As the world awaits Sunday’s deadline for Iraq to issue a declaration on its Weapons of Mass Destruction programs, certain media accounts would have it appear that a growing antiwar movement has hit Main Street, USA. The headline at the top of the December 2 Washington Post declaimed, “Antiwar Effort Gains Momentum.” At first glance one might think the accompanying story would discover some hitherto hidden antiwar sentiment in Red State Bush country. Think again.
The piece centers on a group called Mothers Against War begun by one Daphne Reed, a retired Hampshire College drama teacher living in Amherst, Massachusetts (sigh!). Ms. Reed professed considerable anguish over the prospects that — with respect to Iraqi women — “their sons and husbands would be killed, and the women would be left in the rubble to fend off contaminated water and starvation.” I guess Ms. Reed is unaware that Saddam Hussein has killed large numbers of sons and husbands and is currently using the Oil For Food program to enrich his regime to the detriment of his people’s nutrition.
The Post story goes on to state that “the extraordinary array of groups questioning the Bush administration’s rationale for an invasion of Iraq includes longtime radical groups such as the Workers World Party, but also groups not known for taking stands against the government. There is a labor movement against war, led by organizers of the largest unions in the country; a religious movement against the war, which includes leaders of virtually every mainstream denomination …”
Well, just exactly who are these “mainstream” groups? Well, for beginners, we have John Sweeney’s AFL-CIO whose animus against the Bush administration is well known. Added to this is the claim, without hard evidence being cited, of one Bob Muehlenkamp, a labor consultant and former organizing director for the Teamsters union that “several hundred thousand union members have signed up against the war, with more joining every week.” To be fair, the union leaders cite genuine concerns over the economic aftershocks of a possible new war to liberate Iraq instead of the usual left-wing agitprop boilerplate, but still one must view such sweeping claims with skepticism.
Moving right along to the ecumenical side of the burgeoning “peace” movement we find reference to the National Council of Churches, a group which Ms. Nieves claims represents 36 Protestant and Orthodox denominations, with 50 million members, and whose leadership was last visible on the national scene when it fought for the return of Elian Gonzalez to Fidel Castro. As one familiar with this group for some 35 years I can assure you that while it may speak for some church members, particularly in the Northeast and on the West Coast among liberal denominations, it most emphatically does not speak for the majority of congregants in the mainline Protestant faiths — notwithstanding, once again, the unsubstantiated statements of the Rev. Robert Edgar, its general secretary, to the effect that “average, ordinary people who come from evangelical Christian conservative roots are organizing against the war.”
Saving the best for last, the article concludes by citing as representative of business concerns opposed to the war none other than Ben Cohen, noted lefty and retired co-chairman of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. He’s also founder of the wonderfully named Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities. Mr. Cohen, declares that he plans to join church groups in New York and get arrested for what he claims is the first time. “I’ve never engaged in civil disobedience before,” he said. “But if some country was going to do this to us — have a little preemptive war with the U.S., bomb our people, kill or maim people because they thought that at some time we might bomb them, we’d say that’s a war crime. I feel that getting arrested is the biggest statement that I could make to say that what the Bush administration is doing is wrong.”
If, at this point, you’re not rolling off your chair in laughter over the Post‘s sorry case for a widespread, mainstream antiwar movement in this country, then perhaps you’d expect to see some proof of this in recent poll numbers? Alas for the “peaceniks” this is not the case. Take a look at the latest sampling of polls on this matter as compiled by the folks at PollingReport.com and see if you can discern any evidence of such sentiment. This writer could not.
Once again, it is 1968 forever for the American left. No matter how much things change, nothing changes for these people: We are to blame for our enemies who hate us in large part because we’re seen as motivated by nothing other than base materialistic greed. The only consolation is that such thinking only further consigns the so-called antiwar left to the margins of American political life, if not to the margins of the Washington Post.