A Friendly Vermonter writes:
"By the Dawn's Blurry light", by Gluttony
Well, the war has begun and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. Regardless of whether or not you approve of this war, it is here and now. The Marines are heading for Baghdad and they are not stopping, 320 Tomahawks have hit Iraq and there is no way to call them back. Not at all surprising, the Anit-war movement in the United States and the rest of the world have failed to acknowledge this reality, further hindering their cause. Previous to the first shots being fired, millions of individuals took to the streets to stop the war before it started. These millions of individuals failed. Once the war began, millions of individuals took to the streets once again, this time engaging in more extreme and disruptive measures to stop the war. A mere glance at my television, tuned to FOX news, informs me that once again, these protestors have failed. They have failed in spite of the fact that the present anti-war movement is substantially larger than the movement to protest the US' role in Vietnam.
This should tell us something. The crowds of protestors are getting bigger, a more diverse collection of individuals are in attendance, rallies and demonstrations can be organized with greater alacrity and efficiency than ever before, and media coverage of these protests is more extensive than it has ever been. Despite these facts, the present anti-war movement has been profoundly lacking in its influence. For people who yell so loudly and proudly about their concern for the loss of innocent life and the horrors of war, they seem perfectly content to mash their thick skulls against the same brick wall. The message is clear for anyone who wants to see it, protests do not work. Protests kill weekends, bring friends together and add an exciting element to the otherwise dreary realm of politics. They are almost like weekend retreats, where DKNY-wearing dip shits pretend to be Navy Seals. Students, intellectuals, and other individuals attend these rallies believing that they are making a difference, when all that they are really achieving is an elevation of their self-esteem and an affirmation of their moral and political superiority. In other words, a bunch of people gather in a group; chanting slogans, waving puppets, staging demonstrations, playing music, screaming into loudspeakers, and walk away from the whole affair with the belief that they have accomplished something. Protests in the 21st century are an exercise in the magic of self-delusion.
If anti-war activists in the United States were to concentrate their organizational efforts on a nation-wide voting campaign for the '04 Presidential Election, George W. Bush might actually have to pay attention to these people's demands for the sake of his political career. Old, rich, white men control this country because they vote more than any other demographic. So long as our generation seeks political change through the strained and ineffective methods used by our parents, this relationship will remain as it is. Quick and decisive political evolution occurs best at the extreme ends of spectrum of legitimacy. In other words, either through completely legitimate means that alter the nuts and bolts of society, such as democratic votes, treaties or laws, or through completely illegitimate means, such as terrorism or armed revolt. Since most rational individuals are opposed to the latter, the need for responsible voting and lobbying become all the more clear. The middle ground between these two extremes seems to be quite limited in its utility.
If this is not enough to convince anyone, consider this. The United States military (at the time this post was written) is deep within Iraq. The Iraqi regulars are surrendering in droves. For Saddam, each passing day is accompanied by an increasingly lack of political and military organization. Perhaps I am jumping the gun here, but from all accounts this war is going very well. I have yet to hear any serious political commentary that suggests that Iraq will not be liberated in a very short time. If Bush can also manage to get the economy under some semblance of control, his economic competence and no-nonsense stance against terrorism will make him a electoral juggernaut. Whether or not you are an Ass or and Elephant, we as a country are staring down the barrel of another term with George W. If people want to stop this, they better get started now. And if you insist on resorting to signs and marches to combat this, you have no one to blame but yourself.