Thursday, February 14, 2013

10 years on, the protests

Laurie Penny reflects on a pivotal moment from a decade ago in "Ten years ago we marched against the Iraq War and I learned a lesson in betrayal" (New Statesman):

Ten years ago this month, millions of people all over the world marched against the war in Iraq – and were ignored. I was one of them. For me, at the age of 16, there were a lot of firsts on 15 February 2003: first truancy, first solo trip to London, first time seeing democracy rudely circumvented.
Tony Blair’s decision to take Britain into the Americans’ war in Iraq was an immediate, material calamity for millions of people in the Middle East. I’m writing here, though, about the effect of that decision on the generation in the west who were children then and are adults now. For us, the sense of betrayal was life-changing. We had thought that millions of people making their voices heard would be enough and we were wrong.

The Week's Matthew Clark also reflects on that time period in "Lest we forget: anti-Iraq war protesters were in the right:"

Supporters of military intervention in Iraq, both then and since, have variously smeared the protesters for being pro-Saddam, anti-American, fellow-travellers of totalitarianism and jihadism, political ingénues and Chamberlain-style 'appeasers'.
Alastair Campbell, the ruthless and cynical apparatchik who did so much to promote the war, wrote contemptuously in his diary of encountering "no end of people coming back from the march, placards under their arms, faces full of self-righteousness, occasional loathing when they spotted me".
Shortly before the march, his boss Tony Blair made the characteristically grandiose and narcissistic observation that unpopularity was "the price of leadership and the cost of conviction" and insisted that there would be "bloody consequences" if Saddam was not "confronted".
On the other side of the Atlantic, Condoleezza Rice declared that the protests would not affect the Bush administration's "determination to confront Saddam Hussein and help the Iraqi people".
Other commentators used the demonstrations to pursue their bitter vendettas with "the Left". The day after the march, Observer columnist Nick Cohen launched a vitriolic attack on the "shameless Stop the War coalition" and "the Pinters, Trotskyists, bishops, actresses and chorus girls" who marched through London, thereby hindering the advent of democracy in Iraq.

The protests didn't stop the war but they do exist to serve notice that not everyone believed the lies, that everyone wasn't wrong and that 'no one could have guessed.'  They prove false the claims by War Hawks and other cowardly leaders that they were using the best available data to make their decisions.  The protests didn't stop the illegal war but they did object to it and the objection continues to this day.  Which is why, for example, also in today's news cycle you will find "Labour bids to banish the ghost of Tony Blair's toxic foreign interventions" (Politics UK). 

We didn't stop the war with our protests.  As Carole King and Toni Stern put it in "Sweet Seasons" (first appears on Carole's Music), "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose -- and most times you choose between the two."  But the protests challenged the War Hawks.  And imagine the world today without those protests?

Bully Boy Bush and Tony Blair and John Howard and others wouldn't be the objects of scorn and ridicule that they are.  It really would be "we were all wrong."  And when all are wrong and no one was right, there's not a lot of blame to go around.

The court of public opinion never goes into recess.  And those with blood on their hands will have to live with it for the rest of their lives.  In the past, when they were less greedy (the greed always does in today's War Hawks), they could isolate themselves and just ignore the public.  But the poster boy for greed is Henry Kissinger.  And he's hemmed in.  He can't travel freely because he lives in fear of being arrested for his War Crimes.  He can't travel freely and yet the lure of a few dollars more always tempts him -- he's the stripper trying to get in one more lap dance before the end of his shift.  He long ago had more money than he needed.  But the greed makes him risk travel from time to time.

And as it is now for Henry Kissinger, so it will be for others.  The opinions today will not vanish, they will only harden and grow.  There is no safe place for those who started the illegal war (there shouldn't be a safe place for those who continued it -- but at present, there is).  They stand convicted in the Court of Public Opinion and that's the most damning court.  The verdict does not go away, it is not forgotten with the emergence of a new scandal.  It is tied to their images for all of time. 

Again, Henry Kissinger is the best example of that.

And in 20 years, people will say "Tony Blair/Bully Boy Bush is the best example of that."  

You live in the world you make and that's true even for blood thirsty War Hawks.

It isn’t the size of our demonstration that those of us against the war should be proud of, it is our judgement. Our arguments and predictions turned out to be correct and those of our belligerent opponents were discredited. Remember the rhetoric? There was “no doubt” that the invaders would “find the clearest possible evidence of Saddam’s weap­ons of mass destruction” (Blair) as well as evidence of how Iraq had “provided training in these weapons [of mass destruction] to al-Qaeda” (Colin Powell); the foreign troops would be “greeted as liberators” (Dick Cheney); “the establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East” would be “a watershed event in the global democratic revolution” (George W Bush).

 Hilarious e-mail (not intended to be) asked why I was noting New Statesman and other British publications and "ignoring The Nation"?  Silly e-mailer, The Nation hasn't written anything about the Iraq War.

Not in a long damn time.

And when they do, it's whoring.

Greg Mitchell is an embarrassment for many reasons -- the laughingstock of the industry -- but he's especially idiotic because he's applauding Rachel Maddow for a MSNBC special.

Rachel Maddow wasn't against the Iraq War.  Rachel Maddow was a cheerleader for it.

When Air America Radio started over a year after the illegal war did, Rachel wouldn't call it an illegal war, Rachel wouldn't say it was time to leave.  No, Rachel kept pimping Colin Powell's "Pottery Barn rule" of you broke it, you buy it.  (Pottery Barn had and has no such rule.)  Rachel wouldn't book veterans who were against the war for Unfiltered.  Rachel and, yes, Lizz Winstead (who was against the Iraq War) had a meltdown on air, they were two screaming banshees, the most embarrassing radio moment of the '00s.

And we can thank  Elaine for that because she listened to the show at lunch.  She'd finish with her patients, sit at her desk doing her charts and listen and usually get online at the forum for Unfiltered where she was well known by her name "Elaine."  And when Rachel and Lizz started screeching on air -- all Elaine did was ask since there was an "Ask a Vet" segment every week why they couldn't ever book a veteran against the war? -- it was embarrassing and Rachel and Lizz's attack on a listener did not go well on their show's blog.  Elaine didn't get called out on air -- because Rachel and Lizz were too damn stupid to know how to read their own blog.  They called out the person who had posted before Elaine.  And they had a meltdown on air that went over three segments.  It was not professional but it was hysterical.

So as Greg Mitchell WHORES for Rachel Maddow yet again, let's let the record show that Maddow was a War Hawk.  And let's remember that day -- Rebecca blogged about it in real time, Elaine didn't have a site back then -- when Maddow got called on being a War Hawk and lost it on air.  Except for when she had her father come on to beg for her job, that was probably her most memorable radio moment.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, Media Channel, C-SPAN, The Diane Rehm Show,,  the Pacifica Evening News, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ms. magazine and Susan's On the Edge -- updated last night and this morning:

Lastly, The Drone War.  David Swanson's got a photo essay "Nine Brave People Arrested Blocking Gate to Hancock Drone Murder Base in Upstate NY" at War Is A Crime:

Nine opponents of killing human beings with missiles shot from drones were arrested on Wednesday nonviolently interfering with the drone kill program (taken to include the routine use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the targeted kill list) at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, NY.
The nine arrested for disturbing the war were: Matt Ryan, Carmen Trotta, Nancy Gowan, Bill Pickard, Bill Streit, Jim Clune, Ellen Grady, Linda Letender, and Mary Anne Grady Flores.
Below are signs they displayed while blocking the gate.
Report and photos courtesy of Ellen Grady.
Via Malachy Kilbride, here's a list of 35 names of people from across the country who will be going to court at some point for actions against the drones. Others, of course, already have been to court and in some cases are behind bars: Dan Burgevin, Jim Clune, Jack Gilroy, Martha Hennessy, Bryan Hynes, Ed Kinane, Rae Kramer, Julienne Oldfield, Mary Snyder, Elliott Adams, Judy Bello, Mark Colville, Paul Frazier, Clare Grady, Mary Ann Grady-Flores, Andrea Levine, Bonny Mahoney, Mike Perry, James Ricks, Mark Scibilia-Carver, Paki Weiland, John Heid, David and Jan Hartsough, Sharon Delgado, Jane Kesselman, Shirley Osgood, Ann Wright, David Barrows, JoAnn Lingle, Toby Blome, Alli McCracken, Joan Nicholson, Eve Tetaz, and Jonathon Tucker.

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