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Jewish World Review Oct. 8, 2001 / 21 Tishrei, 5762

James Lileks

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"We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut" -- A PROGRESSIVE group called ActforChange has announced that they will send your disapproving e-mail to the Taliban. Direct from your warm, comfy dorm to diplomats in Pakistan. We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut, friends - just start typing for peace! One small problem: the Taliban itself. This is a government that beats people to death for playing cards. It takes a special breed of moral imbecile to believe their hearts will be softened by the entreaties of pacifistic spam.

But in the protestorıs world, the actual effect of oneıs actions is immaterial. What counts is holding forth a standard that ensures your civilization dies in a state of moral purity. Every response to aggression should have the same effect as the Polish Cavalryıs assault on Nazi tanks - gallant, doomed, and above all symbolic. Hence the march on DC September 29th.

The International Action Center coordinated the rally - and who are they, you ask? According to their website, theyıre dedicated to ³resistance to US Militarism, War, and Corporate Greed.² Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark is one of their luminaries, and the site reflects his US-Out-of-North-America worldview. Judging from the position papers and articles on the site, they live in that Bizarro world of American politics where Fidel is champion of freedom, Saddam is a victim, and North Korea is an innocent victim of American imperialism. These people would take Lex Luthorıs side against Superman.

True to the belief that evil can best be combatted with ponderous acronyms, theyıve assembled a new anti-war group, and called it the International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). The list of signatories condemning Bush had all the usual suspects - labor organizers from AFSCME, a transgendered Mumia advocate, Greens, dovish Jews, and other sorts whoıd be shot on day one should the terrorists win. The ANSWERites were busy protesting a war that had not started, had assumed no form - indeed, they were protesting during a period in which the United States did exactly what the protestors demanded. The administration sought international approval and used non-military means to combat bin Ladin, i.e. diplomatic isolation, asset confiscation. Youıd think the administration would get credit for that - but no. Protestors have a script, and you canıt move them off it.

"I don't think the solution to violence is more violence," said one protestor. Letıs remember that the next time the anti-globalists trash a neighborhood to protest genetically modified tomatoes. Her opinion was echoed in another protest in Berlin, where anti-American marchers hung a sign that read ³War is no solution.²

One hates to bring up something as inconvenient as history, but war was a jack-dandy solution to your nationıs Final Solution. By the protestorsı logic, D-Day was just a big karmic disaster - if weıd just waited, the Nazis would have collapsed of its own weight, just like the USSR. Granted, it wouldnıt have happened until 1977, and by then Europe would have been blonde and blue-eyed from Gibralter to the Urals. But at least we wouldnıt have stooped to their level.

The protestors arenıt invoking some universal ideal. Theyıre very specific about who they hate - Us - and who gets a pass, namely Them. Every state thatıs implemented their ideals of egalitarian collectivism has resulted in tyranny, death and repression - but apparently you have to break a few hundred million eggs to perfect your omelette recipe. Every state whose cause they champion was birthed in war and violence, but somehow thatıs okay. If violence is bad, shouldnıt Uncle Ho just learned to love life under the French? Shouldnıt Fidel have gotten a job as a croupier casino instead of being violent? Shouldnıt the Sandinistas have sat down with the Contras and met them halfway?

Apparently, thereıs violence, and thereıs ³struggle.² Itıs okay to fight a war on behalf of the ³people.² As long as the people arenıt American.

Of course they have the right to protest. They have the right to demand the US withdraw from the world. Theyıre entitled to believe that the PLO and other such groups want coexistance with Israel. Theyıre welcome to believe in the goodness of Arafat and Loch Ness Monster. Theyıre entitled to march, and chant, and email, and light candles. They are, after all, Americans.

And Americans, as the protestors never tire of pointing out, are frequently idiots.

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2001, James Lileks