To the Editor:

James Kirchick ’06 is right (“The anti-war movement’s disgusting side,” 3/26); there is plenty of juvenile thoughtlessness in the anti-war movement. But this is true for just about any movement. Just scanning the news for the past few days, I find these interesting and not-too-mature spectacles in the pro-war movement: a tractor in Louisiana smashing a collection of Dixie Chicks CDs, a resolution to transport American soldiers buried in France across the Atlantic, a Congressman stating his desire to send back the Statue of Liberty (and numerous petitions to the same effect) — I’ve been told to “stop eating paint chips” for saying that the U.S. lacks international support (as if a basic statement of fact requires mental delusion), and I’ve been called a “pro-Saddam fascist” and told to “go back to my country,” which is interesting since I’m a native citizen. Then there’s the recent poll showing that 44 percent (more than half the percentage who support the war) of Americans believe that Hussein was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks. Bush himself has never made this assertion, and there’s as much evidence for it as there is for the claim that Israel knew of the Sept. 11 attacks in advance.

I could go on, but there’s no point. Pointing out absurdities and childlike behavior in a movement is a pitiful excuse for an argument. It reminds me of so many Israel-Palestine debates, many of which seem to come down to who can list the greater number of atrocities. I’m not accusing Kirchick of being childish, and he makes some interesting points toward the end of his column, which I find unpersuasive for reasons I don’t need to go into because I lack space and because they can be found in any decent newspaper. But both sides to the debate have their dark sides: plenty of war supporters are openly racist, and both sides on campus have torn down each other’s posters. These are deplorable, and shouldn’t be ignored. But characterizing the whole anti-war movement as epitomized by “mindless clowning” is simply intellectually dishonest.

Aatif Iqbal ’05

March 26, 2003