The old anti-War warriors

If ever a single article told you everything you need to know about the torch the old anti-War protestors carry for their youth, you have to read this editorial by Andrew Rosenthal, the NY Times’ Assistant Editor (so the editorial also tells you a lot about the NYT). In Rosenthal’s world view, protest is an end unto itself, and he finds repugnant the fact that this generation is (to his mind) unwilling to take to the streets. Here’s just a part of it (and please note that Rumsfeld’s innocuous and apolitical speech has now morphed into Rumsfeld terrorizing anti-War anti-War protestors by calling them Nazis):

This, perhaps, is the ultimate difference between the Vietnam generation and the Iraq generation: When you hear Young and Company sing of “four dead in Ohio,” their Kent State anthem, it’s hard to imagine anyone on today’s campuses willing to face armed troops. Is there anything they care about that much?

Student protesters helped drive Lyndon Johnson — in so many ways a powerful, progressive president — out of office because of his war. In 2004, George W. Bush — in so many ways a weak, regressive president — was re-elected despite his war. And the campuses were silent.

There was a brief burst of protest when America first invaded Iraq. But if there is a college movement against the war, it’s hiding pretty well. Vietnam never had the moral clarity that the 9/11 attacks provided to this generation’s war. But in Iraq that proved to be a false clarity, and a majority of Americans now say they oppose the war and no longer trust Mr. Bush’s leadership of it.

But because there is no draft — a fact that Graham Nash noted sardonically on Sunday night — no young person has to fear being conscripted into the fight. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Americans find it much easier to stay silent when there is no shared sacrifice.

This war is also largely hidden from American eyes. Unlike Vietnam, when journalists were free to witness and record combat operations, the Pentagon controls access to American troops in Iraq and the images that come with it. The Pentagon banned press coverage of the flag-draped coffins returning home from Iraq. The president refused to attend the funerals of soldiers. Even the cost of this war was tucked from the very start into “supplemental bills” that magically don’t count toward the budget deficit.

The pressure to be silent is great. This week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared critics of Mr. Bush’s Iraq policy to those who appeased Adolf Hitler. And antiwar protesters are told they’re un-American, cowardly and lending aid and comfort to terrorists.

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  1. Danny Lemieux says

    “This week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared critics of Mr. Bush’s Iraq policy to those who appeased Adolf Hitler. And antiwar protesters are told they’re un-American, cowardly and lending aid and comfort to terrorists.” And, so…the point is what, exactly?

  2. mamapajamas says

    re: ” …the Pentagon controls access to American troops in Iraq and the images that come with it.”

    Curious… most of the fighting is going on in the Baghdad area, and that’s where the news media is holed up. They certainly don’t seem to miss out on bombs going off, but then they DO miss out on the peace in 90% of the rest of the country.

    This clown is WAY too involved in trying to return to his youth! The fact that the campuses aren’t in riots doesn’t mean they don’t care, it more likely means they’re busy studying.

    In any case, there was a poll done sometime last year in which specific viewpoints about the war were polled, and most people who didn’t like the way it was going held that view because they thought we needed to pull out the stops and go AFTER the terrorists full force, not pull out the way the peaceniks want. This seems to be the case among most of the people I know who presently object to the war.

    I bet Mr. Rosenthal hasn’t read that poll, or if he did, does not believe it.

  3. says

    Rosenthal doesn’t understand logistics. Even in an army, 70-60% of that army are base logistics, bean counters, and support structure. They are not front line combat. In a societal and national war, the guys back at university are fullfilling a support role, by doing the jobs that give the tax dollars to the federal government. The money is where the logistics is at, concerning war. No money, no war.

    The Democrats want everyone to join up, like the “Good old Days” in WWIIBut because there is no draft — a fact that Graham Nash noted sardonically on Sunday night — no young person has to fear being conscripted into the fight. It is hard to escape the conclusion that Americans find it much easier to stay silent when there is no shared sacrifice.

    The Democrats, a party of fear and intimidation. Nice. The draft is gone the way of the cotton gin and salvery. Say bye bye.

    If the draft ever comes back, you will know that American civilization is about to be destroyed. Only catastrophe brings back the draft.

    I think the moral clarity of the Democrats arevery clear in their destructive tendencies.

  4. says

    Some code format ate up part of my comments again. I hate when that happens.

    The Good Old Days were when the US spent like 25% to 40% total GDP on weapons and mil tech. How many people do the Democrats think need killing with their drafted soldiers? Only they know.

    Since the US can already devastate a large portion of the globe on 4% GDP, why do the Democrats want more divisions, more weapons, more soldiers. Who are they planning on conquering? They actually complain about the military industrial complex, of which they think soldiers in the service of the motherland can solve by pouring more onto the frontlines.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if while these guys were in the army, foreigners came over here and took their high tech/skilled jobs. Would not the Democrats howl.

    The Democrats couldn’t plan a brawl in an Irish pub. In the year 1823.

    The one thing we know, is that populists like cannon fodder. Professional armies are not so much for athens like democracy, as for Spartans and the helots. Remember the Russians? Boy, they loved cannon fodder, inexperienced young men sent in to do the “motherland proud”. What a slaughter. The party officials, sit back home with their luxuries, smoking cigars, and talking about how the war is going. Maybe even Rosenthal believes that there is a quality to quantity all on its own.

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