objectively harming the war effort

LI harps like a monomaniac angel in the heavenly choir on the various sins of the zombies, the followers of our Rebel in Chief – and we do not harp enough on the various sins of the left. Or leftiers. Among which the worst, to our mind, has been the failure to protest and try to block this war after the invasion happened. The collapse of the anti-war movement – its incredible weakness, compared to, say, the anti-war movement in the Vietnam years – has really scorched us.

The failure is organizational and attitudinal. Re the latter: there is nothing left bloggers like better than to find some rightwing figure declaring that opposition to the war here has objectively harmed the war effort and to indignantly refute said rightwing figure.

To LI, the idea of objectively harming the U.S. war effort is WHAT WE ARE ALL ABOUT. From anti-recruiting to protest, the point is to cripple the U.S. war effort in Iraq, no more and no less. LI looks with longing at those peasant and worker movements in Latin America that have lately taken to blocking streets and roads and in general making economic activity impossible until their demands are listened to. An anti-war movement that is afraid of looking traitorous has given a hostage to the enemy that will render it null and void.

Take a generally good blogger, this guy Glenn Greenwald. He quotes, as though they were the most scandalous libels, some pro-war guy named Jeff Goldstein, who writes:

“And this is (and has been) a crucial component of the war—one that many on the anti-war side are loathe to admit: that their constant naysaying, though it is well within their right to voice, has objectively hurt the war effort, particularly when the criticism incorporates carefully-crafted falsehoods many of the war’s critics know for a fact to be objectively untrue.”

Toss out the falsehoods claim, which is the usual canned corn gone rotten. The whole point of the constant naysaying has been to objectively hurt the war effort. Damn right. No more and no less. That is the point. An anti-war movement that dare not speak its name is worthless.

Greenwald summarizes the pro-war viewpoint in this way, sarcasm clearly fronted: “It all would have worked had war critics just kept their mouths shut. The ones who are to blame are the ones who never believed in this war, who control no aspect of the government, who were unable to influence even a single aspect of the war, who were shunned, mocked and ridiculed, and who have been out of power since the war began. They are the ones to blame. They caused this war to fail.”

If only! The anxiety among the lefties – the “knife in the back” scenario that makes them reel back in horror, as if, o woe is me, the left will be blamed for what they should be doing and have shown themselves impotent to effect – is debilitating. LI is not just for a knife in the back but a fork up the butt of the whole effort, and we find the mindset that wants to combine the skills necessary to win the queen of the prom contest and those necessary to bring the troops home from Iraq ennervating, to say the least. Say it loud, little leftward ones – I want to objectively cripple the American war effort in Iraq. From the razing of Falluja to the hundred or so air sorties mounted by the Pentagon per month, I want it all to stop.

It has been, in fact, the last straw for us – we have seen more realism about the war in tepid liberals like Howard Dean than in supposed wild men lefties like Marc Cooper. The Howard Deans have grasped the issue instinctively. As have the Feingolds.

In fact, our one arriere pensee about bringing the troops home is less about crippling a monstrous war than about the availability of those troops for other wars. I have a sinking feeling that if troops had been withdrawn at the end of 2003, we’d be preparing those troops for the truly stupid idea of invading Iran. Instead, the U.S. is pretty unarmed when it comes to Iran, which might actually encourage some rationality.


Brian Miller said…
hard core, roger.

Not that I have any grounds to speak. All's that I do is comment on discussion boards and complain.
What war effort? I'm not being PoMo about this. There is no war effort. There's a declared state of exemption from any sane way to run a foreign policy. It includes the use of military force and a bunch of wingnuts running runnuing clamoring that this is goodly, moral, realistic . . . feasible! Feasible, if only people would stop hurting our feelings and anyway, the Democrats do it too so neener, neener. The only they got right is that Democrats do it too.

Right wing collectivists call everything they do a "war effort", especially something they hope to accomplish without any sacrifices or negative publicity. War has not been declared by the People's Chamber of Hacks and Shills. Even that flaccid fig leaf is missing. There was a mush mouthed authorization to give some angry pyromaniacs all the kerosene they wanted, and please take these civil liberties while you're at it. A million rugged individualists simultaneously farted out a paean to the victims of a terrorist attack they helped facilitate and it's been downhill ever since for people who care about some attempt to base some things on a realistic approach, never mind moral or legal, to the rest of the world.

The effort to obstruct the wailing, self-important ninnies has been drowned in that pit of infinite, triangulating sanctimony called the Democratic Party.
roger said…
But, and oh we chase ourselves round the maypole with this -- the party, whether Hagel's Republicans or Lieberman's democrats, are vehicles to be bullied and prodded -- antiwar movements just don't grow from the top down.

Dean seems to me, more and more, to have been truly smart about Iraq, and truly dumb about the politics -- he was surrounded with too many people like me, pointy heads lookin' for synergy, and not enough with the traditional movers and shakers. And definitely the appeal was all white.

But truly, I'm sick of naming this or that politician and thinking I'm doing politics. I'm much happier about the anonymous anti-registration activists, the Quakers and suburban moms and inner city dads, etc., etc. exercising the direct power that lies in our hands. This is an all volunteer army, after all. Don't follow leaders, watch parking meters -- like Elvis Presley disguised as Robin Hood once said.
I'm not blaming the Democratic Party, mind you. You can't blame a cesspool for stinking :-) I did get depressed and annoyed that so many people minded to do the same things I wanted to accomplish got sucked into it. Movements are much more diverse than parties, but fragile. I enjoy the time I spend with the real, minarchist righties; once it's established I'm not going to hand out pro-squirrel literature, and they are not going to induct me into a chimp squad, we get along famously. I even get along with people who agonize, shiver and then a dip a toe in the cesspool.

I'm going to reread that comment you made about Coleridge. It doesn't make sense to me yet, but it has clues I want.