At 11:30 this morning, students and professors will gather in Beinecke Plaza for a rally sponsored by the Yale College Students for Democracy to express support for our troops as they enforce international law by disarming Saddam Hussein and freeing the Iraqi people from a repressive dictatorship. Unfortunately, the Yale antiwar movement is deceiving many students on this campus as to the nature of the rally, or even of its occurrence. On Monday, antiwar students produced and publicly displayed posters and flyers that read, “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS: OPPOSE THE WAR.” In direct contravention of University regulations, the top of the posters stated the name of the YCSD (as if it were sponsoring the antiwar protest), as well as the time and place of the rally. Over the past two days, advertisements by the YCSD, of which I am a member, have been repeatedly torn down or deliberately covered up by antiwar propaganda. Aside from being a petty exploit to slight the YCSD and hijack the event, this action more importantly cheats the Yale community at large. It speaks a great deal about the state of the antiwar movement.
As this nation fights a war not of its own choosing, it is necessary that we maintain a critical and vigilant eye on those who have consistently opposed our waging it. Reading the Yale Daily News’ coverage last month of the Yale Coalition for Peace’s delegation to the New York City anti-war rally on Feb. 15, I was not surprised to read this description of the protestors:
“As thousands of protesters trudged up Third Avenue in an attempt to reach the main rally area, which was on First Avenue, three protesters donning massive puppet heads of President George W. Bush ’68, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld entertained the boisterous crowd by taking turns pretending to have sexual intercourse with each other. After they were finished, they toasted the crowd by pretending to drink motor oil.”
Say hello to the anti-war movement, where such mindless clowning is par for the course.
The anti-war crowd is epitomized by such juvenile, thoughtless and insulting behavior. In San Francisco last week, anti-war protesters defecated outside the city’s Civic Center and vomited outside the Federal Building. Hardly anything of intellectual value emerges from those organizations opposed to war, organizations which lie on the most extreme reaches of the political fringe. For example, a leading anti-war organization, A.N.S.W.E.R (Act Now to Stop War and Racism), is a Stalinist front group of the militant World Worker’s Party, which has expressed support for Slobodan Milosevic and Kim Jong Il. The Yale Coalition for Peace has consistently attended A.N.S.W.E.R rallies in New York and Washington, and frequently posts A.N.S.W.E.R propaganda around campus.
People are convening in cities around the world, claiming to be concerned about a globally relevant issue yet only interested in displaying their hatred of the American president. They compare our president to a certain mid-20th century German dictator and portray him as sodomizing members of his administration. The organized anti-war movement has so far been unable to move beyond its playground mockery of President Bush and his administration, and their mantra of “No Blood for Oil,” has been so soundly refuted in both these pages and elsewhere that this tired political slogan is quickly becoming an anachronism. In 1998, when President Bill Clinton rightfully ordered the U.S. military to bomb Serbia without a U.N. resolution, there were few protesters. If Al Gore were president today, leading this war, the sidewalks outside the San Francisco Civic Center and Federal Building would not be public health hazards.
I was in New York the day of the protest, but decided against listening to Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, the racist Harry Belafonte (who has referred to Colin Powell as a “house slave” merely for his serving in the current administration) or any other self-righteous celebrity espouse their political viewpoints. However, when walking through Times Square, the protest came to me. Thousands of angry demonstrators invaded the center of Manhattan, and ironically, decided to abandon their calls for peace once confronted by New York City’s finest. The “peace’ protesters injured 8 police officers, kicking one officer in the head and beating another in the face. One protestor was so consumed with his love for peace that he expressed it by punching a police horse in the snout and dragging it to the ground.
President Bush’s shrewd decision to give Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq presented a situation that has told us everything we need to know about the anti-war movement. In giving the autocrat ample opportunity to escape, Bush placed full responsibility for this current crisis on Saddam. Yet, where were the anti-war protestors calling for Saddam to leave Iraq and spare the Iraqi people, whose plight they claim to be so worried about, the cruelties of armed conflict? If they are so concerned about international law and human rights, why are they not protesting the Iraqi regime’s killing our captured soldiers, a war crime? Every death, injury and act of physical destruction caused by this war is solely Saddam’s fault, and none of this would be happening now had he simply left Iraq when President Bush told him to. That not a peep of protest has emerged from the anti-war crowd about Saddam’s actions shows that this movement is motivated by one thing and one thing only: a fetishistic hatred of President Bush, irrespective of what the man does.
Now that the war is progressing well and news coverage is showing that many Iraqis are now happy to be free, the antiwar movement is becoming increasingly hateful and embittered. Since 9/11, the campus anitwar group has had a free ride to engage in their deceptive and manipulative tactics, but students at Yale are beginning to recognize the true nature of this intimidating organization. When the battle for Iraq is over and the rebuilding begins, those who identified with the antiwar movement should be exiled into the political obscurity (if they are not there already) that they will rightfully occupy alongside World War II-era isolationists and those who opposed our just wars in Kosovo and Afghanistan. The Iraqi people will remember who their friends were in their time of greatest need and desperation. They will most certainly count the United States military and not the Yale Coalition for Peace amongst them.
James Kirchick is a freshman in Pierson College. His column appears regularly on alternate Wednesdays.