What Antiwar Activists Have to Be Thankful For
Well, then what do we have to be thankful for? Let me count the ways ….
1. Bush hasn’t gone to war with Iran – yet. Now that’s a big one, but I don’t think we should be overwhelmed with gratitude. Let us, instead, give thanks that we still have time to stop it, or try to stop it, before it starts.
2. The American people are beginning to wake up. The really good news is that a large majority of Americans not only oppose the Iraq war, but also are hopping mad that they were lied into initially supporting it. We all know how it’s a sin to be “angry,” in the neocon-Establishmentarian view of the world, a transgression for which Howard Dean paid with his candidacy, but, this year, it doesn’t look like that meme is going to work.
3. The New Media has triumphed over the Old. Some in the “mainstream” media are beginning to wake up – or, at least, they’re beginning to realize they’ll lose their shirts if they keep shilling for the War Party. People are simply abandoning the Old Media at such a rate that, in a relatively few years, no one will be paying much attention to what’s in the New York Times, or any of the other Dead-Tree media that led us down the path to war. It’s all going to be on the internet.
4. The neocon meme is now firmly ensconced in the American political consciousness as a term of obloquy. Back in 1995, when I first started contributing to this site, hardly anyone had ever heard of this particular “n-word,” let alone knew what a “neocon” was: today, the term is ubiquitous. And, contrary to the outraged and wounded cries of the usual suspects, this wave of popular resentment against the icons of Neocon-dom is neither mindless sloganeering nor “bigotry” of any sort. It is, instead, based on an amazingly precise understanding of neoconservatism as a kind of ideological mutant, a monstrous hybrid that originated on the far left and migrated, like a deadly cancer cell, to the far right, where it metastasized into something that resembles fascism in all its particulars to a frightening degree. Here is an area where I think Antiwar.com can claim a major part of the credit, although, to a large degree, we merely synthesized and summarized the arguments made by conservative dissidents such as Claes Ryn, Pat Buchanan, and the editors of Chronicles magazine and The American Conservative. In any case, we paid close attention to the divisions on the right over foreign policy issues, and that paid off: the early research that appeared here on the Trotskyist and Straussian roots of neoconservative thought spread far and wide. During the run-up to the Iraq war, when the neocons were in the spotlight, we were ready with our analysis of the historical and ideological roots of this troublesome sect. I am constantly amazed to read, in “mainstream” media as well as the comments sections of blogs, references to the neocons as “crazed neo-Trotskyites.” After all, this is the sort of epithet that, only a few years ago, one would normally come across only in the pages of some obscure paleoconservative magazine or blog: that it has now migrated into common parlance is nothing short of delightful.
5. The Israel Lobby has been “outed,” and there’s no going back in the closet. The publication of The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, has broken through the wall of silence surrounding the near-dominance of Israel’s American partisans over the policy-making process when it comes to the Middle East. The knee-jerk response from the Lobby – that anyone who identifies, let alone condemns, this inordinate influence, is the equivalent of David Duke – instead of marginalizing professors Mearsheimer and Walt, has made the Lobby a laughingstock. It has also underscored the main theme of the book, which is that the Lobby’s power has always been invested in policing and limiting the terms of the foreign policy debate in this country. That they have failed in this instance of major importance is a great victory, not only for those who advocate a non-interventionist foreign policy, but for all who value the distinctively American political culture of free and open discourse.
6. There is growing opposition to our foreign policy of global intervention in both “major” political parties. On the Democratic side of the aisle, the good news is that all of the candidates are trying desperately to pander to their increasingly vocal and restive antiwar base. Antiwar Democrats are the main source of support for Barack Obama, and the driving force behind the rapidly coalescing Anybody-but-Hillary movement. In the GOP, a refreshing change from the usual blood-and-thunder warmongering comes in the person of Ron Paul, a nine-term Republican congressman from the Gulf Coast of Texas whose straight-talking unassuming persona and fiercely antiwar (and anti-interventionist) libertarian politics has electrified a whole new generation of activists. Not since the McCarthy for President phenomenon has a political campaign so captured the imagination, and the hopes, of young people in search of intellectual integrity in politics. In any case, whether you’re rooting for Kucinch, Edwards, Obama, or pounding the pavement (or the cyber-highways) for Paul, antiwar activists on both sides of the political spectrum have a lot to be thankful for – and I have a feeling that 2008 is going to be our breakthrough year, politically.
7. Antiwar.com made it’s fundraising goal of $70,000 – oh, wait …. I guess not. Which brings me to the fundraising portion of this column. Not that I do this all that often – only during fundraising week, or, in this case, fundraising weeks. Our pitch for contributions is usually limited to seven days of hectoring our readers into giving us the resources we need to continue, nothing more and nothing less. This time, however, due to the Veterans Day and Thanksgiving holidays, among other factors, we had to extend it to nearly two full weeks – and I’m thankful we are now close to making it, even if we aren’t quite over the top yet. Speaking of which ….
Look, I hate to harangue you about this on a holiday, especially one like Thanksgiving when you probably aren’t even online (yeah, but I’ll catch you on Friday, or over the weekend). I’m going to force myself, however because we have to make our fundraising goal, there’s just no two ways about it. Either that, or we start making cuts in our coverage. It’s as simple as that.
See, we don’t depend on a few big donors, like most nonprofits do: we depend on our many readers and supporters to come through with their tax-deductible contributions – and our average donation is around $50. The War Party, for its part, never has to worry about money: they have all they need and more to maintain a tremendous propaganda machine churning day and night.
Against this mighty apparatus of lies and myth-making, we have one invaluable weapon that could make victory possible: the truth. We speak truth to power, and are beholden to no one – that’s the sprit behind the new independent journalism, of which Antiwar.com is the exemplar and one of the earliest pioneers.
Since 1995, we’ve been bringing you the real news behind the headlines, as well as analysis that has proved prescient time and again. All for free. It costs nothing to log on to Antiwar.com – but we do need a small staff and we do incur expenses, and these expenses need to be met. Our spending is a mere drop in the bucket compared to the War Party’s deep pockets: they need to spend millions in endless campaigns to convince us that war is peace, black is white, and they are the saviors of humanity. We, on the other hand, just need a basic minimum to keep going, because the power of truth is enough to overcome the most extravagantly funded deception – and it’s all due to the liberating power of the new technology, which seems to have fulfilled that old biblical prophecy about “he who is humble shall be exalted, and he who is exalted shall be humbled.”
So don’t delay: help us win the fight on the home front so, by next Thanksgiving, we aren’t reporting on the latest developments in the war to occupy Iran, or Syria, or some other hapless victim of the would-be “liberators” of the world….
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
Look on the newstands for the next issue of The American Conservative, which will include an essay of mine on the poet Robinson Jeffers. I had great fun writing it, in part because he really is a November kind of poet, if you know what I mean.
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