middle East. Any organization, which is formed, doesn’t have to pay any attention to what I think.

        What I did say in the comments is that if I was going to try to personally persuade people to support a mass movement I would not work with danaa, MRW, citizen, or American on account of my belief that their advocacy would be counterproductive. But let them prove me wrong. That would be great.

        You have chosen MW as a platform to make your appeal for starting a mass movement, and at the same time have urged Phil and Adam to take up the challenge. Wonderful! And yet you have stated before, and chose to reiterate here, in a needlessly personal, “don’t take this personally” kind of way, that you don’t share items of importance on MW with many others because you think they would be turned off by the commenters here. So, by your own logic, MW can not be the ones to kick start it because you won’t share a link to your own appeal here with those you think might be open to it because of where it appears: on Mondoweiss, with the questionable (to you) comment section. And at the same time you have no doubt managed to turn some people off to your message by leaving the impression that they are not clean enough to stand beside you in your “highest priority” and even if you haven’t turned them off to your message, you’ve left doubt as to whether they would be welcomed in such a movement.

        I’m not just talking about those you have singled out, or even just the commenters here. I’d be willing to bet that all of the people you named would be more than thrilled to stand beside you if it meant no war with Iran. Heck, I’d be willing to stand between eee and Alan Dershowitz, arms linked, if I thought they were both willing to stand up for no war. (And, BTW, by that analogy, I did not mean to put you in that company. You are nothing like eee or Dersh.) I’m also talking about others who read but do not comment here, who may agree in some manner or other with those you’ve chosen to disassociate from and will wonder if, or just assume that, they too are not welcome to stand beside you. Despite your thoughts to the contrary, the comment section is not as fringe as you might think, and even if it were, the sting of a possible accusation of “anti-semitism” from fellow anti-war advocates for making an “questionable” comment is enough to frighten many about joining with you. If you want a mass movement, you have to accept that, no matter what your position on anything other than “no war with Iran”, huge numbers of people in that mass movement are going to disagree with you on those other issues.

        You want a mass movement, but, at least in this thread, have been incapable of keeping the personal out of it, and so have pointed out a glaring weakness of your attempt to start such a movement.

        I might suggest that it seems you are better suited to promoting an effort in the Jewish community, among those you seek to shelter from the unclean views in the MW comment section, to convince as many Jews as possible that “helping the Jewish State obliterate its enemies “(Adler’s words) is neither ‘good for the Jews’ nor morally sound. This very well might make a significant difference and might, along with more broad-based efforts, help to prevent such a war. Good luck in your noble endeavor, however you approach it, and I would gladly stand beside you in whatever effort you make towards avoiding a war, although you probably don’t want to stand next to me either.

      • Bruce
        January 27, 2012, 4:49 pm

        @American

        I am not going to spend time replaying all the interchanges from the past. Just one example, Chaos and Taxi told me that I was on the wrong place at this site. That I didn’t belong here. On whose authority were they speaking?

        You are having an attack of the vapors due to my stating that the United States did not fight World War II to save the Jews? What historian claims otherwise?

        Did you fight in that war? My father did, along with three of his brothers, from North Africa to Germany he marched. And he died at the age of 33 from a cancer, which has since been linked to chemicals found in munitions. Unfortunately, all the relevant war records burned in a St. Louis fire and it was impossible to determine if there was an epidemiological connection.

      • Bruce
        January 27, 2012, 5:25 pm

        @Danaa

        When you get up to the size of a minyan, that’s 10, will you then finally have enough for your own site?

        Mooser is Mooser. Nobody tells him what to do or say. I always appreciate his insights, even when he focuses on me.

      • Bruce
        January 27, 2012, 7:25 pm

        @tree

        I did not exactly choose MW as a platform to make my appeal for starting a mass movement. Phil asked me to write up my ideas in a posting after I mentioned them to him. I did so only reluctantly, for one of the reasons you discuss, my views on some of the frequent commenters here.

        In retrospect I should not have conflated the ad hominem on this thread with those on a simultaneous thread, but it is difficult to separate responses when the same individuals are involved and when the discussion on the other thread has been so personal. And I did not initiate the personal attacks on the “New additions to the Mondoweiss comments policy.”

        But I meant it, when I said it was not personal here. And it was not a needless remark. It is my judgement that the commenters I mentioned would on balance be a detriment to establishing a mass movement. They can certainly prove me wrong by initiating one.

        As for your assertion that “MW can not be the ones to kick start it because you won’t share a link to your own appeal here with those you think might be open to it because of where it appears: on Mondoweiss, with the questionable (to you) comment section,” I disagree.

        What I wrote to danaa is “There are many Jews I know who would be receptive to reading postings from Mondoweiss, but I don’t send the links for fear they might read your commenting. (And I am not the only one who says this.)” Moreover, as Donald pointed out, there are many non-Jews who also would be offended by some of the comments at MW. That does not mean I don’t send MW postings to some other people, both Jews and non-Jews.

        I repeat once again that it was danaa, who wrote, ““The only way out is for a critical mass of Jewish people to get together with non-Jewish Americans and stand up to the forces of doom, …” If true, and again I don’t believe it is true, how are you going to motivate a critical mass of Jewish people to stand up with the analyses of MRW and danaa? Please demonstrate.

        I replied to danaa as far back as March, 2010:

        “The set of American Jews on the left which will speak out against Israel and the US-Israeli dysfunctional relationship are already visible. As you allude, they already make up an identifiable proportion of the left which criticizes Israel. From my observations over the last ten years or more, it is unrealistic to expect this group to expand greatly or quickly on its own. Other Jewish American liberals are already more critical of Netanyahu and Israel, but I would question the staying power. It will be all too easy to manipulate events to get them back into thinking there is a pending existential threat and they have to support the tribe.

        My barometer measures when non-Jews, and in particular mainstream Christians, take the lead and get out in front on this issue, challenging the Jewish community. This is where change must come from. I know too many non-Jewish progressives unwilling to get engaged on this issue. Although many of the Christian churches have decent positions on I-P, internal conflict makes them reticent to go all out as they did in the Civil Rights movement.”

        I stick with that view, but I now think there is a wider community to join an anti-war movement than two years ago.

        My message was directed at Phil and Adam and the other bloggers, not at your now offended readers and commenters. I seriously doubt that Phil and Adam’s willingness to take up the challenge is dependent upon whether I have “managed to turn some people off to the “message by leaving the impression that they are not clean enough to stand beside.” And if Phil and Adam or the others take up the challenge, it will be up to them to decide how welcomed these people would be in such a movement and then these people will have to decide whether they want to join with Phil and Adam and the other bloggers. You have to be kidding to state that anyone’s willingness to participate is dependent on me. I am only going to do what I am asked.

        I did not assert that the comments section is fringe, but I do claim that the individuals I named are fringe.

        I do accept that in a mass movement participants are going to disagree on other issues. I’ve participated in mass movements before. But any mass movement has to determine its rules of discussion, and to what extent “anti-semitic” or perceived “anti-semitic” comment will be allowed will most likely have to be an issue to be resolved, regardless of what I think.

        And for your purposeful choice of words, “not clean enough” or “unclean views,” these are not expressions I used or would use. Is that the same as “not kosher enough” or “not-kosher views”? Or akin to “not hallal enough” or “not hallal views”? I have no idea what your or the above mentioned people’s cleanliness habits are, whether you are clean or dirty. Nor am I interested. I am discussing pernicious fringe views and statements, and I am willing to engage on that basis, but if you have to alter my words to make your point, then no we don’t need to discuss further.

      • Citizen
        January 28, 2012, 9:33 am

        fringe (frnj)
        n.
        1. A decorative border or edging of hanging threads, cords, or strips, often attached to a separate band.
        2. Something that resembles such a border or edging.
        3. A marginal, peripheral, or secondary part: “They like to hang out on the geographical fringes, the seedy outposts” (James Atlas).
        4. Those members of a group or political party holding extreme views: the lunatic fringe.
        5. Any of the light or dark bands produced by the diffraction or interference of light.
        6. A fringe benefit.

      • Citizen
        January 28, 2012, 9:35 am

        dirt·y (dûrt)
        adj. dirt·i·er, dirt·i·est
        1.
        a. Soiled, as with dirt; unclean.
        b. Spreading dirt; polluting: The air near the foundry was always dirty.
        c. Apt to soil with dirt or grime: a dirty job at the garage.
        d. Contaminated with bacteria or other infectious microorganisms.
        2. Squalid or filthy; run-down: dirty slums.
        3.
        a. Obscene or indecent: dirty movies; a dirty joke.
        b. Malicious or scandalous: a dirty lie.
        4.
        a. Unethical or corrupt; sordid: dirty politics.
        b. Not sportsmanlike: dirty players; a dirty fighter.
        c. Acquired by illicit or improper means: dirty money.
        d. Slang Possessing or using illegal drugs.
        5.
        a. Unpleasant or distasteful; thankless: Laying off workers is the dirty part of this job.
        b. Extremely unfortunate or regrettable: a dirty shame.
        6. Expressing disapproval or hostility: gave us a dirty look.
        7. Not bright and clear in color; somewhat dull or drab. Often used in combination: dirty-blonde hair; dirty-green walls.
        8. Producing a very great amount of long-lived radioactive fallout. Used of nuclear weapons.
        9. Stormy; rough: dirty weather.

      • Citizen
        January 29, 2012, 9:22 am

        Bruce, since you have charged some of us commenters on MW with being “counterproductive” in the broader anti-war movement you have urged (especially concerning war on Iran), including me, will you give MW readers a few concrete samples of the type of comments you were thinking of when you made your charge? Otherwise, it’s pretty hard to see what you are talking about, which benefits neither the commenters you name, nor anybody reading this thread. Thanks in advance.

      • Bruce
        January 29, 2012, 7:31 pm

        @Citizen

        You must be kidding. I notice that there are almost 16000 comments from you that span over 159 comment profile pages. I was trying to search for a particular exchange and hit upon just one page. A selection:

        The Jewish Establishment has not changed since the days of Jesus and Saul. And the Jews have accordingly reaped both the rewards and penalties. They’re up, they’re down. Like the stock market. Einstein was a Jewish Ron Paul.” – 31 jul 2009

        Every goy learns early on that you cannot “pick on the jews.” Otherwise you’re responsible for feeding the next Shoah. You cannot even take a less comedic tact and look at history, e.g.. the activity of the 1% Jews in Weimar Germany. IN short, nothing can interfere with the narrative of anti-semitic insanity. Case closed. – 1 aug 2009

        Natural growth is like circumcision. It’s not natural at all.
        – 2 aug 2009

        As every Jew knows, Jews have a tradition of using comixs to further their aims: …. – 2 aug 2009

        Looks like the Jews learned well from Goebbels and Hitler, the repeated Big Lie, thanking Fortune that citizens think so little and are always easily manipulated by talk of Terror. – 3 aug 2009

        What’s worse, a Nazi rag such as Julius Streicher’s, or the NYRB? In terms of subscribers, neither ever had much. When you think of it in terms of a tradition of Free Speech in the homeland, the NYRB comes off really bad, more irresponsible in fact. – 3 aug 2009

        All that in the space of 4 days. I forgot how outrageous you could be. No thanks for reminding me.

        So let’s take your friend Keith. After libeling me in the posting on the “New additions to the Mondoweiss comments policy” about a discussion two years ago, I repeated one of Keith’s conclusions to which I most objected. We all evolve, we all write stupid ideas, and we all have made remarks that aren’t clear. But nobody has defended that remark and Keith has not retracted it, nor has he explained if he thinks differently today or that it doesn’t mean what it appears to mean. What Keith wrote would be considered highly bigoted by an overwhelming number of Americans, and hence would discredit him except with those whom hold such bigotry. And that was just one quote from a much longer nasty essay.

        That’s it. Give it a rest.

        Maybe you can get danaa to do some psychological profiling of you all and explain where all this is coming from.

      • Newclench
        January 29, 2012, 9:31 pm

        A majority of ISRAELI Jews oppose war with Iran:
        link to liamgetreu.com

  11. jayn0t
    January 25, 2012, 10:21 pm

    The anti-war left disappeared with the election of Obama. This shows leftism is bankrupt. But Bruce generously volunteers this non-movement might “work together with elements of the right”. The American left isn’t ‘anti-war’, it’s anti- saying nasty things about people’s ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation while bombing them.

    • Duscany
      January 25, 2012, 11:03 pm

      The American left isn’t ‘anti-war’, it’s anti- saying nasty things about people’s ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation while bombing them.

      Boy, that’s the truth.

    • ToivoS
      January 26, 2012, 12:21 am

      Jaynot I must disagree completely. I am part of the antiwar left. I was involved in that movement beginning in 1965. We opposed the war in Vietnam. We helped destroy Johnson’s presidency. Many of us were democrats but we placed the wrongness of the Vietnam war above our partisan preferences.

      The problem with the antiwar movement against the war in Iraq is that many of the major players in the movement turned out to be Democratic Party opertives — i.e. Moveon people were major players.

      There is a left in this country, what needs to happen is that they disassociate themselves from the establishment Democratic Party. Many supported Nader in 2000 and felt guilty that their support resulted in the election shrub bush. That guilt has made it hard for them to oppose Obama’s continuation of war.

    • Bruce
      January 26, 2012, 12:26 am

      @jaynot

      I am not generously volunteering this “non-movement.” I am trying to find out what you have already concluded, “whether there is an anti-war left, or right for that matter, which will get off the blogs and become a movement.” You may be correct that leftism is bankrupt. It certainly is sedated for the moment.

    • RoHa
      January 26, 2012, 12:53 am

      “The American left …”

      Ain’t no such animal.

    • lareineblanche
      January 26, 2012, 3:46 am

      The anti-war left disappeared with the election of Obama. This shows leftism is bankrupt.

      There’s some truth to this, but in general it’s a pretty shallow observation, it depends on how you define “leftism”, especially in the US. Remember that war has almost always been a bi-partisan preference, with only minor details to differentiate the two major parties (the two-headed war/business party), and that Democratic presidents have begun or sustained more wars that Republican ones. The real question is : To what extent does the Democratic party really represent any kind of “progressive left”? You’ll find that it has about as much claim to the label as the Republicans have to the label “conservative” – that is, not much.

      There always has been an anti war left, but it has been tainted with partisan tribal politics, and now that there is a Democratic president, we see how much of that anti war sentiment was feigned and how much was genuine – both sides are equally guilty of this (you saw very little rejection of the Iraq monstrosity from US “conservatives”). The paradox is that in order to be able to change power in Washington, you have to be able to influence it – and in order to do that, you have to somewhat acquiesce to it to have some access to it, in which case you aren’t really going to question power because you’re an integral part of it. The only answer is popular uprising and discontent, I think.

      • jayn0t
        January 26, 2012, 10:46 am

        There’s not an anti-war left nor an anti-war right. You might have left wing views on many things, and be anti-war, but there is no necessary connection between them. Saying you are in the anti-war left is as trivial as saying you belong to New York Yankees fans against war.

        Left-wing movements have initiated wars as much as right-wing ones. The German Social Democrats, the US Democrats… The BUF opposed war more consistently than the communists. Ron Paul’s supporters are more anti-war than any Democrats. They are not ‘the anti-war right’. They have libertarian views on economics. What matters is that they are anti-war.

      • lareineblanche
        January 26, 2012, 3:04 pm

        Well, if you accept the fact that there is a “left” and a “right”, then by definition there is an “antiwar left” and an “antiwar right”, but yes, I understand your point. My quibble is with associating the Democrats with any sort of real “left”, and Republicans as “conservatives”, which is pretty thin gruel. It’s just not what they are. Progressives have generally been more active on human and civil rights (war being basically the total abdication of any humanity), whereas conservatives tend to object to centralized, federal power and prodigious government spending (as we all know the phrase “War is the health of the state”). In all, it doesn’t matter as long as the result is that people stop being killed.

        “Ron Paul’s supporters are more anti-war than any Democrats.”
        That’s the way it seems, but I’m not so sure. I think it’s better not to get duped about this. I suspect that there would be far less antiwar criticisms from conservatives if G.W. Bush were still in office. Part of my point was that many people are not inherently anti-war or pro-war as much as they identify with their various tribes (Rep, Dem, Lib, Anar, etc), and the fact that a Democratic administration is in power right now makes them de facto pro-war because they are willing to accept much more havoc being wreaked by their guy (because, after all, he’s a good guy and must have very good reasons for doing it, etc.). That is, I think the tribal affiliation often takes precedence over any principled objection to war (which, I think, is part of your point too). True libertarians and anarchists are a different story, though.

        The central point is that power is inherently going to be more pro-war. I do remain astonished at how many people are disappointed by Obama, as if they really expected something from him.

      • lysias
        January 26, 2012, 7:31 pm

        First reference to Mosley’s British Union of Fascists that I remember seeing in a long, long time. And first time I ever remember it being referred to by the initials “BUF”.

  12. Duscany
    January 25, 2012, 11:01 pm

    Israel has the US over a barrel. If it attacks Iran, Iran will in turn attack US forces in the neighborhood, forcing the US to go to war on Israel’s side. Israel knows this, which makes an Israeli attack all the more likely. The truly depressing part is there is nothing anyone in the US, including our president, can do anything to stop.

    • Bruce
      January 26, 2012, 12:37 am

      @Duscany

      A few posts back I was berated for not presenting any ideas of how to prevent an upcoming war and the resulting suffering. This was the best I could come up with or commit to.

      If you are certain that you are correct that there is nothing anyone in the US can do, may I go back to spending my remaining days on this Earth arguing with the commenters here about the collaboration between the Nazis and the Zionists during the Thirties?

    • RoHa
      January 26, 2012, 12:52 am

      “Israel has the US over a barrel. If it attacks Iran, Iran will in turn attack US forces in the neighborhood,’

      Israel could just attack the US forces and pretend it is an Iranian attack. Get a torpedo, write “made in Iran” on it in crayon, and sink a US ship. And off we go again.

      • Citizen
        January 26, 2012, 7:47 am

        I agree with that an Israeli attack on Iran will assume Iran will react by attacking US forces in the neighborhood. At the time Israel attacks it will have a flickering green light to attack Iran sometime this year while the campaign for next POTUS has the main candidates fighting over who supports Israel more. Israel will give Obama a few hours notice in advance.

        Here’s an article asking the question, Will Israel Attack Iran?
        link to nytimes.com

        Note, although the article does not mention what I said here, the conclusion is also Israel will attack Iran in 2012.

      • Citizen
        January 26, 2012, 7:56 am

        In other words, Israel knows it cannot successfully bomb Iran by itself (no aircraft carrier, bombers must be refueled in the air at least once, more if attacked, and must fly over US-controlled air space, etc); it must involve the US, and it will gamble on hitting Iran, aware Iran has already stated it will assume the US green-lit & of course, all know the US enables Israel to the max. This is the other side of the coin that assumes when Iran reacts, so will Hamas, Hezbullah, and maybe Syria.

      • Theo
        January 26, 2012, 8:53 am

        “Israel sink an US ship…

        That was the reason for two wars we fought.
        An attack on SS. Maine in Havanna started the spanish-american war, the Tomkin Bay attack was used to start bombing N. Vietnam.
        Both were a lie, as such attacks never happened.

      • Citizen
        January 26, 2012, 11:13 am

        Yes, Theo, and the irony is that the USS Liberty was attacked by a foreign country without a doubt–and that country has been rewarded for it ever since.

    • Bruce
      January 26, 2012, 2:01 am

      @Duscany

      After reading about the upcoming Ronen Bergman article in the NY Times Magazine, I am closer to your despair.

    • Theo
      January 26, 2012, 8:58 am

      Sure we can prevent such attack, if our president had balls.
      I would tell Israel if they ever attempt to bomb Iran we will shoot down their planes.
      Easy enough, as we have air power and missiles all around Israel.
      It is a petty that our president is a gutless marionette.

  13. lareineblanche
    January 26, 2012, 3:11 am

    This has been brewing for years, and some put out warning signals as early as last year. It’s good that people are finally coming to the realization that overt war with Iran (as opposed to the covert one, which has been taking place since the Bush administration) is a very distinct and real possibility.

    Americans have a short attention span, and if you think Washington elites won’t try to get away with it, you’re underestimating them.

  14. seafoid
    January 26, 2012, 3:22 am

    Any antiwar movement has to use numbers and focus on military ineptitude. In Afghanistan the US spent $120 bn last year or $4000 per Afghan . And achieved nothing. The Taliban will take over in 2014 and the US can’t do anything to change that. Over the last 10 years the US has spent $2tn or $6,000 per Iraqi per year in Iraq. all of this money was borrowed. The budget deficit is a result of the wars. Schools and health spending in the US are being cut and the money is spent instead on debt repayment and $4000 per Afghan. The US economy can’t recover until the wars are ended.

    One in 20 fuel missions in Afghanistan results in a military casualty. The neocons and Ziobots have no understanding of the cultural issues that would have ended the wars long ago.

    Another them to hammer home is the cost to US veterans.

    • lareineblanche
      January 26, 2012, 5:31 am

      Sadly, you’re partly right ; many Americans will not react to policy unless it directly affects their pocketbooks, so these arguments need to be driven home. The fact that Afghan and Iraqi societies have been partly destroyed over the last two decades is a matter of little importance to them, unfortunately.

      There is a problem with this logic, though, and that is that it presupposes that these military interventions would somehow be acceptable IF there were a way to make them financially “sound” for Westerners. It is possible to wage war more covertly and at a lower cost and troop footprint by driving foreign policy underground and using proxy forces, as in the Reagan years in Central America – that is what we’re seeing more and more with Obama, partly because of public dissatisfaction with the wars. It doesn’t make it any more acceptable. That is, a cost/benefit analysis is faulty and wrong-headed if it only takes into account the interests of the aggressors.

  15. quercus
    January 26, 2012, 8:14 am

    As a member of a Quaker meeting I have seen first hand how completely spineless and without any real ‘moral’ compass those who consider themselves on the left have become. The feminists among them are convinced that it is acceptable to murder people in countries because the women don’t have the same rights as women here. They believe that mandating the freedom of abortion is more important than the lives of the already born in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, and any number of other places that have borne the brunt of American drone attacks.

    They read the New York Times and they feel informed, intelligent, and enlightened. They worry more about what private schools they will send their children and think themselves thoughtful and concerned by writing letters to what they call prisoners of conscience in predictably Muslim countries, while men languish in Guantanamo –fathers, sons, husbands of people who probably have no idea what has happened and whether their family members are alive or dead.

    They think they are involved and active citizens because they meet with the Congressional representatives to express ‘concern’ about the actions of the government, while their representatives, in the soothing and inoffensive words, of the car salesman tells them he/she “can feel their pain”.

    They with the “not-in-my-backyard” mentality who protest in front of the White House about some stupid pipeline, but haven’t considered that the oil will be coming out of the ground pipeline or no.

    “Liberalism” is dead and most liberals “brain-dead”, thoroughly and completely propagandized, and so sure everything they believe is true and so completely resistant to new ideas. Will their children be better? One can only hope so, as they completely lost and essentially irrelevant. A pox on their liberalism.

    And now, just as I finish this, I hear about a navy seal raid in Somalia! Somalia … a dirt poor country playing host to a navy seal raid. What will most of liberals among us say — not a goddamn thing.

    And yes, I will be voting for Ron Paul.

    They read the New York Times and feel smug that they are well-informed

    • American
      January 27, 2012, 6:39 pm

      quercus says:
      January 26, 2012 at 8:14 am”

      That’s a pretty good description of the state of liberalism.

    • MRW
      January 30, 2012, 6:59 am

      Good comment, quercus, especially this: “The feminists among them are convinced that it is acceptable to murder people in countries because the women don’t have the same rights as women here. They believe that mandating the freedom of abortion is more important than the lives of the already born in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, and any number of other places that have borne the brunt of American drone attacks.”

  16. justice
    January 26, 2012, 8:46 am

    “More importantly, to what extent are Paul voters motivated by his positions on international issues and civil liberties? The readily available polling date on this question is not extensive, but based on what I have found, even the most optimistic interpretation of the data would indicate only a small minority of Paul voters are primarily driven to vote for him based on these issues.”

    That is the story the MSM is pushing, but I can tell you from personal experience, as a long time supporter of Ron Paul’s, and interacting with his other supporters extensively over the past five years, EVERY single person I work with in this group supports his foreign policy and anti-war positions, most of us fervently. I’m sure there are a small group that don’t, but I have not personally run into a single one.

    The media loves to try and sell that idea to the American public- that his foreign policy positions are poison to most Republicans- simply because they’re poison to the media. They figure if they say it over and over again, people will believe them- and it works.

    I disagree that Dems are traditionally the antiwar party- I would say that Dems were responsible for getting us into more wars in the past 100 years than the Republicans, though I don’t support their record either. And a Dem was the only person to drop atomic bombs in the history of the world, so let’s get a little more real about Democrats=good and Republicans=not good. Though I dislike the Republican Party, they were far less warmongers till the Neocons- former Democrats- took over the party in the late 1970s. Why don’t we dispense with Dem/Repub, left/right paradigms that are only obstructions that get in the way of progress toward a unified antiwar message? I believe Ron Paul is the logical vehicle, but people seem to make excuses for why they cannot support his strong antiwar message, allowing far less pressing issues to justify their continued support for the Democratic war machine.

  17. brenda
    January 26, 2012, 9:24 am

    I’m happy to see your post, Bruce. I did google searches from time to time over the course of the last several months to see what the anti-war movement organizers had lined up for us, and… nada. Nothing. Not even the outlier A.N.S.W.E.R. — the gentlemanly quakerish democratic party left felt uncomfortable marching under their banner even though they were superb at hosting big crowds in the streets, but today, for this war, nothing.

    So finally I realized, it’s not gonna’ happen. Not like it always did before, those big blowout street marches. What I’m doing for my antiwar effort these days is contributing to newspaper commentary threads, and reading what other commenters have to say. It’s like carrying a virtual sign in a virtual street march, at least that’s what I tell myself. It’s better than nothing, and anyway, those big blowout antiwar street marches and local vigils in 2003 — they didn’t stop the war did they?

    There is a lot, really a lot of antiwar feeling out there. That’s what I’m picking up from reading the commentaries in the mainstream press. Also, a difference from the earlier wars — you touched on this strongly yourself — it’s not just the left. It’s the military, especially the high command. For this war, the military leaders are against it, and I’m thinking this goes down the line to the common soldiers, this influences military culture. I’m thinking this is why Ron Paul got so much support from the military in fundraising and speaking out for his campaign, it probably comes from the top.

    You brought up one of my all-time favorite political fantasies in your post — a rapprochment of the antiwar left and the antiwar right. It would be a powerfully resonant movement. Actually, the whole American political system could be rejuvenated by a 3rd party run from such a movement. Let the demorepublicans coalesce, finally, into their own party. Let them try to stand against a populist party with antiwar as one plank of its platform. Ralph Nader and Ron Paul have more in common than they have in difference. There’s a wonderful YouTube with the two of them being interviewed by a television journalist, and it seemed like the big difference was universal health care.

  18. yourstruly
    January 26, 2012, 12:19 pm

    how to get an antiwar movement going? no problem, same way as those eighteen magical days in tahrir got started; first, there’s a burst of twitter tweets & facebook calls to action which multiply & expand until, presto, there’s all this energy out in the streets. happened in tahrir square, in the european anti-austerity & our own occupy movements. and, yes, seems the initiaters mostly are computer savvy and young. of course the timing has to be just right, but if it ain’t right now, what with an iran war imminent (with wwiii to follow), aren’t we doomed? enough of this lamenting! hey, computer savvy young america, the ball’s in your court now.

    • Bruce
      January 26, 2012, 12:27 pm

      @yourstruly

      Sounds all good to me.

      Any of young America on this site?

  19. kalithea
    January 26, 2012, 1:22 pm

    The left is not just bankrupt; it’s become MORALLY bankrupt and LETHARGIC. What Obama has done and I’ll never forgive him for this, is not only to betray liberal values, but create a new centrist cult around him that leans to the right on everything foreign policy-related except on social/domestic issues.

    Obama has hijacked the liberal ethic and replaced it with a warped version he defined as WAR=PEACE. His cult now support drone attacks into Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia killing women and children while concealing the statistics; they tacitly supported him on the Afghanistan escalation; they make excuses for military trials, rendition, indefinite detention without charges or legal representation, the Patriot Act, Fisa and the continuation of Gitmo and Bagram. When you confront them on the Iran issue; they either run away, change the subject or attack you personally for daring to lose faith in Obama over his aggressive, hostile policies.

    I won’t even embark on Obama’s position on the Palestinian situation. Obama has given more military aid and funding to Israel than any other President, and under his Presidency Israel’s oppression of Palestinians who are resorting to peaceful means has gotten much more severe and Obama is SILENT, deaf, dumb and mute on the PALESTINIAN SPRING! Only the poor, oppressed Syrians matter to him when just today a large majority of Syrians showed overwhelming support for Assad in different cities in Syria. But he insists on creating civil war there while stomping on Palestinian rights and their peaceful protests by declaring unconditional love for Zionism.

    What I resent about this article even though it’s well-intentioned is the fact that Ron Paul is dismissed after paragraph 4 even if there are 7 more paragraphs pretending there is a solution to this problem. The fact is that Obama has killed the solution by becoming the hi-priest of the once anti-war Left polluting their brain with Neocon propaganda. Obama supporters are in fact A CULT-following hanging on every crescendo in his speeches willing to sacrifice everything they once cherished for this slick, sweet-talking, FRAUD liberal.

    When are we going to stop with the “let’s talk about ANYTHING EXCEPT Ron Paul” delusional strategy?

    When are you all going to realize that a disastrous war which will also eclipse the Palestinian cause is imminent and the Left is still drunk on Obama’s kool-aid and there is no hope in that direction? Those of use who managed to escape the CULT with our conscience intact are embracing the benefits of a Ron Paul nomination because we are desperate to sink the Neocon agenda once and for all and we see clearly the dangers ahead! Anti-war Independents have become the only sane, realistic group in America.

    I say, you’re dreaming if you think a movement will rise up in time to stop this march to war when the best investment you can make is to support Ron Paul and get as many people to tell as many people to do the same. A movement should be created behind Ron Paul, because there is NO CHALLENGE TO OBAMA BUT RON PAUL.

    Don’t expect lazy, complacent liberals who have found the messiah in Obama to do much of anything. And all those who say they’ll hold their nose and vote for him anyway, while trying to stifle the Ron Paul movement…disgust me most, because they’re basically surrendering Palestinian rights and the lives of so many more people to Zionist and Neocon oppression and war.

    • mhuizenga
      January 26, 2012, 2:44 pm

      I’m not as adamant about this as you are, but I agree that not enough people have given Paul a chance. I campaign for him, and 80 to 90% of the supporters are under 30. They are eager to escape the old left/right paradigm. There is a sort of cult of personality around him. (It’s a bit scary actually). His son doesn’t have it. This is why I’m worried this movement might not go any farther if he doesn’t get some kind of win this time (even some input at the convention would be better than nothing). He won’t be around in 4 years, and I’d hate to see the antiwar, anti crony capitalism, anti big government power moment disappear for good. I just don’t know who else could carry this torch. The guy really is not afraid of anything. The “Now” of the article title is absolutely right.

  20. brenda
    January 26, 2012, 2:19 pm

    right on, Kalithea

    • yourstruly
      January 26, 2012, 8:10 pm

      there isn’t time for the emergence of an antiwar movement? well, once tunisians were mobilized by their computer savvy young compatriots, how long did it take them to get rid of president ben ali? likewise when the people of the nile were mobilized by computer savvy young egyptians, how many days before president hosni mubarak was toppled? over in europe, same thing applies to the enormous anti-austerity movement that, while it’s yet to turn things around there, sure as hell keeps trying? it’s not as if a grass-roots left populist movement hasn’t just emerged here in america. no, it’s not antiwar yet, but it is anti-bankster/corporate greed, which sure seems to me to be a reasonable startup recipe for change, except, of course for its lacking the one proven ingredient (namely, an antiwar commitment) that can transform it from a promising movement into a mass uprising. as for ron paul’s campaign, it looks to me like he isn’t going to win the republican nomination and that the most he can expect from whoever wins is a nod or two in favor of his opposition to the fed & agreement with his shrink the government stance, but, on foreign policy, zero, nada, nothing. stupid public? contrariwise, could be a sign of maturity, at least for the moment, an indication, perhaps, that the public isn’t looking for another man on a white horse to bail it out. once again, the mass movement could be the answer, with a revved-up occupy america, perhaps, the way to go? hey, antiwar activists, time to turn the occupy movement into ab engine of change.

    • kalithea
      January 26, 2012, 10:27 pm

      Thank U!

  21. kalithea
    January 26, 2012, 10:23 pm

    I must digress: Will someone please try to get a video clip of the American Palestinian asking a question at yesterdays Republican debate in Florida on Palestinian statehood, rights, and Newts “invented people”!

    Romney and the “Gingrinch” were unbelievably RUDE to this Republican American in their response. They never bothered to answer the question and did nothing but profess their undying love and support for Israel totally ignoring the Palestinian people and injecting the issue of Hamas and rockets when Hamas have abandoned rockets for other types of resistance.

    That nitwit Zionist Blitzer ended the responses with those two goons skipping right over Ron Paul who was on the ball all night and moved on to another question.

    Ron Paul needs to go to the very end so that these debate moderators are forced to put all questions to him and whomever his challenger is!

    Please put up the clip tomorrow. And for God’s sakes support Ron Paul!

  22. brenda
    January 27, 2012, 7:47 am

    yes.

    you can support Ron Paul as part of your antiwar effort. Of course he’s not going to win the Republican nomination. The reason you send him money is to keep him talking the way he does about American foreign policy (aka war policy).

    My husband and I have responded four times to the Ron Paul campaign “money bombs” — amazing that we would send money to a Republican candidate, but these are very strange times we are living through. The antiwar candidate is from the right this time. You do what you can.

  23. Kathleen
    January 27, 2012, 3:58 pm

    Feb 4 gatherings across the nation. No war on Iran National action day. Google.

    But like so many of us know hundreds of thousands of us millions nation wide, and 30 million world wide protested and protested, lobbied, petitioned etc etc before the invasion. You see how much effect we had. The MSM ignored us. Thousands are dead, and the majority of Americans do not give a rats ass. But does not mean people should not keep trying trying. Hoping folks in DC protest in front of the Israeli embassy. Israel doing damage to Israel

    • American
      January 27, 2012, 6:54 pm

      The biggest handicap to anti war movements or any other kind of movement is the vast “silent majority” of most Americans have gotten use to the idea their opinions don’t have the slightest effect on leaders and politicians decisions.

      And the fact is it’s 99.9 % true.

  24. brenda
    January 28, 2012, 2:32 am

    link to answercoalition.org

    scroll down for list of scheduled events in US cities

  25. brenda
    January 28, 2012, 6:46 pm

    American:

    It’s a handicap only if you are attached to having a particular outcome. Some things are worth doing in and of themselves. Yes, it would be nice to think antiwar street marches could actually stop the war. But even if it can’t, it’s still worth doing. In some sense, it would be disrespectful not to march, not to mark it, seeing as how there will be so much death, maiming, hunger, poverty and destruction of the earth as well as the ancient cities.

    One way to think of the antiwar marchers is like this: they are the concience of our nation. They save the beloved country from utter degradation. There is still hope the beloved country will recover. This is something we do for ourselves and for our country. This will be an A.N.S.W.E.R. march, so the police and the FBI will be out in full force. A.N.S.W.E.R. has been accused of being a “Stalinist front organization” (I kid you not) but in fact we will be the true patriots on that day.

    A.N.S.W.E.R. has also been accused by all of the usual suspects of being anti-semitic, having had the audacity to organize Palestinian Americans to come out in force for the big 2003 march in DC as well as in other actions. A.N.S.W.E.R.’s response to critics could have been lifted directly from the pages of MondoWeiss:

    “The Anti-Defamation League has accused ANSWER of supporting terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah and Hamas.[16] According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency “Several anti-war protests in San Francisco organized by the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) featured imagery and slogans some considered anti-Semitic, including the burning of the Israeli flag, chants of support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Nazi-like arm salutes.”[17] Similarly, the Stephen Roth Institute has noted “Anti-Israel and antisemitic content has marked some ANSWER events.”[18]

    According to ANSWER, “We strongly abhor all forms of racism and bigotry, including anti-Semitism. At the same time, we don’t believe that criticism of Israeli government policies should be labeled as anti-Semitism any more than criticism of U.S. government policy should be labeled as anti-American.”[19]

    (quotation lifted from Wikipedia)

    • Citizen
      January 29, 2012, 2:42 am

      Stephen Roth Institute’s generalization about A.N.S.W.E.R:

      “Like western Europe, in the US, too, some anti-war groups incorporated extreme anti-Israel and sometimes antisemitic expressions in their protests against the impending campaign against Iraq. The ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) coalition, created by the New York-based International Action Center to protest the bombing of Afghanistan, has organized many anti-war protests around the country since September 2001. Anti-Israel and antisemitic content has marked some ANSWER events, which have been endorsed by such groups as the international Al-Awda – Right of Return Coalition and the Illinois-based Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP).
      ANSWER has become one of the most effective organizers of anti-war rallies, playing a key role in bringing Arab and Muslim groups into the anti-war and anti-racism movements, which has led to extreme invective against Israel during protests. The largest and most disturbing ANSWER event was held on 20 April 2002, in Washington DC. Called the “National March for Palestine against War and Racism,” the rally was attended by approximately 200,000 people, including thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The rally served as a forum for supporting violence and terror organizations, and for a proliferation of antisemitic expressions. Slogans and images included: “End the Holocaust” (with a picture of Sharon), an Israeli flag with a swastika replacing the Star of David, a US flag with a Star of David replacing the 50 stars and the message, “Free America,” “Bush and Sharon, Tag-team Terrorists,” and “First Jesus Now Arafat, Stop the Killers.” The ANSWER coalition advanced the date of its rally to April 20 to coincide with anti-globalization demonstrations, which were organized to protest the IMF and the World Bank.”http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/asw2002-3/general.htm

      I don’t remember even seeing any anti-war protests on American TV News (where most Americans get their non-local news) in the months before Bush Jr attacked Iraq. Seems when some Jewish American war protesters flocked to ANSWER’s (untelevised?) call to protest what is now known as a fraudulently-induced war on Iraq, and to protest anything more than a short SWAT team-style search & destroy mission against Bin Laden & Boys, they had a knee-jerk reaction equating criticism of the state of Israel’s activities with the innate Jew hatred they learned about at home and in schul and Jewish summer camp.

      And now we have the set up for war on Iran going on, collecting red flags–with the likely window left to attack being a source of dispute and tension between Obama and Bibi–with the private pipe between them being the sweet ziocain-smoking Dennis Ross.

      • Citizen
        January 29, 2012, 2:53 am

        In less than a week, on Feb 4th, let’s all see how little our mainstream media covers ANSWER’s protest against the impending war on Iran.

        Sat., Feb. 4 Day of Action: No Sanctions, No War Against #Iran #nowaroniran #feb4 link to answercoalition.org

    • Bruce
      January 29, 2012, 9:50 am

      If ANSWER is the only organization willing to arrange an anti-war rally, so be it. We need to show our opposition in some visible manner and Feb 4th is the day.

      Hopefully, more broad-based coalitions will emerge, as happened during the Vietnam War.

    • American
      January 29, 2012, 5:47 pm

      American:
      “It’s a handicap only if you are attached to having a particular outcome.”…Brenda

      Yep, that is my handicap actually. But it is part of my mentality or whatever to seek a certain outcome in whatever I do about a problem. Don’t mean I won’t try certain things or protest are worthless. I just go for what would it really take to produce the results I want?
      To defeat the kind of people that now run the gov and call the shots in this country you are going to have to hurt them–I don’t mean go out and bloody kill them—-but hurt in the sense you have to hurt them financially,or career wise, or in some way bad enough to back them down.
      This might sound harsh and cynical, but it is the kind of people you are dealing with. They don’t care what you do or say or how many of you there are…unless they are threatened with some lose to themselves.

      • brenda
        January 29, 2012, 7:59 pm

        American, this is a long game we are playing here, and often we don’t get the kind of reaction we want, at least not right away. It turned out that Nixon was affected by the antiwar protests. It bothered him. A lot. And he didn’t look too good when he left the WH for the last time. Neither did Johnson come to think on it. Politicians hate to be unpopular. It kills them a little bit. Sorry if I’m coming across as harsh…

  26. brenda
    January 29, 2012, 1:42 pm

    I think you’ll be surprised at what a good time you’ll have, Bruce. A big blowout street march is something that you want to experience at least once in your lifetime. It’s one thing to read a statistic — 100,000 people, 200,000 people, half a million people marching in the street, traffic stopped, business-as-usual stopped for them — and it’s another thing entirely to actually experience that. It is both intense, and mellow at the same time. And there is lots of entertainment. Musicians, acrobats, dancers. The Bread & Puppet Theatre if you’re lucky. The Rhythm Workers Union with their rickety Dr. Seuss-ey gypsy wagon, help yourself to one of their “percussion instruments” from the back of the wagon, return it when you get tired of helping to keep the beat… you’ll have a nice time :>)

    Also, make sure you tweet this date out to your email list. There is almost no advertising of this event. If there is a huge blowout march it will only be through the Egyptian Revolutionary model, social media alone. I did a quick survey of the progressive blogsphere and found — nada. The only website advertising the ANSWER march is antiwar.com — a Libertarian site.

    • Bruce
      January 29, 2012, 2:44 pm

      @Brenda

      I am a student from the Sixties/Seventies in Madison and Berkeley not to mention Oslo, so I have participated in enough street marches. And I’ve been gassed enough times and seen friends beaten and arrested and suffer in prison to have trepidations about what can happen at such events. We will see how this one turns out.

      Believe it or not, CSPAN covered some of the ANSWER Iraq rallies and the cable networks did reports also. Maybe I was the only one in America watching. I leave it to the other representatives of middle America to judge, but I thought the speakers and speeches were not an effective way to reach the masses. It was better that they weren’t watching.

  27. brenda
    January 29, 2012, 5:48 pm

    I agree, the speechifying was not particularly inspiring. But the Iraq antiwar marches were inspiring and memorable in a positive way. One of the most popular contingents were the Viet Nam vets. This year I expect we’ll see the Iraq & Afghanistan war veterans prominently represented.

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