by Ronald Radosh
WRITING in the online magazine Slate on December 4, Jacob Weisberg - who
supports the war against terrorism - chides those of us who have been aghast
at the attempt of unreconstructed leftists to create and build a new
anti-war movement. He takes to task both The New Republic and The Weekly
Standard; the first for regularly running an "idiocy watch" column listing
the weekly absurd declarations from sections of our intelligentsia; the
second for running its regular "Susan Sontag awards" for those who continue
to blame America first and who, like Katha Pollitt of The Nation, bragged
about how she refused to fly an American flag from her balcony after
September 11. There are so many candidates for entry that to this date, each
magazine has featured new entries and those which they have no room to print
are added to their websites.
What upsets columnist Weisberg is not that these people should be taken to
task for saying foolish things, but what he calls the implication that their
"comments represent a significant body of anti-war opinion." After all, one
can complain about the idiocy of Barbara Kingsolver's various recent
statements, but Weisberg writes, "she only published something in a
Milwaukee newspaper equating patriotism with terrorism." Actually Kingsolver
also published similar pieces in both The Los Angeles Times and The
Washington Post. She is, after all, a major American novelist, and stupid or
not, various op-ed page editors obviously feel her views are important
enough to be shared with the public, over and over again.
Weisberg does not seem to believe that the airing of such views, given the
imprimatur of major newspapers that such arguments are important, does a lot
to legitimize their arguments and even to convince others of their
worthiness. After all, if an intelligent writer like Kingsolver can make
such a case, some will say after reading her words, that then there is a lot
to what she says. That, of course, is what Kingsolver hopes, and what those
who publish her probably hope as well. But Weisberg is not content to
dismiss Kingsolver as irrelevant, as if her words mean nothing. He chastises
Christopher Hitchens for bucking his regular left-wing colleagues at The
Nation and elsewhere, including Noam Chomsky, because he says that Hitchens
"recognizes clinical symptoms that have been obvious to everyone else for
years." In other words-Jacob Weisberg believes that because he knows that
people like Sontag, Oliver Stone and Chomsky display "clinical symptoms,"
then clearly it is not worth Hitchens' time to criticize them. Evidently
Weisberg believes that few are convinced of anything by people like Chomsky
and the others he cites - something that the giant cult of Chomsky in many
of our nation's campuses clearly belies. And Chomsky knocks Hitchens for
falsely calling them "American liberals." Actually, Hitchens clearly writes
that those whose views he criticizes have ideas that are "sadly, not
uncommon on the political left." He says left, and not "liberal." And
writing as a man of that very left, Hitchens is making public his disdain
for them and their ideas. They have, he writes, "grossly failed to live up
to their responsibility to think" and are "substituting tired slogans for
thought." He may have erred when at his column's end, he does use the term
"American liberals." But if one reads the entire piece - there is no
mistaking whom he is criticizing; the liberal-left Establishment and its
would-be opinion makers. Weisberg should not worry. He is not among that
But Weisberg goes on to claim that actually, "even many non-liberal leftists
who have protested every military action since Vietnam aren't against this
war." As Rick Perlstein pointed out a few weeks ago in The New York
Observer, the left is split- and indeed- some old stalwarts of the '60s,
like Todd Gitlin, are flying the American flag and are supportive of the war
against terrorism. Yet, even Weisberg acknowledges the very truth of
Hitchens' argument that they will not fight "against an evil if that fight
forces us to go to the same corner as our own government." Weisberg writes
that the people at The Nation "can't bear to say that they support what the
United States is doing in Afghanistan." True enough. So what, then, is
Finally, Weisberg's venom is turned, of course, to David Horowitz, editor of
these pages. Here he resorts to ad hominem personal arguments, writing that
Horowitz "understands everything in terms of the Cold War and Vietnam," and
that if he did not have "an anti-American left to do battle against, his
life would be drained of all meaning." This cheap shot is reminiscent of the
psychologizing he engaged in two years ago, when writing in the pages of The
New York Times Magazine, he criticized Horowitz, myself, John Haynes and
others for hating our parents and fighting a Cold War that is over. He
cannot help but even blast Michael Kelly, whose columns of sanity he attacks
with the screed that Kelly "seems to need a treasonous anti-war movement to
stir his outrage and generate column inches." Perhaps, just perhaps, Jacob
Weisberg needs a strong anti-anti-war movement to get his goat and generate
column inches. His response is, indeed, precisely that of his magazine
article, in which what annoyed him was the anti-communism of those who did
not accept anti-anti-communism.
Weisberg ends on the note that people like him know of the anti-war movement
's "virtual nonexistence." They are wrong, he says-thereby having it both
ways - but they are "totally irrelevant." Since he cites the latest issue of
The Nation as an example, it is strange that he ignored the article (Dec.
17) by Liza Featherstone, "Students Wrestle With War." Ms. Featherstone is
listed as the reporter who regularly has been "covering the peace movement
for The Nation." The article, as one might expect, is written from the
perspective of those who want and desire the peace movement to grow, and to
stop the new aggressive policy of waging war against terrorism. More to the
point, Ms. Featherstone's main point contra Weisberg is that "This new peace
activism, which has already touched at least 400 campuses, builds on
networks and habits of dissent established by the student anti-corporate
movement, which has focused largely on economic justice.many of the
organizations.prominent in those campaigns are equally visible in anti-war
organizing." In other words, as many of us have argued, the
anti-globalization Left has shifted its direction and has tried to turn
itself into a new antiwar movement.
Moreover, Ms. Featherstone writes that "this war has inspired a far-flung
and passionate opposition movement." She cites a November 10 meeting of
"hundreds of student activists" held at scores of campuses, including Boston
University, Georgia State University, George Washington University, DePaul
University and the University of California, Berkeley, all convened to "plan
campaigns and establish coalitions." She talks of the "peace camps" set up
at the Universities of Indiana and Wisconsin and the University of
Pennsylvania. True, the students therein are now clearly in a minority, but
are most anxious to reach others and stop preaching to the choir. Ms.
Featherstone's remedies for that situation are rather comical. She notes
that for a short while, the peace movement could avoid attacking a popular
war at home by concentrating on what she calls "the humanitarian focus;" and
like Noam Chomsky, make the argument that the bombing was going to produce
starvation and prevent humanitarian aid and food from getting into
Afghanistan. But now, she writes, the argument that the bombing "made the
situation even worse" is falling apart, since now there are "reports that
more food aid was entering Afghanistan." The poor left-wing peace movement;
just when they thought they got an argument, reality interfered with it and
they are left back at the beginning. Indeed, she quotes one activist who
tells her "now the United States is helping, and the situation is
dramatically improving." It is hard, one can see from her writing, to
continue to attack the United States and to resist being in its corner this
time around. No wonder their new tactic is now to "turn their attention to
the 'war' at home;" to avoid the actual fighting and to attack the
administration for "racist scapegoating and the frightening assaults on
civil liberties." The Left, as usual, is not concerned with the issue of the
necessity of fighting the war against terrorism; its real goal is to oppose
the United States, and to use any and all arguments to create an antiwar
movement that will interfere with our necessary and just war.' If Weisberg
thinks that the magazine's other articles, accusing the Attorney General of
"terrorizing the Constitution" and accusing the administration of creating a
new "national security state" is meant to do anything but oppose the war
effort, he is living in fantasy land.
Most importantly, Jacob Weisberg ignores the fact that we are only a few
months into a war that is just beginning, and after the final collapse of
the Taliban, will undoubtedly become more difficult, and lead as well to
more American casualties. If we move to oust Saddam Hussein, as now seems
probable, we can be sure that the burgeoning anti-war movement will escalate
its propaganda, and manage to gain many new converts. We will hear new talk
about the new monstrous attempts to impose American hegemony on the world in
defense of oil and the American Empire. One also must recall that during the
early phases of the Vietnam War - way before the successful Vietnam
Moratorium of 1969 - the anti-war movement was as it is now, a small, vocal
and "irrelevant" minority. It took the entrance of thousands of American
troops, television pictures of the fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, and
the arrival at home of scores of body bags of dead GIs, as well as a mass
student population that sought to avoid Army service, that turned the tide.
If Jacob Weisberg were writing in 1965, let us say, he would undoubtedly -
as a liberal mainstream journalist - have supported the war and ridiculed
those who were concerned with the miniscule anti-war left. Now, Weisberg is
right when he says that "those opposed to the United States defending itself
against terrorism are wrong." But he is incorrect when he writes that "they
also happen to be totally irrelevant." To keep them irrelevant, we need to
do our part to knock down their arguments, and prevent others from moving
into their ranks. Weisberg should save his anger for them, rather than use
it attacking the likes of Michael Kelly and David Horowitz.
Ronald Radosh is author of Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New
Left and the Leftover Left, (Encounter Books,2001,) and is a columnist for
Gee, who can compete with that brilliance? It's amazing what they swallow as
"proof" or "truth" anymore.
http://www.riverandtheweirdkid.com - free webcomic updated weekly.
"Adults don't like it when we do childish things to be more like
"Matthew McGary" <mke...@wi.rr.com> wrote in message
"River and the Weird Kid" <riverw...@home.com> wrote in message
And your "arguments" are very amuzing fantasy because they come from the
lamestream media's sewage system of "journalism" as well as the DNC.
"Bruno" <luc...@satanslair.com> wrote in message
Only yours is for shit. By no way imaginable are you and the lamestream
media in the mainstream. Liberal media outlets do not reflect the make-up of
where the vast majority of the people are politically.
The loss of viewership by the mainstream three and CNN to FOX News is
testimony to the growing intolerance for the minority socialist views
broadcast "journalism" is trying to force upon the American People. The
Nation's majority is mainstream conservative, but broadcast journalism and
their parent entertainment media owners/controllers are left-wing socialist
and communist extremists. The Leftmedia is beginning to pay the price. FOX's
O'Reilly is blowing away CNN's Larry King. Herrrrrrraldo [a.k.a. Gerry
Rivers] is now a correspondent for FOX.
Conservatives must really hate not having anything meatier to bring.
I already gave many examples. Frontpagemag invented their own made-up titles
for articles that had *nothing* to do with liberalism. That's dishonest
journalism. They wrote summaries claiming that certain news stories said
things that were absolutely not part of the stories at all. They took
examples of any dissident thought and portrayed as hatred against America.
Truly frightening, and certainly a betrayal of the Conservative
self-proclaimed adoration for civil liberties and Constitutional freedoms,
not to mention Bush's assurances that our freedoms to disagree are
fundamental to America's necessary strengths.
> >And, um...and you Liberals are stupid, and you have weird
> >screen names!"
> Is this anything like the cacophony of leftist idiots calling Bush
> dumb, in lieu of anything substantial?
Show me one time when I've done that, and I'll show you a hundred examples
of how Conservatives have answered my own messages with rudeness,
name-calling, insults, and mockery--but not once with a research-based
rebuttal. Sorry, but you cannot make this claim against me, while I can make
it about countless conservatives who have responded to me. Rude, imbecilic
name-calling is NOT an issue you should have brought up, because in my
alt.politics.greens dialogues, conservatives come out bad in it, while I
have not used this tactic even in anger.
There are questions as to the need for secrecy, but lies and deception
from the Democrat election machine are unacceptable from the
beginning. Geesh, it wasn't even time of war!!!
My statement is sufficient. Everyone here knows where you're coming
Are the views that foreigners promote, valid?
American Traitors are directly responsible for 911. Osama Bin Laden
was monitored by American authorities. They had his phone tapped until
Americans Traitors tipped him off. There is absolutely no excuse for
failing to prosecute Osama Bin Laden. Everything that happened on
September 11 was facilitated by American cooperation. This mass
delusion that September 11 has changed everything is quite astounding,
and if it is correct, it means that America has gone from being a
democracy to being an absolute dictatorship. If that is the change
that has developed, the gulf between America and the free world will
continue to grow.
Prior to September 11, America was savagely engaged in its own civil
war which was waged by traitors like Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter, Ted
Olsom, Linda Tripp, Ken Starr and others who do not believe in
Democracy unless it is absolutely uncritical and pro-Republican. Their
zeal was exposed for the entire world to see when they developed the
inability to count democratic votes and when they used the tragedy of
911 to produce phony unity and to call anybody who does not agree with
them a traitor. That is why the world was deliberately terrorized and
Osama Bin Laden was merely the means to their ends. He should have
been prosecuted and convicted years ago, but American Traitors
understood the fact that they could use Osama Bin Laden to create the
world in their own image. And they have.
> American Traitors are directly responsible for 911. Osama Bin Laden
> was monitored by American authorities.
I hope that you are trying to be funny. Sorry, but the people who were
DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE were NOT CITIZENS, let alone authorities.
Of course, If you are speaking of incompetent mgmt of the government
for the last 8yrs, then you would be closer to the truth, but that is
still not the proximate cause (direct responsibility.) It would make sense
to rebuild the CIA, and since it has already been totally demoralized, Bush
pretty much has a blank slate.
Of course, the release of the 'bugging' information was a mistake, and at
the beginning of the war, Pres Bush had to clamp down on the rather
un-savvy legislators. Clinton didn't have the competence to realize the
importance of certain intelligence gathering methods.
Clinton thought that we could 'respect' our enemies into loving us, and
since the plan was built during his presidency, it is VERY VERY CLEAR that
his policy failed us. This doesn't really make him the 'direct cause', but
he is the most culpable.
Clinton's enemies were thinking of using Bin Laden to cover up a
Clinton assassination, so your reasoming is very strange, to say the
Talk to Ollie to his network and to their good friend Bin Laden, and
ask them what they had contemplated, as an alternative to the bogus
jOHN dEAN IS STILL MAKING SOME SENSE