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War Protests are Patriotic Demonstrations but Protestors are Inconsistent
by John David Powell
5 March 2003

Are protesters against the war for humanitarian reasons? Or are they motivated by some other reason? This article submits that protesters are against Bush, not the war.

If patriotism is defined as love or devotion for one’s country, then bravo to the hundreds of thousands of US citizens demonstrating love of country over the past few weeks through the exercise of constitutional right to free speech and assembly in protest of the impending war with Iraq. Whether these folks are well intentioned and sincere (as they contend), or whether they are mindless dupes of America haters (as hard-line conservatives charge), they should be commended for their passion and their courage to express their beliefs.

The US Constitution permits public comments and demonstrations as long as they fall within the law. We must not only allow free expression, but we must also encourage debate of all views, including those we find personally repugnant.

In fact, even the anti-war organizers demand respect for all views within their ideological spectrum -- sometimes. A political brouhaha brewed over the exclusion of a rabbi who, on occasion, speaks ill of one of the organizing coalitions because of its stance regarding Israel.

San Francisco rally organizers defended the rabbi’s exclusion from their demonstration as the result of an agreement among the coalitions to bar anyone who ever bad-mouthed any of the organizers. Bay Area United Against War, Not in Our Name Project, International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, and United for Peace and Justice issued a statement that noted “within the anti-war movement, there is a wide spectrum of diverse and opposing views regarding Israel and Palestine.”

And this crack in the coalition is where their arguments come apart. Such opposing views of Israel and Palestine consist of believing one side should obliterate the other through acts of war or gross violations of human rights. Peaceful coexistence between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims is not an option to some anti-war leaders, which begs the question: If not peace, then what?

Consistency, therefore, is important when you want folks to take seriously your sincerity. And consistency is decidedly lacking among the no-war demonstrators.

Religious leaders are consistent in their anti-war stance, as one expects. For the pope to say, “No war, more talk,” is not news. For the pope to say, “Kill the Iraqi bastard!” is news. That is why the presses do not stop when groups of clerics sign petitions against war with Iraq.

The International Orthodox Peace Fellowship, headquartered in The Netherlands, is another example. This group opposes all wars, and is opposed to abortion and capital punishment. These folks, in other words, are consistent in their pro-life stance. During the 1999 US/NATO air war against Serbia and Kosovo, the OPF condemned the bombings on humanitarian and religious grounds, which was incidental to the fact that Orthodox Christians were the ones dying from US bombs dropped in defense of Muslim terrorists. The irony is breathtaking, isn’t it?

That nasty little war is a fine example of the hypocrisy that pervades today’s anti-war movement. Make no mistake about it, the organizers of these rallies are not anti-war, they are anti-THIS war and anti-THIS administration.

Need proof?

Where were they while the Muslim Sudanese government killed millions of Christian civilians, raped Christian women, and sold Christian children into slavery? Maybe to them, war is okay when it involves African Christians.

Where was their indignation when Rwanda’s Hutu madmen used machetes to chop to death nearly a million Tutsis? Maybe to them, war is okay when it involves Africans whose names they can’t pronounce.

Where were the marches against Albanian Muslim gangsters who sold dope and women to raise money for weapons, which was used in a war to topple an elected government, with the help of US bombs? Maybe to them, war is okay when it protects the flow of drugs and sex.

And, indeed, where were the anti-war Hollywood elite when US bombs destroyed Serbian churches, homes, schools, and hospitals, killing hundreds of Christian children in the pretext of stopping ethnic cleansing of Muslims? Maybe war is okay when waged by a fellow traveler.

None of these examples of inconsistency matter to the majority of the millions who took to the streets over the weekend, and who will continue their giddy pseudo marches for peace.

But that’s okay. Even weekend peace warriors deserve their days of rage. Those who thirst for war must encourage the protests of those who question. Screaming radio talk show hosts must turn off their acerbic rhetoric and support everyone’s right to peaceful dissent without fear of intervention by government troops and incarceration in soccer stadiums.

Rally behind each other’s rights, boys and girls, and send the one message guaranteed to scare the beards off of those who wish us harm: freedom lives!


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John David Powell is an award-winning writer and Internet columnist, professional speechwriter, and contributor to the Christian Millennium History Project. He is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Published originally at www.Etherzone.com: republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.

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