January 30, 2003
Are Bush's Critics Being Marginalized as Naïve, Leftist Loons?
10 Right-Wing Complaints Against the War on Iraq
Although Ronald Reagan got away with it and Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to, most celebrities who take political stands are often ridiculed and belittled. Actress Janeane Garofalo charges that this is purposely done and that some outlets, like FOX, CNN and Good Morning America, interview activist actors "so they can marginalize the [antiwar] movement" and diminish how diverse and substantial it is. "It's much easier to toss [the antiwar movement] off as some bizarre, unintelligent special-interest group," she told the Washington Post, adding that actors who are pro-war tend to be depicted by the media as heroes, while those arguing against war are treated like strange, George Bush-hating children.
Recently, articles in my e-mail suggest Garofalo is right. Capped by such balanced-sounding headlines as "War And the Fickle Left," and 'Wake Up, Peaceniks!" these articles make it clear: Those who oppose immediate, unilateral attacks are naïve and goofy, or, as one writer put it, "have their heads buried in the sand." In this light, it's easy to understand Garafolo's lament. Why are those opposed to hasty military action portrayed as a bunch of misinformed ditzes? Why do some paint the antiwar movement as the province of the far left, when there's a wealth of conservative opposition, too?
For your consideration, here are 10 non-leftist, non-peacenik complaints against the war in Iraq:
1) Norman Schwarzkopf
Yes, Stormin' Norman thinks the Bush administration may be rushing things a bit. "[B]efore I can just stand up and say, 'Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we need to invade Iraq,'" he told the Washington Post, "I guess I would like to have better information." Unlike his former comrades in the Bush administration, he supports acting with "a bit of prudence" and letting the U.N. weapons inspectors do their jobs. "I think it is very important for us to wait and see what the inspectors come up with, and hopefully they come up with something conclusive," he said. Though a conservative friend of the Bushes, he was also quite critical of Donald Rumsfeld. "Candidly, I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements Rumsfeld has made," he said, adding, "He almost sometimes seems to be enjoying it," which, in Schwarzkopf's experience, "is a sensation to be avoided when engaged in war."
2) Nobel Laureates in Science and Economics
Forty-one American Nobel laureates in science and economics, all of whom served as government advisors, issued a declaration opposing unilateral action against Iraq on the grounds that, even if it succeeded, such action would make America less safe in the long run. "The undersigned oppose a preventive war against Iraq without broad international support," the document reads. "Military operations against Iraq may indeed lead to a relatively swift victory in the short term. But war is characterized by surprise, human loss and unintended consequences. Even with a victory, we believe that the medical, economic, environmental, moral, spiritual, political and legal consequences of an American preventive attack on Iraq would undermine, not protect, U.S. security and standing in the world."
Some of these scientists worked in the Pentagon and on the atomic bomb and are certainly not representative of the traditional anti-war crowd.
3) Other Military Experts
In addition to Norman Schwarzkopf, other high-profile military officers have voiced concerns."You don't have license to attack someone else's country just because you don't like the leadership," former National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft told the BBC and London Times, later saying that war might unleash "an Armageddon in the Middle East"
General Anthony Zinni also scoffed at those who feel a war with Iraq might help stabilize the Middle East. "I don't know what planet they're on," he told the BBC. "Such a war would make the situation between Israel and the Palestinians much worse."
4) The World War II Generation
"Of all the generations studied by pollsters, these Americans -- now in their 70s, 80s and 90s -- are showing the most resistance to an invasion in Iraq in surveys of American opinion," the LA Times recently reported. Suspicious of the Bush administration's motives and leery of anything as un-American as preemptive military action, overwhelmingly, the Greatest Generation doesn't think this war's so great.
Anti-war groups are springing up from within veteran's ranks. There are the "Vietnam Veterans Against the War," "Gulf War Veterans For Common Sense" and "Soldiers' for Truth" to name a few. Another group, "Veterans' Call to Conscience," recently issued a statement expressing their opposition to war with Iraq and urging soldiers to question their orders: "Now we see our REAL duty is to encourage you as members of the U.S. armed forces to find out what you are being sent to fight and die for and what the consequences of your actions will be for humanity," they warn. "If you choose to participate in the invasion of Iraq you will be part of an occupying army. Do you know what it is like to look into the eyes of a people that hate you to your core?"
6) The CIA
Not known for being leftist peaceniks, the CIA nevertheless issued one of the most compelling reasons for not launching an attack: "Should Saddam conclude that a U.S.-led attack could no longer be deterred, he probably would become much less constrained in adopting terrorist actions." -- CIA October Threat Letter
7) Richard Butler
Though certain Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, former chief U.N. weapons inspector Richard Butler is nevertheless stunned by America's 'shocking double-standard' in dealing with Iraq. "The spectacle of the United States, armed with its weapons of mass destruction, acting without Security Council authority to invade a country in the heartland of Arabia and, if necessary, use its weapons of mass destruction to win that battle, is something that will so deeply violate any notion of fairness in this world that I strongly suspect it could set loose forces that we would deeply live to regret," he said.
8) Bob Novak
Even Bob Novak, who is often a cheerleader for the Bush administration, questions the agenda behind this war. Critical of any pretext "for a decision that's already been made at high levels of the U.S. government to change the government in Iraq," he spelled out the Bush's administration's real reason for waging war. "They want a war as a manifestation of U.S. power in the world and as a sign that the United States is capable of changing the balance of power and the political map of the Middle East," he said on a recent Capital Gang. Revealing that a senior official had told him, "If we don't hit in Iraq, where are we going to hit?" Novak added, quite bluntly, that "it's a desire that the United States, the superpower, is going to manifest its authority to the rest of the world."
9) Conservative columnist Paul Craig Roberts
Arguing that the upcoming war on Iraq "is likely the most thoughtless action in modern history," Roberts describes the war's two primary supporters as being neoconservatives who want to impose America's 'exceptionalism' on the rest of the world and foreign policy advisers "who believe that the primary aim of U.S. foreign policy is to make the Middle East safe for Israel."
None of this involves America's national security, of course, and so, like many of us, he questions the dubious reasons we're given for waging war.
10): Republican Businessmen
Conservative businessmen ran an ad in the Wall Street Journal entitled, 'A Republican Dissent on Iraq.' "Let's be clear," they stated in an open letter to President Bush and the American people. "We supported the Gulf War. We supported our intervention in Afghanistan. We accept the logic of a just war. But Mr. President, your war on Iraq does not pass the test. It is not a just war." The group pointed out that war should always be the last option and explained that the U.S. would create "a billion enemies," not security for our children. They also invoked the Revolutionary spirit that made this country great: "War with Iraq is not inevitable," they reminded. "Now is the time to stop it. Speak out at your place of worship, at your business, among your friends and relatives. Make your convictions known to your Mayor and Governor and -- above all -- to your elected leaders in Washington."
If those 10 examples don't convince warmongers opposition isn't stemming from a bunch of wild-eyed leftist radicals, the chief ecumenical officer of the United Methodist Church, Melvin Talbert, is being featured in a commercial sponsored by the National Council of Churches -- spreading the message that "Iraq hasn't wronged us," and that the war will "only create more terrorists."
In a statement, Talbert criticized the Bush administration's plans to invade Iraq and take out Saddam Hussein, saying, "No nation under God has that right. It violates international law. It violates God's law and the teachings of Jesus Christ."
Although, come to think of it, the pro-war camp would most likely paint Christ as silly, addle-brained peacenik, too.
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