Thursday, October 26, 2006

Protesting for Peace





This post is a follow up to the article entitled, “Peace in the Middle East”. As I mentioned in the comments of that post, I have to write a separate article in order to discuss the aims of the Peace Movement and the resulting backlash from their efforts.

At any given protest you will find Peace-loving Hippy types, well-meaning Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, Islamists, Anti-globalization militants, Conspiracy Nuts, Anti-Semites, Women’s Rights Activists, etc… Many of them are not Pacifists at all and actually support violence against the US and Israel. However, I will primarily write about those who are truly Pacifists (but their alliance with activists who support violence cannot be ignored).

Pacifists have a wonderful world-view where violence is not necessary and all problems can be solved peacefully. Any rational person must admit that if humanity is going to survive the next couple of hundred years we will have to evolve into higher beings that can live by such a code of behavior. Yet it is not realistic to believe that our planet can operate in this fashion today. It would be like a fish that evolved legs to walk on land without the ability to breathe air. This fish would be foolish to attempt to live exclusively on dry land until it can evolve to meet its new environment.

So how far has our society reached on the evolutionary scale?

In the Western World our Democratic form of government has developed many checks and balances against militarism. We have civilian controlled militaries, popularly elected leaders, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. Today, all other forms of government fail to offer similar liberties or restrictions upon their militaries and leaders. It can also be noted that none give their citizens the extent of representation that we do. Take a look at the alternative:

Dictatorships - usually ferment a cult of personality around its leader and the state exists primarily to serve that individual. Examples; Syria, Saddam’s Iraq, Hitler’s Germany.

Totalitarian Communism - typically only allows one political party and the state exists to serve that party exclusively. Examples; North Korea, Cuba, the Soviet Union, China and Vietnam.

Theocracies - are subject to religious law and the state exists to serve its religion. Examples; Saudi Arabia and Iran.

I am not telling you anything that you do not already know. It is necessary to stress this point because the Peace Movement is unique to Liberal Western countries and yet it is taken for granted by its citizens.

Where there is freedom of speech and assembly – the Peace Movement flourishes.

Where civil liberties are suppressed – Peace Activism withers.

So when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait there were no protests on Iraqi streets or criticism from their news media. In 1990 the US began to form a coalition to evict Saddam from Kuwait and all major American cities hosted large protests in response. Even in war time Democracies have evolved to tolerate such public displays of dissent. I must point out once again that you will only find such tolerant governance from Liberal Western countries.

While the US has a long history of peace activism, throughout the existence of the Soviet Union that country never cultivated a viable Peace Movement. All unsupervised political activism was not tolerated and the freedom of assembly was non-existent. As a matter of fact, you can almost measure the degree that a country is an enemy of the US by how much it suppresses the freedom of speech of its own citizens.

Let’s be fair to those members of the Peace Movement that are sincerely Pacifists. They really want to have a world where all people live in equality and harmony. The problem is not their good intentions, it is the results of their actions. There is a great slogan that really sums up the approach that they use to achieve their noble goals, “Think Globally, Act Locally”.

Grassroots organizations can indeed make a positive difference when coordinated on a large scale. Unfortunately, the Peace Movement is limited to Western countries. Activists that go to Cuba, North Korea or any other totalitarian country are only tolerated if they advance the interests of the leaders of their host country. Wouldn’t it be great if the Peace Movement began to formulate strategies for building independent peace movements in those countries?

Strange things can happen to a Peace Activist who goes to a war zone and makes a sincere effort to help innocent non-combatants. The story of Marla Ruzicka revealed that the extremist politics of the Peace Movement only hurts their ability to perform humanitarian tasks.

Marla Ruzicka was a protégé of Medea Benjamin, the leader of the prominent anti-war group, Code Pink. Ruzicka was everything a compassionate Peace Activist should be, but her desire to honestly help Iraqi civilians took her on an unexpected path.

She originally went to Iraq as a part of Occupation Watch, a defunct organization that had a rabid anti-American agenda. Instead of focusing on anti-occupation activities, she became more concerned with helping Iraqi civilians. Despite widespread propaganda that US troops are blood thirsty murderers, Ruzicka’s experience on the ground changed her stance on this issue. The partisan activities of Occupation Watch were inhibiting the effectiveness of her humanitarian activities so she left the organization and formed her own, The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC).

This allowed her to fully engage the US military to assist her efforts. Ruzicka’s relationship with US troops could be best summed up in the following quote, “I’m constantly hitting them up for help, and I have learned that for the most part, they are anxious to help”. By ditching her anti-Americanism she was able to better assist the Iraqi civilians that she truly cared about.

This dramatically changed the former anti-war activist. Early in Bush’s first term she had interrupted a speech by the President and had to be forcibly removed from the event. A couple of years later she declared that, “These days, I’d rather have a meeting with President Bush than yell at him”. Ruzicka had become a tireless lobbyist for Iraqi civilians and helped secure millions of dollars worth of aid in order to assist the victims of violence in Iraq. Her hard work helped many Iraqi civilians file claims for medical care and compensation for the loss of loved ones. Sadly, she was killed last year in a bomb attack by Iraqi insurgents.

It is almost certain that she wasn’t the target of the bombing and was accidentally killed in an attack aimed at civilian contractors. However, Iraqi insurgents have been known to intentionally execute human rights activists. Margaret Hassan and Tom Fox were brutally murdered despite their humanitarian efforts. (Fox actually campaigned on behalf of incarcerated insurgents, but this still did not earn him any mercy. Luckily, his fellow kidnapping victims were rescued by US troops before they could be killed.)

These insurgents have no interest in allowing Iraqis to enjoy any measure of peace or prosperity. Yet US troops are committed to the reconstruction efforts that these insurgents seek to destroy. The Department of Defense has spent over 9.7 billion dollars on the Iraqi reconstruction. Our troops are involved in projects that are building or renovating the following types of facilities:

  • Power generation and distribution
  • Oil production and refinement
  • Water and Sewerage treatment and distribution
  • Health services
  • Education
  • Security and Justice
  • Transportation and Communications
If US troops were to pull out of Iraq these projects would stop, but the violence won’t. It will get worse. There will be no one to stand between the Sunnis and Shiites. It’s a thankless job and hopefully time will give credit to our brave men and women.

So is the Peace Movement on the right side? Perhaps most activists will say that they are on neither side. After all, Peace Activists are dedicated to doing everything they can foster an environment where all problems are resolved peacefully. In itself, this is a worthy goal. To accomplish this they use their activism to limit America’s ability to wage war. These efforts include protesting, fighting military recruitment, publishing critical literature targeting the US, lobbying for a withdrawal from Iraq, supporting politicians with similar outlooks and opposing those in favor of the reconstruction.

The only problem is that for every action, there is a reaction. Overall their efforts are actually making it easier for America’s enemies to wage war. Peace Activism is a single-edged sword. It only cuts free societies while dictatorships and terrorists go unscathed. There are many benefits from Peace Activism, but almost all negative consequences solely afflict democracies. Now this is not the intention of sincere activists, it is an unforeseen consequence of their actions.

Since Peace Activists have lined up behind Islamists and Baathists on almost every foreign policy issue, I could claim outright that they have taken sides with our enemies. If you go back to spring of 2003 there was a peace group called, “The Human Shield Action to Iraq”. They went to the country to serve as human shields for Saddam Hussein. I wrote a post a while ago about their debacle, “Saddam Hussein Triumphant”. This is a good example of what I am talking about.

It is important to point out that these activists don’t side with the enemy because they sympathize with their violence. They have just confused Muslims with terrorists. In the aftermath of 9/11 there was an annual event called, “National Day of Solidarity with Muslim, Arab, and South Asian Immigrants!”. It was a worthy cause to bring attention to the difficulty that Muslims faced as a result of the fear caused by the attacks.

Unfortunately, they only used this problem as a platform for their partisan politics. The linked statement declares, “All Muslims, citizens and non-citizens, are regarded as potential terrorists or traitors…” From beginning to end they completely gloss over the difficulty of stopping terrorists due to the fact that they disguise themselves as harmless civilians. It’s not like Al Qaeda operatives wear uniforms when conducting suicide attacks.

They then go on to make predictable comparisons to Nazi Germany. Yet there were no Jewish terror attacks that blew up German office buildings or indiscriminately targeted German civilians. Furthermore here in America there are no concentration camps, no racial superiority theories and no mass murder… There is only misleading propaganda.

Whenever a country suffers from a terrorist attack the government is caught in a Catch 22. If they take appropriate self-defense measures, then the Left will accuse them of being oppressive. If they appear too weak against the terrorists, then they will be harshly attacked by the Right. In this environment there is little incentive for terrorists to give up violence because their tactics will always give them political gains.

It really isn’t in the best interests of terrorists to give up violence because they will then become irrelevant. To stop a terrorist you either have to kill them or give them what they want. But look at the Gaza Strip, Southern Lebanon and Chechnya. When Israel and Russia pulled out of those regions the terrorists continued their war. It is not oppression that causes terrorism to spread, it is success. When Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip the Palestinians viewed it as a triumph and voted to give Hamas a majority government. Hamas became drunk with power and continued its assault on Israel while fighting in the streets with Fatah in an attempt to seize total power.

A barometer of the worthiness of any “resistance” movement is the level of violence that it creates. The more violence that it perpetrates, the more the Peace Movement supports it. The struggle of the people of Tibet is worthy of a couple of movies, but their cause is marginalized because they do not use terrorist tactics against the Chinese. Pavlov’s dog would be conditioned to equate violence with justice in this context. In such a scenario terrorists are not afraid to make genocidal attacks like 9/11, 4/11 or 7/7. They know that condemnations of these attacks will be muted by Pacifists and Socialists. They can also gleefully count on Western extremists to condemn their own governments for the attacks. Terrorism will always exist as long as it can count on the tacit support of the Peace Movement.



23 comments:

nanc said...

i don't believe there is a system man can create to give us peace.

morning fern!

p.s. doesn't mean we shouldn't keep looking for it.

Anonymous said...

Hey do I detect a product placement ad
in the first picture. All the far left types will be furious about the Freedom Now sign.

Freedomnow said...

Nanc,

I think that it is possible, but not in the near future. Something has to be done about totalitarian regimes first.

The Peace Movement has to stop being a pawn for these regimes and help put pressure on them to allow greater freedom for their people. The next time any Code Pink activists go to Cuba maybe they should say something about the country’s political prisoners and lack of free speech.

Theoretically, a prosperous and free world would have little reason to go to war. Democracies have made great strides in those endeavors. Its time to put things in proper context.

Freedomnow said...

Beak,

It’s funny that Democracy Now is against Democracy for Iraq. How about a sign that says, “Democracy Sometimes”?

nanc said...

your subscription to "oh boo" moments should be arriving sporadically in the next six weeks - we've debited your bank card for $39.95 for the first three months (your 100% savings is included in the cost).

we aim to please - or was that we're pleased to aim???...

Always On Watch said...

FN,
You made a recent comment to Duck at my site. See my comment to find out what he stepped in. LOL.

Anonymous said...

"The struggle of the people of Tibet is worthy of a couple of movies, but their cause is marginalized because they do not use terrorist tactics against the Chinese"
Well said buddy.

Freedomnow said...

For the observant among you, you might have noticed that the date blogger identified this post being published, thurs the 26th is incorrect. It should have read fri the 27th. That is because I created it as a draft first and forgot to update the date stamp before publishing. Sorry, I just noticed that...

nanc said...

now, apologize for sleeping in...

Freedomnow said...

Oh I'm proud of that. Plus I slept in an extra hour to honor the time change!!!!!!!

I prefer to go to bed in the morning, not wake up...

Freedomnow said...

thats what the afternoon is for!

nanc said...

BOO!

nanc said...

FERN - peedoffamerican from mbc showed up at beamish last night!

American Crusader said...

Nicely written and well thought. I've always wished that some of these peace activist were forced to live temporally under a harsh restrictive régime where their rights to protest never existed.
I wonder what they would think of their experience and how it would affect them.
Soldiers died so they could have these rights and they should appreciate that.
Saudi Arabia..Theocracy or Monarchy?
Their politics are conflicting and confusing.

Freedomnow said...

Thanks AC,

Please dont ask such disturbing questions. Its way outside the comfort zone of our anti-American activist friends.


Nanc,

You are the cheif librarian and census taker...

nanc said...

i hope he comes back! it's been over a year since we've seen him...

nanc said...

fern? mama z goes into the hospital today to have baby boy z at 12:30 p.m. est! madze has a great post up regarding this.

nanc said...

o.t. completely - "obsession" on fox this weekend:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,227057,00.html

American Crusader said...

I checked out our friend "Mikhail's" blog.
Predictable rant with zero readership.

Freedomnow said...

As you can see I just deleted his spam comment.

Chalk it up as another strange episode in the mock-u-drama of blogging...

nanc said...

fern?

Freedomnow said...

sorry nanc, I finally got everything out of the way and its time to go out dancing.

Hopefully there will be a post tomorra...

nanc said...

i'd rather see you out dancing!