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Professional protesters hurt credibility of demonstrations against war
Posted by: McQ on Monday, March 19, 2007

If you're a reader of the blogosphere, you had to be hiding under a rock to miss the coverage of the protests and counter-protests this weekend in Washington DC. Although one of our consistently wrong commenters was moved to say that the anti-war contingent in the US is much larger than that of the VN era, the protest in DC didn't convey that impression in the least.

Anyway, I'm not here to discuss the demonstrations per se, but to point to a paragraph in the NY Times which reflected what I've heard any number of times concerning protests in this day and age:
Many in the crowd said they were unfamiliar with the Answer Coalition and puzzled by the many signs about socialism. Several said they had come from across the country for a chance to voice their dismay at the war.
Two small sentences point to why it is hard to take anything in which ANSWER is involved seriously.
Saturday’s march was organized by the Answer Coalition — named for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism — an organization that was initially associated with the Workers World Party and now affiliated with a breakaway faction of that party called the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
First is the affiliation. Such an organization is naturally going to be opposed to just about anything done by any part of the US government regardless of who is running the show. For ANSWER, Iraq is just a convenient excuse to protest. That is very evident when you understand that every pet protest project from the left (from Cuba to Palestine)was represented during the demonstration this weekend:
Judging by the speeches and placards, the marchers on Saturday set their sights on sweeping goals, including not only ending the war but also impeaching President Bush and ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Many carried Answer Coalition signs bearing the image of the Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara.
What the relatively small anti-war contingent did was provide a reason for protest. ANSWER then calls out its coalition of professional protesters and swells the crowd.

Why? Well, it's an opportunity for ANSWER:
Brian Becker, the national coordinator of the Answer Coalition and a member of the Party of Socialism and Liberation, said the group held out little hope of influencing either the president or Congress. “It is about radicalizing people,” Mr. Becker said in an interview. “You hook into a movement that exists — in this case the antiwar movement — and channel people who care about that movement and bring them into political life, the life of political activism.”
And hopefully that life of political activism which Becker, et al, hope to stimulate will see those so stimulated embrace some of the multitude of marginal causes ANSWER's core of professional protesters embrace. That would mean more ANSWER types at the next protest they "organize" regardless of supposed purpose of the protest.

It will also mean more puzzled looks among first time protesters about ANSWER and it's affiliation with radical socialism to which they unwittingly hooked their protest trailer ... and credibility.
 
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Like I keep saying, "I question their patriotism...."
I don’t question Michael Moore’s or ANSWER’s it’s obvious, they’re for the other side.

But anyone that shows up at an ANSWER rally I do....Uh HELLO, how many times do you have to be told who ANSWER is?

I don’t show up at the First Amendment Rally supported by NAMBLA without knowing WHO NAMBLA is....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
One reason opposition to the war is greater in this war than during Vietnam is because there haven’t been the kind of protests seen in the 60’s. Those protests turned people off from opposing the war because it appeared that meant siding with hippies and radicals. In this war it is mainstream and middle class to oppose the war, and increasingly Republicans admit it was a mistake. Unless one wants to deny the validity of the polls, this war is less popular with the Vietnam war, which always had majority support in the US public.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Those protests turned people off from opposing the war because it appeared that meant siding with hippies and radicals.
Unlike today eh Dr Erb...ANSWER is certainly the home on non-smellie hippies isn’t it?
In this war it is mainstream and middle class to oppose the war, and increasingly Republicans admit it was a mistake.
Unlike Vietnam where the poor opposed...HOLD IT, who protested, oh yeah the COLLEGE students....I’m sorry when did Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden become the proletarians?
Unless one wants to deny the validity of the polls, this war is less popular with the Vietnam war, which always had majority support in the US public.

And which today most people want us to WIN, even if they question the basis...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Yeah, which polls should we believe...

http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1502&status=article&id=258765200226126
bias is pervasive.

Out of a random sampling of about 75 war-related news headlines drawn from 2006, 80% generally had a negative view of the war, while about 20% had some positive undertones.

I haven’t yet done any statistical analyses on this year’s headlines. But one that accompanied a CNN story Tuesday night read, "Poll: Less than half of Americans think U.S. can win in Iraq."

Do such headlines help anyone? Remember, we’re in the middle of a war; we are not playing games.

According to the CNN story, 46% of Americans said the U.S. could not win the war in Iraq, while another 46% said that the U.S. could win. The writer went on to say this marks the first time since the war began four years ago that a majority of Americans said that the U.S. could not win.

While the negative spin is obvious, CNN fails to tell the whole story. Our IBD/TIPP Poll shows two-thirds believe victory in Iraq is important, while a third (35%) are "very hopeful" we can win and 23% are "somewhat hopeful" the U.S. can pull it off.

That’s a very different take on the same issue.

Or consider another finding from the CNN poll — that about 60% want to see U.S. troops leave Iraq either immediately or within a year. Our poll, however, shows that about two-thirds (65%) say it’s important for the U.S. to maintain a military presence in the country over the next 12 months.

Despite an obviously liberal and negative bias plainly visible to the American public (61% of Americans say war coverage is not fair and objective, 57% say that it’s been too negative and 56% say coverage tends to favor a liberal point of view), most media elites continue to deny any bias at all.
And when the counter-protesters outnumber the protesters, what does that say...

http://michellemalkin.com/archives/007109.htm
***Update: Heidi at Gathering of Eagles reports on the National Park Service estimate of the GoE turnout: 30,000 strong. The silent majority no more.***
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
I wish I could find the outfit on the web that sells the Che T-Shirt with the following caption (writing from memory):

"I was shot in the head and died on the floor of a dirty hut...and all I got was this T-shirt!"
 
Written By: T
URL: http://
Erb = Chomskybot?

Seriously, it’s got to be a computer typing these cliches.
 
Written By: T
URL: http://
"I was shot in the head and died on the floor of a dirty hut...and all I got was this T-shirt!"
That leaves out the part where he begged for his life.

Also, was he shot in the head? IIRC he was killed by an M-2 carbine (ironically one of his favorites), and the soldier who did it was nervious and made a mess of it, not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Erb said " . . opposition to the war is greater in this war than during Vietnam . . "

The source for a table which presents the support for the Viet Nam War by age is as follows: http://www.seanet.com/~jimxc/Politics/Mistakes/Vietnam_support.html

Now, Erb, I would like you to look over the referenced table I just plugged into the conversation. As it shows, support for the war was relatively high at the beginning and sagged with time. From the referenced table here are a few spot numbers:

May 1965 - Age 30 or Less: 61% - Age 30-49: 59% - Age Over 49: 43%
Sep 1966 - Age 30 or Less: 53% - Age 30-49: 56% - Age Over 49: 39%
Feb 1968 - Age 30 or Less: 51% - Age 30-49: 44% - Age Over 49: 36%
Sep 1969 - Age 30 or Less: 36% - Age 30-49: 37% - Age Over 49: 25%
May 1971 - Age 30 or Less: 34% - Age 30-49: 30% - Age Over 49: 23%

I can see a correlation here between the length of the war and the lessening of support. I can remember those times because, as I approached draft age, the conduct of the war grabbed more and more of my attention. And the mamagement of the war became my major problem with the war - any situation where your objective is not to win but to avoid losing to me seemed a recipe for disaster. And from the referenced table, this seems to me more indicative of the feelings toward this war than any other.

But I digress. I am at a loss for where you get your documentation for your statements. If it is true, I would like to see it. So Erb, do us all a favor. Support your contention that this War (Iraq) has more opposition than Viet Nam. If you have supporting documentation that supports your claim - put it out there.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
So Erb, do us all a favor. Support your contention that this War (Iraq) has more opposition than Viet Nam.
1) The war in Iraq FAR more unpopular with professors that teach at universities in Maine than was the war in Vietnam; and
2) As, IMO, it is necessary for the US to lose the war in Iraq, in Erb’s opinion, then it follows, logically that THIS war is much more unpopular than the War in Vietnam was. If it weren’t more unpopular the US might wage it to a successful conclusion and that would be intolerable, at least to certain faculty in Maine.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://

The source for a table which presents the support for the Viet Nam War by age is as follows: http://www.seanet.com/~jimxc/Politics/Mistakes/Vietnam_support.html
That source certainly suggests that a majority did NOT support the Vietnam war after 1968. Assuming that information is accurate, then I was certainly wrong in saying that a majority always supported the war. It seems they did until about 1968, but not afterwards.

This is where I got information about support for the Iraq war:
http://pollingreport.com/iraq.htm
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The only thing those polls really show is the people aren’t really sure what they want...

Look at the questions and it’s clear to me that people are inconsistent.

For instance (and this type of thing is repeated in most of the polls):
"Do you favor or oppose the decision to send an additional twenty-one thousand five hundred troops to Iraq?"

31% Favor
63% Oppose
6% Unsure

"Would you favor or oppose Congress restricting funding for the Iraq war as a way to limit President Bush’s ability to send additional troops to Iraq?"

45% Favor
48% Oppose
7% Unsure

"What concerns you more — that Congress will go too far in pressing the President to reduce troop levels in Iraq, or that Congress will not go far enough in pressing the President to reduce troop levels in Iraq?"

41% Too Far
51% Not Far Enough
8% Unsure
So, people oppose the troops surge, are concerned Congress will not go far enough to reduce troop levels, but don’t want Congress to use funding to try and limit troops. I guess, that is one step to far. But, if you clearly want us out of Iraq, shouldn’t you be willing to do whatever it takes to get us out, and not resort to half measures?
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
So, people oppose the troops surge, are concerned Congress will not go far enough to reduce troop levels, but don’t want Congress to use funding to try and limit troops. I guess, that is one step to far. But, if you clearly want us out of Iraq, shouldn’t you be willing to do whatever it takes to get us out, and not resort to half measures?
Another poll on that page showed the public supporting Congress blocking funds, and saying that Congress should play more of a role in how the Iraq war is handled than the President. In general, I think the public is fed up with the war, but is worried about how we should end it.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Many of the protestors in the antiwar movement seem to be the same people who demonstrated against the war in Vietnam. Protest has become their reason for living. They travel across the land looking for venues to relive their youth. Age is catching up with them. Noam Chomsky,Nat Hentoff, and their groupies are dying off. They need replacements and can find them in the idealistic youth brainwashed by Americas educational system. Todays antiwar movement is not as exciting as Vietnam’s. Without the adrenalin kick, younger protesters will likely go the way of most of the demonstrators of yesteryear, jobs, family and the mainstream of American life.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
In general, I think the public is fed up with the war, but is worried about how we should end it.


I think this is how all wars end when they go on for a long period without a decision. Endless wars wind down due to exhaustion. A good example is the wars of the reformation which endlessly devastated Europe. It no longer takes a “hundred years” for this to happen. Today people, used to problems being neatly wrapped up in an hour on television, have little patience. The Bush administration sold Iraq, as a short easy war. When it dragged on for more than a “television hour” it lost its support.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
"That source certainly suggests that a majority did NOT support the Vietnam war after 1968."

February, 1968, also coincides with two major events of the era. The first is the end of the Tet Offensive. And the second is Walter Cronkite’s famous (or infamous, depending upon your point of view) "We Are Mired in a Stalemate" broadcast of 27 Feb 1968. To see a transcript of that broadcast go here:
http://www.richmond.edu/~ebolt/history398/Cronkite_1968.html

These two actions triggered a downturn in public support that essentially bottomed out and stayed steady after the beginning of the "Lottery" Draft system. At that point there were no more deferments for college or any other reason. "4F" or off to war you go if your Lottery number was low enough.

I make these statements not to put you down Erb, but to try and put some perspective in your statements. It is an easy thing to say Iraq has more opposition if you did not live through the Viet Nam era. And unless you are 45-50 years old or older, you have no real recollection of those times.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Well, neat thing is the side Erb finds himself on.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Nice to return from a weekend and see Dr Erb is back on form.
More people are against the Iraq war than Vietnam...

eh? Huh?
WTF?
More people are against....is he absolutely f*ck*....
Oh....that’s right, it’s Dr Erb.
Sorry, Emily Latella moment there....
As you were.

It had to happen though, he drifted too close to being reasonable last week on how we should handle Global Warming(tm).
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Nice to return from a weekend and see Dr Erb is back on form.
Is it really necessary to attack your opponent personally? It is possible to be sincere and wrong at the same time. It seem more effective to address the issues he raises, presenting the evidence, and try and change his mind. Ad hominem attacks only stiffen your opponent’s resolve. They may feel good, the rarely do good..
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
February, 1968, also coincides with two major events of the era. The first is the end of the Tet Offensive. And the second is Walter Cronkite’s famous (or infamous, depending upon your point of view) "We Are Mired in a Stalemate" broadcast of 27 Feb 1968. To see a transcript of that broadcast go here:
http://www.richmond.edu/~ebolt/history398/Cronkite_1968.html

These two actions triggered a downturn in public support that essentially bottomed out and stayed steady after the beginning of the "Lottery" Draft system. At that point there were no more deferments for college or any other reason. "4F" or off to war you go if your Lottery number was low enough.

I make these statements not to put you down Erb, but to try and put some perspective in your statements. It is an easy thing to say Iraq has more opposition if you did not live through the Viet Nam era. And unless you are 45-50 years old or older, you have no real recollection of those times.
Yes, Cronkite’s famous statement and the surprise of the Tet offensive pushed opinion against the war. Even though Tet was a military failure for the North, it caused the nation to completely lose faith in Johnson. I do remember Vietnam, but I was not yet old enough to be really engaged. My first political activities was, as a 12 year old, going door to door in support of Richard Nixon against a Senator from my home state of South Dakota.

The CNN Cold War series actually had a good episode on Vietnam (going through 1968).

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Ad hominem attacks only stiffen your opponent’s resolve.
I kinda like the idea of inducing my opponents to show integral windup along the stupid axis.
They may feel good, the rarely do good..
Voltaire’s prayer, dude.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Yes, Cronkite’s famous statement and the surprise of the Tet offensive pushed opinion against the war. Even though Tet was a military failure for the North, it caused the nation to completely lose faith in Johnson
Think about what you just said for a minute.....you’re thisclose to indicting your anti-war side both then and now.

Correctly of course, but I point it out because I’m practically 100% positive you really don’t know the import of what you just typed.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"in Iraq, we are left with lots of bad choices"

This, from interview of the weekend, pretty much describes Social Security as well.

I suggest .. drinking heavily.

 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I suggest .. drinking heavily.
Single Malt Scotch
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://

Yes, Cronkite’s famous statement and the surprise of the Tet offensive pushed opinion against the war. Even though Tet was a military failure for the North, it caused the nation to completely lose faith in Johnson
Think about what you just said for a minute.....you’re thisclose to indicting your anti-war side both then and now.

Correctly of course, but I point it out because I’m practically 100% positive you really don’t know the import of what you just typed.
What I said is accurate; the Tet offensive was a military failure for the North. They hoped to incite a mass uprising in the South, and it failed. While the scope of the offensive surprised even Westmoreland, the US military was able to quickly beat it back and the North suffered huge loses.

Johnson had been feeding the US optimistic assessments of the war, and most Americans did not expect this kind of fighting, which even hit the US embassy in Saigon. They decided they could not trust Johnson any more, and the war didn’t seem worth it. At least that’s my understanding of it (I was too young then to really experience it).

And...

"I suggest .. drinking heavily."

Single Malt Scotch
Preferably Lagavulin.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Sorry to take exception with you Erb but this more than a minor point. While it is true the Tet Offensive was a military disaster to the Vit Cong and the North, we did not know that for some time.

You are right - the Johnson Administration had been feeding the public with optimistic assessments of the conduct of the war. And the surprise of a supposedly defeated army rising up and taking the offensive even to the streets of Saigon and capturing the US embassy - all in Prime Time - caught the entire nation off guard. But the point here is we did not know how badly the North or the Viet Cong had been hurt!

And, while US troops gave ground during the offensive they ultimately won every fight they were involved with, the impact of this overwhelming attack seized the imagination of the US. People questioned the Administration’s ability to handle the war. Is this "winning"? Again, the question became not the cause but the management of the war. McNamara and Johnson’s micro-management of the conflict had ultimatley led to a disaster, not in the military sense but in one of public confidence. And again, from my perspective, it was from an attitude of trying "Not to lose" rather than just knuckling down and getting the job done.

It seems funny, in a very sad sort of way, that 4 years later essentially a Nixon temper tantrum over the North’s departure from the Peace Talks in Paris led to Limebacker II - the intense bombing campaign of the North which, in a campaign that lasted less than 10 days, directly led to the North’s return to the Peace Table and signing the peace accords within 60 days.

Peace Through Superior Firepower! And the will to use it!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Sorry to take exception with you Erb but this more than a minor point.


OK, as long as you don’t take exception to Lagavulin.

I really didn’t realize that the Tet offensive took so long to be seen as a military defeat for the north. I was too young to be following the news, and of course the histories all note it as a military defeat, so I assumed that most people at the time realized that as well. Thanks for the info.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Back in November 2002 the conservative website World Net Daily did some outstanding investigative reporting on ANSWER, which at that time was leading the opposition to the war in Iraq. It is very long, but worth reading in its entirety.


Ironically, apart from the work of Chistopher Hitchens, the best response I’ve ever seen to the anti-war movement was written bythese old-school Marxists. (H/T Protein Wisdom).
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Protesters are hardly ever credible anymore, if they ever were.And I mean both pro and anti. It is a colorful game, but has no great impact on mainstream thinking.
If anyone here has ever changed their mind because of a protest demonstration please let me know about it.
 
Written By: darohu
URL: http://
What I said is accurate; the Tet offensive was a military failure for the North
WRONG

Tet was a huge success for the North, not a failure. Giap encouraged the believe of the Southern based Viet Cong, that a popular uprising would break out if the VC launched attacks and seized strategic cities. He knew that was a lie. The Tet offensive didn’t have a chance and the leadership in the North knew it.
Giap designed Tet not for success but failure. The VC had been showing signs of independence, questioning the North’s leadership. Hanoi could not allow that. Giap’s papers show he thought if the VC seceded, that would be nice, but would make it more difficult for Hanoi to control the South. He believed there was virtually no chance of that happening. Instead of victory, Giap was looking to destroy those troublesome southerners who my be competition for control after the Americans left.
Tet succeeded wilder than the North could believe. Not only were the VC destroyed, and replaced by regular North Vietnamese troops loyal to Hanoi, the American media misinterpreted the battle as a disastrous loss. That misinterpretation and the American public reaction to it assured the unification of Vietnam under the control of Hanoi.
What America never understood was, Vietnam had been fighting for it’s independence for millennia, longer than the United States had existed. History had shown the Communists they could keep fighting until they won, even if it meant centuries of war. Vietnam had done this time and time again during it’s long past.

 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
What America never understood was, Vietnam had been fighting for it’s independence for millennia, longer than the United States had existed.
Oh? Korea hasn’t?

What were the two major differences between the NVA 1972 offensive and the 1975 one?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
What were the two major differences between the NVA 1972 offensive and the 1975 one?
The first was a Debacle due to American support, the second a Victory due to lack of American support.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Are these war protestors—I’m sure they support the troops—being unprofessional or accidentally honest.

http://www.drudgereport.com/effigy.jpg

Yep, in Portland, those are war protestors burning our soldiers in effigy.

HT Drudge.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://

 
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