Free Markets, Free People

Don’t Want No War No More – Oh. Nevermind.

Byron York wonders where the anti-war movement has gone since GW Bush is gone. He notes that Cindy Sheehan is protesting this weekend at Martha’s Vinyard where President Obama is vacationing, but wonders if the left cares or whether the media will cover that.

As York demonstrates in his piece, the answer to both questions is probably no. I don’t think we have to think back very far to remember the caterwalling by the “anti-war” left about the war in Iraq and to a lesser degree, Afghanistan.

Now, even though the United States still has roughly 130,000 troops in Iraq, and is quickly escalating the war in Afghanistan — 68,000 troops there by the end of this year, and possibly more in 2010 — anti-war voices on the Left have fallen silent.

And, of course, Iraq will most likely have troops in that country for years to come – and not a peep from the left.

I’ve also noticed that suddenly we don’t get the nightly death toll on the network news show or the more left leaning cable channels.

And the only thing that has changed is what? Oh, yeah, that Bush guy isn’t around.

At Netroots Nation pollster Stanley Greenberg did a little sampling of the “progressive crowd”. His findings were interesting:

He asked people to list the two priorities they believed “progressive activists should be focusing their attention and efforts on the most.” The winner, by far, was “passing comprehensive health care reform.” In second place was enacting “green energy policies that address environmental concerns.”

And what about “working to end our military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan”? It was way down the list, in eighth place.

Perhaps more tellingly, Greenberg asked activists to name the issue that “you, personally, spend the most time advancing currently.” The winner, again, was health care reform. Next came “working to elect progressive candidates in the 2010 elections.” Then came a bunch of other issues. At the very bottom — last place, named by just one percent of participants — came working to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On a single day in January, the “anti-war” movement apparently died. The wars? Still there and still going on. It’s hard not to conclude that it was never about war for the left – instead, it was all about politics – and the unrefined but enduring hatred of one man.



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18 Responses to Don’t Want No War No More – Oh. Nevermind.

  • You mean… you mean… That the anti-war movement was all a dishonest, hypocritical political stunt designed to remove one party from power in favor of another???? And that all the wailing about our brave troops who were killed, wounded, and suffered mental anguish from their service in Iraq and A-stan was nothing but crocodile tears????

    Say it ain’t so, Joe! Say it ain’t so!

    / sarc

    I’ve often made clear my belief that liberals are stupid. Let’s add “dishonest” to the list.

  • There hasn’t been much noise over Guantanamo, either. Although that debate may kick up temporarily in January when the administration quietly decides that it cannot close the facility. But that may be overshadowed by the continuation of the health care debate after it is or is not passed, by a renewal of the cap and trade debate, and by the immigration debate.

    I wonder if the administration decided that even such a hot potato like immigration was better than having to answer weeks of questions about Gitmo.

  • It will be interesting to watch how they react to developments in Afghanistan — the “war of necessity” as Obama put it.

  • “and the unrefined but enduring hatred of one man.”

    No kidding. I often said during the Bush years that, though you could argue with his decisions on many things, the unmitigated hatred for him spewed on the nightly news was pathetic. I would also state, and do to this day, that history will treat him a lot kinder than ‘popular opinion’ when he was President. There were people I know and respect who were SURE that Bush was going to become a dictator and not relinquish the throne. But the day came to pass the torch, and since then there has barely been a whiff of him.

    Seriously, how could one person have so many contradictory things applied to him. He was one day the worlds biggest buffoon, and the next he was the mastermind genius of the illuminati planning to take over the world. Really? How in the world did that make sense.

  • You don’t hear about the death tolls?

    Ok, maybe you don’t on the news, but the left still shrieks about the Big Lie that took us to Iraq, and the “pointless” deaths in A-stan, usually as a retort to any criticism of HC reform.

    And then they call you a racist.

    It is almost as though it were scripted, it is so predictable.

  • Actually throughout the 2008 campaign the anti-war movement went off the front pages. When death tolls dropped and it appeared things were improving, most people changed their focus — that was while Bush was still President. If Afghanistan and Iraq heat up again, Obama will have a problem.

    • The irony that you would dare to comment on this issue is staggering.

    • It took you long enough to finally admit that the surge worked and that we won.

      • Iraq is probably the biggest fiasco in the history of American foreign policy. The surge obviously has not worked in terms of achieving any of the goals the US had for the war, and the cost of the war has yielded no dividends to the US. It did give us President Obama and the Democratic majority, however.

        Obama should recognize that the Bush wars were imperialistic fantasies that have failed utterly. We can’t afford that kind of aggressive foreign policy, and it’s not working. We should leave both Afghanistan and Iraq, we’ve been a cause of the deaths of tens of thousands, and things there are still broken. Meanwhile children are dead, families torn asunder, and America weakened. At least now everyone knows those wars were utter and complete disasters. I’m not sure if the US will recover though.

        • The surge obviously has not worked in terms of achieving any of the goals the US had for the war

          Well, in that the big goal of removing Hussein’s ability to sponsor international terrorism* was accomplished almost immediately, long before the surge, that’s true.

          Sure, Iraq still has an elected, representative government and Al Quaeda and Iranian-sponsored insurrection is, while ongoing, nothing like an existential threat, but obviously some phantom goals that only you knew about are still un-achieved, right?

          You can enumerate them and show us where they actually were the goals of US policy, right?


          *And yes, we all know he wasn’t behind the 9/11 attacks. For why he mattered anyway, ask the Clinton Administration, circa early 2000.

        • Iraq is probably the biggest fiasco in the history of American foreign policy.

          No, that was the War of 1812, we achieved very little (we DID manage to generate a few admirable legends…USS Constitution being one of them) and lost our capital for a day or so.

          Interesting though that you consider Iraq a bigger net disaster than Vietnam was allowed to become. Vietnam was surely the defining moment(s) for a generation of Americans. It’s colored American policy both militarily and from a foreign policy angle ever since, the reverberations of which were heard in 2001 and can STILL be heard in Afghanistan today.
          It was far more divisive nationally, to my recollection, than anything that has gone on since, to include the 2000 election, 2nd Gulf war, and Iraq reconstruction.

          But I’m not surprised, it was your pet peeve project, your thesis of our downfall and decline, you are unable to let go even when history to date has demonstrated you to be wrong in your prognostication and analysis.

        • Erb — Repeating something simple loudly is not an argument. It’s just sloganeering.

        • “When death tolls dropped and it appeared things were improving, most people changed their focus ”

          “The surge obviously has not worked”

          Nice job dimwit

        • “Iraq is probably the biggest fiasco in the history of American foreign policy.”

          Bigger than the Vietnam War in what respect exactly? Even if you simplistically say both were total busts, Vietnam was more costly by substantive measurements. Iraq cost about the same in inflation-adjusted money and something like one-twentieth the amount of casualties. I forgot. Soldiers probably don’t matter all that much to you, things like “international prestige” are more important, right? Oops, Vietnam didn’t win us any of that either. You are an utter and total dipsh*t.

    • Actually throughout the 2008 campaign the anti-war movement went off the front pages.

      The anti-war movement and the front pages are not entirely the same thing. For instance MoveOn was still pushing an anti-war message (much like Erbe himself) last summer.

      On June 17, 2008, MoveOn emailed its members stating that it had produced “the most effective TV ad we’ve ever created.”[34] The ad depicts a mother telling Republican presidential nominee John McCain that she will not let him use her infant son, Alex, as a soldier in the war in Iraq.

  • “I’ve also noticed that suddenly we don’t get the nightly death toll on the network news show or the more left leaning cable channels.”

    Soldiers only matter to leftists when we’re dying in unpopular wars and they can make political points off our corpses. They couldn’t do that when it didn’t look like an unmitigated disaster late in Bush’s term, so that blows Erb’s point out of the water.

  • Scott, I’m surprised a professor such as yourself could whiffle something so much the concept of imperialism. The term was coined by Lenin and was predicated on Marxian economic principles, that capitalist countries would always need to expand their hegemony to sustain their standard of living. But the truth has turned out to be that capitalist understand that it is far, far more profitable to simply trade with folks that have things you want than it is to conquer them for God’s sake.

    The economic paradigm which predicted capitalist imperialism lies on the ash heap of history. To accuse capitalism of “imperialism” is absurd, especially in the face of universal capitalist disdain for the practice.