Avoid Saturday's anti-war protest in D.C.
This editorial represents the views of the editorial boards of Silver Chips print and Silver Chips Online.
Blazers frustrated by America's course in Iraq have probably been itching for an event like Saturday's anti-war march on and near the National Mall. It is a chance for Blazers to voice their displeasure with what most consider to be a tragic and misguided policy, and a chance for the American anti-war movement to show its strength and organization. But anybody considering taking part in this event must take heed: they won't be marching for what they think they are marching for.
Organized by United for Peace and Justice and the far-left Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) coalition (a statement signed by each organization characterized the event as a "joint rally followed by a joint march"), the march is, according to literature, aimed at "stopping the war in Iraq." But according to official posters and the ANSWER web site, the march also has other causes in mind. It seeks to "support the Palestinian people's right of return," to "end colonial occupation from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti," to get the "US out of the Philippines" and "out of Puerto Rico," and to "stop the threats against North Korea, Venezuela and Iran."
Protesters will be adding their numbers to a well-reasoned and increasingly moderate cause — strong disapproval of the U.S. course of action in Iraq. But they will also be supporting a host of radical policies that they in all likelihood do not agree with; for instance, the end of U.S. diplomatic pressure on dangerous regimes in exchange for increased pressure on key strategic and economic allies like Israel. Whether protesters realize it or not, they will be contributing to a wing of the anti-war movement that has become progressively more radicalized and decreasingly coherent.
For instance, an article on the ANSWER web site entitled "Ten reasons why we are marching" includes as one of its given reasons that "The Bush administration carried out the coup and kidnapping of Haiti's democratically-elected government on March 29, 2004." In truth, an increasingly despotic government was forced out in a rebel uprising, and order was regained only with the arrival of U.S. and foreign troops.
It is these distortions, from Cindy Sheehan's Bush-Hitler comparisons to ANSWER's anti-Israel rhetoric, that have shifted the anti-war movement toward a radical extreme that undermines its laudable goals — an honest and constructive dialogue on the course of our Iraq policy. And it doesn't help things that more moderate organizations like Blair's SGR and United for Peace and Justice have cast their lot with a more extreme group like ANSWER. If this is the company that the potentially influential anti-war moderates are keeping, they will not be considered moderate or influential for long.
Thus, we urge you to write your congressmen. We urge you to voice your displeasure for the Iraq war if you feel inclined to do so, and to exercise your democratic right to question the decisions of your government in any way you can. But we urge you to not support the extremes advocated by one of the key organizers of the Sept. 24 march and in doing so turn the anti-war movement into an extreme itself. If you think that the U.S. should stop pressuring North Korea and Iran, and believe that we are imperial occupiers of a sovereign Puerto Rico, then by all means attend with the knowledge that you'll be doing potentially irreparable harm to an already radical movement. But if you don't, we urge you not to march to protect Kim Jong Il and Hugo Chavez, and to instead catch up on your sleep this Saturday.