Brendan O'Neill opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So why didn't he join anti-war protesters? "Most of the new antiwar groups express an entirely personal opposition to war, one based more on moral revulsion than effective political opposition," he wrote. "Protesters voice a personal distaste for violent conflict, rather than organizing a collective stand against it. And when opposing war is about making pompous moral statements about me, myself, and I, you can count me out." Personal aversion to war for moral reasons is cast as pompous and self-centered.
That appeared in the Christian Science Monitor.
Here's James Taranto, writing in The Wall Street Journal immediately after Saddam Hussein's capture in 2003:
We don't know for sure that Saddam Hussein was
directly involved with the attacks of Sept. 11, but in at least one
respect his capture allows Americans to enjoy a measure of revenge.
Remember how Palestinians whooped it up on that infamous day, dancing in
the streets and handing out candy, unable to contain their joy over the
mass murder of Americans? Well, they're pretty bummed right about now,
and it serves them right... The Angry Left is America's equivalent of the
Palestinians: a self-destructive political movement based on nothing but
a collection of grievances rooted in a falsified, self-justifying
history. These grievances so distort their view of the world that they
lose the capacity for ordinary moral judgment and cannot understand
something as simple as that the fall of a genocidal tyrant is a good
Here's a sentiment I came across several times: I'm all for open debate and intellectual honesty and I wouldn't question the patriotism of anyone opposing the war, but we should all recognize the damage that war protestors are doing to the war effort simply by protesting. They're not operating in a vacuum, and the more that the Iraqi government appreciates and fears our seriousness of purpose, the less likely we are to have to actually have to engage in hardcore fighting.
And I chuckled at another Instapundit-excerpted complaint about biased coverage of an anti-war rally: "The focus of the story is on the hundreds of thousands of anti-war
protesters, but their presence is to be as expected as flies on a dog
turd," the blogger wrote. "And considering the anti-war machine has done this exact same
protest two or three times recently, how is this big news? On the other
hand, 500 Iraqis show up in Washington to support the war, and this
isn't big enough news to warrant more than two tiny paragraphs at the
bottom of the anti-war article?"
Don't miss Andrew Stuttaford contextualizing anti-Iraq protests by blaming past massacres on peace protesters:
In a revealing slip of the tongue,
one woman recalled how those protests had 'ended Vietnam'. Indeed they
did. Within two years of the US withdrawal, South Vietnam had fallen to
communist rule. Thousands were murdered by the new regime, an estimated
500,000-1,000,000 people (out of a population of twenty million) were
incarcerated in concentration (oh sorry, 're-education' ) camps for
periods of up to ten years, and hundreds of thousands of boat people
took the dangerous and often fatal route into exile. Quarter of a
century later Vietnam remains a communist dictatorship. Doubtless the
Vietnamese are most grateful to the peace campaigners of yesteryear.
Max Boot criticized not just 1960s antiwar protesters, but peace protesters from all decades. Seriously:
The demonstrations are thereby making war more -- not less -- likely.
this should be no great surprise, considering the ignominious history
of peace protests over the last century. The record is fairly clear:
When the demands of protesters have been met, more bloodshed has
resulted; when strong leaders have resisted the lure of appeasement,
peace has usually broken out.
The Washington Post news desk played along with this presumptuous 2003 lede: "BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 19 -- President Saddam Hussein's government,
apparently emboldened by antiwar sentiment at the U.N. Security Council
and in worldwide street protests, has not followed through on its
promises of increased cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors, according
to inspectors in Iraq." By 2005, coverage of the Iraq War in the media had become more protest-like, causing Michael Barone to comment, "Then, in World War II, the press almost unanimously wanted us to win the
war. Today, we have many in the press -- not most, I think, but some at
least -- who do not want us to win this war and think that we don't
deserve to win this war."