Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Flawless Victory!

I'm kind of ashamed to link to a Christopher Hitchens piece, but oh well. When you're at a crunch at work, you got no other choices but to borrow from others. In effect, he summarizes all the problems I see with the antiwar movement and its weekend activities in one brutal slice. The characters running this are just so unscrupulous and so shady that they have no claim to moral legitimacy of any kind. And Hitch tells us why. Here we go.

I suppose that it is possible that he has never before come across "International ANSWER," the group run by the "Worker's World" party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the "resistance" in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the génocidaires in Rwanda. Quite a "wide range of progressive political objectives" indeed, if that's the sort of thing you like. However, a dip into any database could have furnished Janofsky with well-researched and well-written articles by David Corn and Marc Cooper—to mention only two radical left journalists—who have exposed "International ANSWER" as a front for (depending on the day of the week) fascism, Stalinism, and jihadism.

The group self-lovingly calling itself "United for Peace and Justice" is by no means "narrow" in its "antiwar focus" but rather represents a very extended alliance between the Old and the New Left, some of it honorable and some of it redolent of the World Youth Congresses that used to bring credulous priests and fellow-traveling hacks together to discuss "peace" in East Berlin or Bucharest. Just to give you an example, from one who knows the sectarian makeup of the Left very well, I can tell you that the Worker's World Party—Ramsey Clark's core outfit—is the product of a split within the Trotskyist movement. These were the ones who felt that the Trotskyist majority, in 1956, was wrong to denounce the Russian invasion of Hungary. The WWP is the direct, lineal product of that depraved rump. If the "United for Peace and Justice" lot want to sink their differences with such riffraff and mount a joint demonstration, then they invite some principled political criticism on their own account. And those who just tag along … well, they just tag along.

To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.

This group and coalitions brings out everything bad about left-wing politics in the same way that Pat Robertson brings out everything bad about right-wing politics. It's the reason that the effort is fronted and run by such loony bin hysterics that the antiwar movement cannot really catch the fire it might have been able to from the beginning. Even though I don't agree with the objectives of the antiwar movement, I desperately believe that we need one. We need a legitimate movement to challenge, critique, and denounce the mistakes made in the Iraq War, to remind us of it, to push politicians and everyone else to try harder. Unfortunately, the current antiwar movement not only doesn't seem capable of such things, they don't have any such goals. They are just plain stuck on stupid.