WASHINGTON — In the months after our invasion of Iraq — our liberation of Iraq — there was a neat little peace movement. It was composed of the likes of linguist Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, and various lesser patheticos who all looked like they belonged on the streets of Berkeley, California, some with begging pots in their hands.
That this forlorn band did not grow for many months was no surprise to me. America had suffered 3,000 casualties at home, not one of whom had been engaged in warfare against anyone. The tyrant we took down had taunted us, boasted of his danger to us, and hosted terrorists in his capital. There was no debate about this. The United States had attacked a modern-day Hitler who was not as clever as the original and was encouraging enemies of our country. The brute Saddam was actually sending rewards to the families of terrorists. What kind of zanies would join a peace movement against this military effort to do about what Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill did in the early 1940s?
President Roosevelt did what he did despite the Neutrality Acts against military assistance to foreign powers, even foreign powers defending themselves against the Nazis. Very boldly Roosevelt broke the law and he did so repeatedly. Since then he has been held up as an international hero. He conquered the fascists, the Nazis, and the Japanese militarists. He enshrined in oratory and in statutes high-minded notions of international human rights. He was the driving force behind the United Nations. George W. Bush and his associates were only making good on Roosevelt’s promises. And they did so despite a melancholy fact, to wit: FDR’s dearly envisioned United Nations is as corrupt as any Third-World oligarchy. President Bush attended to its empty protocols and then took action. The subsequent complaint was that the president did not do more at the United Nations. I suppose he could have bought Kofi Annan’s colleagues off.
Now we have a rather larger peace movement in the United States, and it is being treated with grave respect by the bien pensants. Still, this peace movement is pretty much confined to the zanies. The other night as the President was giving his State of the Union speech they gathered in Washington around the statue to General U.S. Grant on the Capitol grounds singing “All You Need Is Love,” “Give Peace a Chance,” and, who knows, maybe that song about the yellow submarine or “One Hundred Bottles of Beer on the Wall”?
Their Gandhi is Cindy Sheehan, who is either a lunatic or one of the many self-promoters who with little talent and no demonstrated knowledge of international relations become media stars on behalf of peace. Mrs. Sheehan was given a ticket to the State of the Union speech by a member of Congress. Would you care to guess which party that member represents? The member’s name is Lynn C. Woolsey and she insists, “I didn’t see this as a political act at all.” One of the Democrats’ complaints about the President is that he is a liar. What is the Hon. Woolsey?
Once in the gallery Mrs. Sheehan began demonstrating, though there are those in the media who doubt this. She undid her jacket revealing a T-shirt with an anti-war message. She began drawing attention to herself. She was arrested. Now there are people in the press who doubt the Capitol Police’s claim that she acted inappropriately. The police claim she was “boisterous.” There is a law against demonstrating in the House gallery. Now on the talk shows the great debate begins: Was Mrs. Sheehan boisterous or not? Was she demonstrating?
Mrs. Sheehan has spent all of her brief public life demonstrating, but apparently despite the involvement of this Democratic congresswoman and despite her anti-war T-shirt persons in press want to argue that she was not demonstrating. This is an infantile debate. In fact, the whole peace movement is an infantile movement. There is to this day no one to negotiate “peace” with in Iraq. There is no alternative to our police action. The vast majority of Iraqis wants peace, and most recognize that the only hope for peace resides with the American army or what some persist in calling the Coalition forces. That so many of the supposedly civilized nations of the world have not contributed to those forces is the shame of this war. That so many of the Democrats have not stood by this president the way Republicans stood by FDR is another shame. And Mrs. Sheehan, button up that jacket and quiet down.