WE’RE MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Antiwar.com is making a difference.

I first realized this when commentators  outside our little circle of noninterventionist policy wonks and activists began referring to "the War Party" in heartily derisive tones.

Of course, it’s a logical name for the interventionists, a name that tells it like it is, as well as being deeply rooted in American history. But the foreign policy lexicon, always weighted in favor of interventionism, has dubbed the War Party the "hawks." On the other hand, we are cast in the role of "doves," who make pretty cooing noises but are lost in the real world of international power politics. So, while we hardly invented the phrase, I think we can take credit for its current ubiquity.

It’s other things, too, like the "chickenhawk" argument. A recent column of mine, "Attack of the Chickenhawks,"asking why anyone should listen to a bunch of pointy-headed little policy wonks against the good advice of experienced military officers, was posted on August 2. By the end of the month we were hearing it out of the mouths of General Anthony Zinni and Senator Chuck Hagel, leading Republican critics of the President’s rush to war with Iraq.

The point is not that Zinni and Hagel read and consciously echoed little old me, but that, in the age of the Internet, ideas spread quickly, and Antiwar.com, which has been pushing the "chickenhawk" theme for all it’s worth, did much to set the tone of the debate.

The good news is that we are winning the battle of ideas – and just where we thought we’d have to win it. It’s fascinating to see conservative Republicans in Congress standing up against the war hysteria – the very people that Antiwar.com has always made a special point of reaching out to with the noninterventionist message. It’s all very interesting – and, from our point of view, intensely gratifying. For if even conservatives are coming out against this war, along with our top generals, then this could be enough to tip the balance in favor of peace.

Our audience is broad enough to include a very large number of those who consider themselves women and men of the Left, but also includes perhaps just as many who consider themselves conservatives of one sort or another. Since we are libertarians, adherents of a credo that is beyond the tired old categories of "left" and "right," we have freely encouraged this sort of ideological cross-fertilization, featuring a piece by John Pilger or Noam Chomsky alongside a scathing denunciation of the neocons’ war plans by conservative columnist Charlie Reese or Patrick J. Buchanan. We made a conscious decision, in recent months, to pay particular attention to the conservatives, on the grounds that, if successful, this effort would really make a difference.

Because making a difference is what Antiwar.com is all about.

We aren’t just another little nonprofit thinktank, content to comment from the sidelines: we are at war with the War Party—and polls show that we now have a chance to win.

The latest CNN-Time poll shows a precipitous drop in support for an invasion of Iraq, from December’s 70 percent to only 51 percent today. 40 percent of Americans now say heck no, we shouldn’t go. Half say they envision a long and bloody war, and a whopping 77 percent agree that war with Iraq would increase the likelihood of another terrorist attack on the U.S.

And now for the really good news: a solid majority, 68 percent, remember what it says in the Constitution and insist on the President getting congressional authorization before ordering the destruction of Baghdad. Gee, I guess they weren’t swayed by the War Party’s lame argument that their attack plans were authorized way back in 1991, when Congress authorized Gulf War I.

Yes, the good news is that the Peace Party is winning; or, at least, we’re enjoying a big upswing of support. But we can’t rest on our laurels, because we haven’t won yet. Far from it. But when you think how far we’ve come from a year ago, when the 9/11 terrorist attacks set off a wave of war hysteria that is only now beginning to be beaten back, you have to be encouraged. Antiwar.com, I am proud to say, has been in the front lines of this battle, but it’s up to you to decide whether we’re going to run out of ammunition.

Or, rather, run out of money.

Yes, it happens every year: we manage to raise enough, throughout the year, to pay our bills, and make it through on a shoestring budget – but not quite.

The War Party, with their endowed thinktanks and huge propaganda apparatus, has the bucks to emit a daily stream of high-priced demagogy. We, on the other hand, require a lot less to accomplish a lot more: and our low-budget, high-tech strategy seems to be working. But none of it is possible without your support. We are planning a series of upgrades for the site, including:

• Email to a friend, print, and save articles.

• Easier, clearer navigation on every page of the site, including the ability to access the entire site from any page.

• Quicker page downloads.

• Better archiving and more special topics pages.

And our new features aren’t limited to cyberspace. A number of requests for speakers have come in from college campuses and other venues, and I’ll be doing a campus tour this fall. We are beginning to develop a network of campus activists, and next year we would like to schedule a kind of Summer School for anti-interventionists, at the fabulous Randolph Bourne Institute in sunny Atherton, California. Antiwar.com is educating the next generation of young activists.

We have the energy to do all this. We just don’t have the money – unless you decide that the tax money you have to pay anyway is better spent helping to keep Antiwar.com alive and growing. Because every penny you give is tax-deductible.

And I’m only half-kidding when I say, yes, you can cancel out all those tax dollars you involuntarily contributed to the Ariel Sharon Helicopter Gunship Fund with a contribution to Antiwar.com. As the U.S. gets ready to unleash hellfire not only on Iraq, but on a large portion of the Middle East, it’s important to make a statement. Not everybody can be an activist. But by making a tax-deductible contribution you are indeed taking vitally-needed action on behalf of what’s right – and against the clique of war-maddened chicken-hawks who seem to have taken over the U.S. government.

Now is not the time for Antiwar.com to make radical cutbacks in its service to you. We don’t want to decrease our coverage, our payments to writers, our updates, and our already tiny staff. But we will have to take all of these measures unless and until you come up with the difference.

I don’t mind asking for your support, every year, because I think we’ve earned it.

We have indeed made a difference. You have made a difference, with your support – especially your financial support. Our readers have been generous in the past—and now we are asking you to come through with the bucks to help keep those poll numbers for peace rising. The public is just now beginning to wake up to the danger posed by the militarists in the White House, and we have to keep the momentum of the protest movement going strong.

That’s why we need your contribution a.s.a.p – because there isn’t a moment to lose. The great national debate now unfolding will shape the course of history for decades to come. Shall we give up our old republic, and take the road to Empire? That is the question now facing the American public, and we must mobilize all our intellectual and political support to deliver, in answer, a resounding "No!"

Read more by Justin Raimondo

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].