We’re on the list of top 50 news websites and, if we don’t make a success of our quarterly fundraising drive, we’re practically down to our last dime.
It’s really kind of funny, if you think about it. I mean, here we are three guys and as many computers up there with the Big Media. Our budget doesn’t even begin to approach theirs: and yet we’re giving them a run for their money.
So, how did our tiny and woefully under-funded operation manage to get up there in the same league with the major American news organizations, anyway? The reason is because, for all their resources and vainglory, the Biggies simply aren’t trusted by a large proportion of literate Americans and we are.
Since 1995, we’ve been exposing the lies of the War Party, typically long before the “mainstream” news media picked up on the truth. During the run-up to the attack on Iraq, we said what everyone is saying now: that the evidence for Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” was being “sexed-up.” There were no links to Al Qaeda: the administration, we said, was simply lying.
And we were right.
The position of most of the opponents of this war was that Saddam Hussein certainly had weapons of mass destruction. Their opposition was based on the belief that he could be deterred, that he didn’t pose a direct and immediate threat, and that we ought to try to work through the UN in order to get him to disarm. Antiwar.com took a different stance. From the very beginning, we agreed with ex-arms inspector Scott Ritter and others who stoutly maintained that Saddam destroyed his WMD, such as they were, after the first Gulf War.
We were right about that, too
While the American news media was cheerleading our great “victory,” it was clear to us that it would morph into a long and costly occupation and that the real war had yet to begin.
Bingo! Right again!
The pattern, as developed over the past year and a half or so, is this: the War Party comes out with a lie Saddam has nukes, the Iraqis met with Mohammed Atta, etc., etc. which is promptly and thoroughly debunked in the pages of Antiwar.com. Three to four months later, oftentimes more, the “mainstream” media catches on.
For example, right now the media is awash in stories of the process by which this administration used phony “intelligence” to buttress their case for war. But we’ve been following that story since well before George W. Bush declared “victory” in Iraq. Several articles on this site have shown how the secretive “Office of Special Plans,” set up by administration hawks in order to bypass the regular intelligence channels, “stovepiped” bogus “evidence” of Iraqi WMD straight up to the White House, via Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.
Reading Antiwar.com is the only way to get a jump on the news: we give you the inside story of the War Party and its ceaseless machinations, so that you know what to expect in the months and years to come. That’s why our regular readers aren’t all that surprised at the headlines announcing an upcoming official investigation into how and why we got into this war. The people know too much for the War Party to get away with it, and that’s the key fact to understand.
In past wars, they managed to pull the wool over practically everyone’s eyes, at least temporarily: it wasn’t until years later, for example, that we found out the whole Gulf of Tonkin incident was a manufactured pretext for the war in Vietnam. In the age of the Internet, however, there is no way the government is going to get away with promulgating lies.
That’s a function of the new technology, in part: communications are faster, and so the truth gets out quicker. But someone has to be committed to searching out the truth and transmitting it to the people, and that’s where Antiwar.com comes in.
No, we aren’t taking credit for the rising backlash against the war hysteria and the calls for an investigation of who lied us into war. But we do deserve some acknowledgment as one of the primary conduits through which the facts were gotten out there. Antiwar.com has played a vitally important role in raising public awareness of the Great Deception that preceded this war.
Opponents of the Iraq war were called agents of Saddam, traitors, a “fifth column,” and every other name in the book by the hired hands of the War Party, with Andrew Sullivan, David Horowitz, and David Frum leading the attack on Antiwar.com.
Why oh why do they hate us?
I’ll tell you why: because we have an audience of half a million-plus unique visitors per month, and a devoted readership that spans the globe. The BBC came to my apartment recently to conduct an interview, and the reporter told me that “everyone reads Antiwar.com, it’s the primary source” on the war. Even our opponents have to pay tribute to what we’ve achieved. As one of the reviewers over at Alexa.com put it:
“I’m a military buff, and rarely agree with the views expressed on this site, but they have the best up-to-date news about world affairs. I hate it but give it a big thumbs-up.”
He gave us a five-star rating.
High praise indeed, considering the source, and the kind that gives me the most pleasure. Because we’re not a propaganda site, or even a journal of opinion, but a news site that is, first of all, devoted to chronicling events. Sure, we have plenty of opinion pieces, but these are clearly labeled as such. We are not the antiwar version of the Office of Special Plans: we aren’t “cooking” the “intelligence” we present to our readers. We give them the facts, and only the facts, leaving them to make their own judgements.
We don’t have to “cook” the facts to fit our preconceived notions, because those notions are being confirmed in every way, nearly every day. Not that we take any pleasure in this panoply of tragedy. The results are horrific: over 500 American deaths, thousands seriously wounded, and stuff like this it’s enough to turn anyone’s stomach, even the most dyed-in-the-wool neocon.
Speaking of neocons Antiwar.com practically invented that meme, and, at any rate, did more to spread it far and wide than any other single factor. I clearly remember a time when a Google news search on “neocon” turned up only Antiwar.com, LewRockwell.com, and a few other paleoconservative websites. We’ve been warning about the great danger posed by the neocons since before the Kosovo war: my very first column on this site takes them to task by name. Finally, everyone else has caught on, and you can go to the Christian Science Monitor website and take a test to see if you have neoconnish tendencies. Now that’s what I call progress!
We’re making progress on other fronts. The look and feel of the site has changed with the redesign: it’s more organized and accessible, attractive without being overly slick.
But we still need to make improvements, and these are mostly on the editorial side. I am heartened by the thought that, if we raise enough money, I could even be relieved of my most onerous duty: the job of proofreading my own material.
Can you imagine it? I have to proofread my own damned stuff. We’re too broke to hire someone to do it. Yet we’re up there, in terms of numbers of readers, with the major new sites. And we did it with one proofreader, me, and for the most part without large single contributions. Our average contribution is under $50.
We’ve always been a grassroots phenomenon: back in the beginning, during the first days of the Kosovo war, when we didn’t have time to stop what we were doing and ask people for money, they sent it in anyway, unsolicited. Small amounts, but lots of them: enough to keep us going.
Look, we’re not ever going to match the resources the War Party has at its disposal, but the whole point of the smear campaign directed at the antiwar movement is to prevent anyone from contributing to it out of fear.
Don’t tell me you’re going to let the bastards intimidate you!
What country do they think this is, anyway? We’re Americans, and that means we aren’t about to be pushed around, lied to, and otherwise intimidated into cowering in some penthouse while John Ashcroft overthrows the Constitution and the neocons drag us into another war.
The clincher argument, for me at least, is this: since your contribution is 100% tax-deductible, why not contribute? After all, would you rather give your money to the U.S. war machine, or to the one institution devoted to countering war propaganda in all its forms
Okay. I’ve said my piece. So go here now.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
One of the best arguments for giving us a lot more money than you gave last time or for finally contributing if you’ve resisted thus far is our discovery of the wonderful Matt Barganier, whose column today is so good that I couldn’t resist pointing it out. For Barganier alone, we deserve your support now go and read him!