Iraq 1: Criticizing the antiwar marchers

February 17, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "Marching for 'peace' means marching for another 15 years of Saddamite torture and murder"
2. "One day Iraqis will despise those who marched to keep them in hell"
3. "Not one small poster asking Saddam to disarm..."
4. "Fascist pigs!" (By Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard, Feb. 17, 2003)
5. "Marching for terror" (By Mark Steyn, Daily Telegraph, London, Feb. 15, 2003)
6. "If this was a peace march, why did Saddam get no stick?" (By Barbara Amiel, Daily Telegraph, Feb. 17, 2003)


“MARCHING FOR ‘PEACE’ MEANS MARCHING FOR ANOTHER 15 YEARS OF SADDAMITE TORTURE AND MURDER”

[Note by Tom Gross]

In the next few weeks, I will occasionally send emails connected to the impending Iraq war, as well as the regular updates concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Please may I again reiterate that these pieces are sent out for information purposes and I don't necessarily agree with each and every aspect of them.

I attach three articles criticizing those who participated in the massive peace marches that took place across the world on Saturday, with a summary of the articles first for those who don't have time to read them in full.

1. "Fascist pigs!" (By Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard, February 17, 2003). "Demonstrations over the weekend show the left's dedication to preserving murderous, dictatorial regimes no matter what the cost," writes Barnes. This, he adds, contrasts with the 1960s and 1970s when the political left (at least the Left in America) favored wars of national liberation in countries ruled by dictators, some of them fascist dictators. "True, the left would have installed communist dictatorships in their place. But at least leftists targeted enemies who were corrupt, brutal abusers of human rights," he says. "In ignoring the 25 million Iraqis who suffer under Saddam's autocratic rule, the left has stripped any moral dimension from the antiwar cause."

Barnes then tackles four of the standard arguments for opposing a war and calls them "either uninformed or merely stupid." The arguments he rebuts are:

(1) War will mean thousands of civilian casualties.
(2) It's a war for Iraqi oil.
(3) War in Iraq will stir a new wave of terrorism.
(4) Give the inspectors more time.

“ONE DAY IRAQIS WILL DESPISE THOSE WHO MARCHED TO KEEP THEM IN HELL”

2. "Marching for terror" (By Mark Steyn, London Daily Telegraph, February 15, 2003). "Why not ask an Iraqi what the disadvantages of stalemate are? As far as Saddam's subjects are concerned, the 'peace' movement means peace for you and Tony Benn and Sheryl Crow and Susan Sarandon, and a prison for them. I was in Montreal last week, which has the largest Iraqi population in North America. I've yet to meet one who isn't waiting eagerly for the day the liberation of their homeland begins ... They're pining for war not because they like the Americans, or the Zionists, or me, but because they understand that, as long as there's Saddam, there's no Iraq. Saddam has killed far more people than Slobo [Milosevich], Iraq has been far more comprehensively brutalized than Kosovo. Marching for 'peace' means marching for another 15 years of Saddamite torture and murder, followed by a couple more decades under the even more psychotic son, until the family runs out of victims to terrorise, gets bored and retires to the Riviera ... One day, not long from now, when Iraq is free, Iraqis will despise those who marched to keep them in hell."

“NOT ONE SMALL POSTER ASKING SADDAM TO DISARM...”

3. "If this was a peace march, why did Saddam get no stick?" (By Barbara Amiel, London Daily Telegraph. February 17, 2003). "The most revealing aspect of the anti-war march in London was what you did not see. You did not see any messages to Saddam Hussein or criticism of Iraqi policy... These earnest seekers of peace had nothing to say to Saddam Hussein; no request to please co-operate with the UN inspectors. Not one small poster asking Saddam to disarm or destroy his weapons of mass destruction ... If this were a genuine anti-war demonstration, why, along with demands on the British and Americans, would there be no demands of the other party to the conflict - Iraq? Commentators on the march were taken by the good order of it. I was taken by the sheer wickedness or naivete ... One either has to question the good faith of the marchers or their brains."

-- Tom Gross


FULL ARTICLES

FASCIST PIGS!

Fascist pigs!
By Fred Barnes
The Weekly Standard
February 17, 2003

Demonstrations over the weekend show the left's dedication to preserving murderous, dictatorial regimes no matter what the cost.

There was a time the 1960s, 1970s when the political left in America favored wars of national liberation in countries ruled by dictators, some of them fascist dictators. True, the left would have installed communist dictatorships in their place. But at least leftists targeted enemies who were corrupt, brutal abusers of human rights.

Now the left has flipped. The effect of its crusade against war in Iraq would be the survival indeed, the strengthening of Saddam Hussein's oppressive regime. The left has brushed aside the pleas of Iraqi exiles, Kurds, and Shiite Muslims who are seeking liberation from Saddam's cruelty. Instead, leftists have targeted those who would aid the Iraqi dissidents, particularly the Bush administration.

The corruption of the left has deepened in recent years. At no time was this more evident than last Saturday when large antiwar protests were staged in New York, San Francisco, and other cities in the United States and around the world, including London. Did the demonstrators march on the Iraqi consulate in New York to demand an end to Saddam's murderous practices? No. Did they spend time condemning him in their speeches and placards? Nope. Did they come to the defense of Saddam's victims? No. The left now gives fascist dictators a pass. Its enemy is the United States.

No one has explained this better than British prime minister Tony Blair in a speech Saturday. If he took the antiwar demonstrators advice, Blair said, "there would be no war, but there would still be Saddam. Many of the people marching will say they hate Saddam. But the consequences of taking their advice is he stays in charge of Iraq, ruling the Iraqi people... There will be no march for the victims of Saddam, no protests about the thousands of children that die needlessly every year under his rule, no righteous anger over the torture chamber which, if he is left in power, will be left in being."

In ignoring the 25 million Iraqis who suffer under Saddam's autocratic rule, the left has stripped any moral dimension from the antiwar cause. And its arguments for opposing a war of liberation in Iraq are either uninformed or merely stupid. Here are a few of those arguments:

(1) War will mean thousands of civilian casualties. If there's anything Saddam has produced in his nearly 25 years of rule in Iraq, it's civilian casualties. He ordered the gassing of thousands of innocent Kurds. He had thousands of Shiites murdered. His war against Iran caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties, and his invasion of Kuwait was marked by the killing of thousands of Kuwaiti civilians. Saddam has personally ordered the execution of thousands of Iraqis. He has allowed thousands of Iraqi children to die from starvation or lack of medicine.

Compare that with the few hundred civilians killed in Afghanistan by the U.S. military. In fact, the American intervention saved hundreds of thousands who would have starved to death otherwise. And in the 1991 Gulf War relatively few Iraqi civilians were killed. In truth, a war that deposes Saddam in Iraq will save civilian lives, thousands of them.

(2) It's a war for Iraqi oil. There's an easy way to get all the oil in Iraq that President Bush or anyone else might desire and it's not war. No, the easy way is to lift sanctions on Iraq and make a deal with Saddam. He's eager to sell the oil and make money. And the United States doesn't need Iraqi oil anyway, what with Russian oil production coming on line. At the moment, America's problem is the cutoff of oil from Venezuela. A war for oil would oust President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Of course there is no such war planned, nor is there one to cut the price of oil. The price favored by Bush and the domestic oil industry and producers like Saudi Arabia will be restored when Venezuela is pumping fully again, probably soon.

(3) War in Iraq will stir a new wave of terrorism. We've heard this one before. The Gulf War, it was warned, would arouse the Arab street and subject Americans to a wave of attacks. That didn't happen. When the United States went into Afghanistan and, worse, bombed during Ramadan, it was supposed to prompt a worldwide uprising of Muslims, and Muslim terrorists in particular, against America. Again, that didn't happen. So when the Arab leader most hated by other Arab leaders a leader who's far more secular than Muslim, is removed, it's highly unlikely to cause more terrorism. Most likely, the result will be less.

(4) Give the inspectors more time. This was a common cry at Saturday's antiwar demonstrations. But of course those cries were entirely disingenuous. By definition, the "stop the war" protesters don't want war, no matter what the United Nations inspectors in Iraq happen upon. The demonstrators are playing Saddam's delaying game: Let the inspections continue until support in the United States for military action in Iraq dissolves and war is averted. Then Saddam survives. The inspections ploy is further proof the left has given up wars of national liberation against oppressive dictators and is now in the business of saving oppressive dictators from wars of national liberation.

(Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.)

 

MARCHING FOR TERROR

Marching for terror
By Mark Steyn,
The Daily Telegraph (London)
February 15, 2003 [Published the day of the march]

Hello? Anybody home? After my colleague Armando Iannucci's stirring call to non-arms on Thursday, I expect you're out on the march. But, on the off-chance you're reading this over breakfast while waiting for the paint on your placard to dry, I'd ask you to reconsider.

I understand you and Armando and the distressingly large number of my Daily Telegraph and Spectator confreres, plus spouses and offspring, who'll be joining you on this march, are in favour of "peace". Armando, countering the hawks' argument that Saddam is stalling and "this can't go on for ever", put it this way: "Wait a minute. This may sound stupid, but why can't it go on for ever? What precisely are the disadvantages of this form of stalemate going on for a very, very long time?"

Why not ask an Iraqi what the disadvantages of stalemate are? As far as Saddam's subjects are concerned, the "peace" movement means peace for you and Tony Benn and Sheryl Crow and Susan Sarandon, and a prison for them. I was in Montreal last week, which has the largest Iraqi population in North America. I've yet to meet one who isn't waiting eagerly for the day the liberation of their homeland begins. Then they can go back to the surviving members of their families and not have to live in a country where it's winter 10 months of the year.

They're pining for war not because they like the Americans, or the Zionists, or me, but because they understand that, as long as there's Saddam, there's no Iraq. Saddam has killed far more people than Slobo, Iraq has been far more comprehensively brutalised than Kosovo. Marching for "peace" means marching for, oh, another 15 years of Saddamite torture and murder, followed by a couple more decades under the even more psychotic son, until the family runs out of victims to terrorise, gets bored and retires to the Riviera.

It's easy to say it's up to the Iraqi people to get rid of Saddam. That theory worked well in the days when all the peasants had to do was storm the palace and dodge the muskets. It doesn't work against a man who can poison an entire village from the air. Marching for "peace" means marching against the Iraqi people: it's the equivalent of turning them away as, to their shame, many free nations in the 1930s turned away refugees from Germany.

But perhaps, as is the case with many marchers, your priority isn't the Iraqi people living in bondage under an Iraqi dictator, but the Palestinian people living in bondage under a Zionist dictator: fine, whatever, you're entitled to your point of view. But you ought to know that, as long as Saddam sits in Baghdad, there will never be a Palestinian state. Never. Chance of the "Palestinian Authority" becoming a fully fledged People's Republic: zero.

Saddam serves as principal sugar daddy to the relicts of suicide bombers and neither Israel nor America is going to agree to a Palestinian state where the prime business opportunity is strapping on the old explosives belt and telling Baghdad where to mail the cheque. We're talking cold political reality here: keeping Saddam in power may stymie the crazy Texans, but also those downtrodden Palestinians. If you're serious about them, you might want to think that one through.

Thirdly, "Stop the War" is a slogan that showed up too late. You can't stop it now; it's already started. Even if the ricin factories and the NBC suits in the mosque and the live grenades at Gatwick haven't persuaded you, you can tell something's up from the uncertain tone of the Government's once-confident voice: they've run up against something they don't know how to spin.

Do you really think not invading Iraq will make all the bad stuff go away? Do you honestly believe the fig-leaf argument that, because Saddam is a nominally secular Ba'athist socialist, the Islamists would have nothing to do with him? He recently donated enough blood to have a full-length copy of the Koran written in it: that makes him less of a "secular" leader than Charles Kennedy, don't you think? You don't have to believe that if you don't want to. But your argument depends on giving both Saddam and al-Qa'eda the benefit of far more doubts than their prior behaviour warrants. Your line is basically: we can't really be sure he'd sell suitcase nukes to terrorists until one goes off in Birmingham. Then you and Armando will say, oh, OK, maybe there's a link after all unless, of course, you're among the dead.

I don't claim to understand the depth of opposition to Tony Blair. It must be frustrating to switch on the television every night and see Blair planning to save the world when he can't even do anything about the crummy hospitals and lousy trains and rampant crime. But sending a million Valentines to a monster to spite your own hard-hearted master is not the answer.

Today's demo is good for Saddam, but bad for the Iraqi people, and the Palestinian people, and the British people. One day, not long from now, when Iraq is free, they will despise those who marched to keep them in hell.

 

IF THIS WAS A PEACE MARCH, WHY DID SADDAM GET NO STICK?

If this was a peace march, why did Saddam get no stick?
By Barbara Amiel
The Daily Telegraph (London)
February 17, 2003

The most revealing aspect of the anti-war march in London was what you did not see. You did not see any messages to Saddam Hussein or criticism of Iraqi policy.

These earnest seekers of peace, with so many signs denouncing George W Bush and Tony Blair, had nothing to say to Saddam Hussein; no request to please co-operate with the UN inspectors. Not one small poster asking Saddam to disarm or destroy his weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps somewhere in that million people there were some bravely asking him to "Leave Iraq and prevent war", but I could not find them.

If this were a genuine anti-war demonstration, why, along with demands on the British and Americans, would there be no demands of the other party to the conflict - Iraq? Commentators on the march were taken by the good order of it. I was taken by the sheer wickedness or naivete.

All those nice middle-aged people from middle England with their children bundled up against the cold, marching for peace; did they have nothing to say to the party that had ignored 17 UN resolutions? A similar silence existed in all the anti-war marches in Europe. One either has to question the good faith of the marchers or their brains.

Television gave us brief interviews with "ordinary" people marching. ITV's Mrs Noon on the peace train from Stockport had never marched before, but she had work experience dealing with "challenging" children and adults, which she compared with dealing with Saddam. "The first rule," she said, "is to be non-confrontational." The TV cameras cut to the "----ing Bush" and "Stuff Your Imperialism" signs stacked in the train compartment.

A colleague I met at the march said he had counted only two or three anti-Israeli signs. "Torture, Murder, Ethnic Cleansing!!! Welcome to Israel" was the wording of a large banner from the Muslim Association of Great Britain, but that was to be expected. The MAB, co-organiser of the London march, has a number of ideological and personal links with the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest Islamist organisation, four of whose members assassinated Anwar Sadat and whose offshoot is Hamas.

In fact, there were hundreds of anti-Israeli signs. What disguised this was the activities of the Jewish establishment. The Board of Deputies of British Jews, well-meaning but dreadfully inept, had worried about all the hate signs against Israel in the last "peace" march. Not understanding that it is best not to help your enemy disguise itself, they had written to the Committee for Nuclear Disarmament asking it about its relationship with anti-Israel groups.

The Deputies were reassured to receive a letter promising them that CND was "working hard to ensure that this march would be free from inappropriate slogans and chants". The result was that apart from a few "Boycott Israel/Boycott Murder" banners, the MAB restrained itself to hundreds of posters with the coded anti-Israel message: "Freedom for Palestine".

Freedom for Palestine, of course, could come the day the Arab world accepts the existence of a Jewish state. There could have been an independent Palestinian state as early as the Peel Commission in 1937 or the UN partition plan in 1948, if only the Arabs had said yes to co-existence with Israel. But anyone who has read the literature of the MAB knows that now, as then, "Palestinian freedom" for the MAB is achieved only at the expense of eliminating a Jewish state in the Middle East. All that the complaints of the British Board of Deputies had done was to make the MAB respectable to the ignorant.

In the end, under the guise of peace, this march was essentially an anti-America, anti-free enterprise, anti-Israel display. A similar approach appeared to have taken hold in the various other "peace" marches in Tokyo, Athens, Paris, Berlin and Madrid.

Looking at the news clips of jubilant Europeans marching behind banners saying "Death to Uncle Sam" shows how much the zeitgeist towards America has changed. I can remember the good-natured humour of the film The Mouse That Roared. America was seen then as the generous saviour of Europe and the welcomed guarantor of freedom. In that 1959 film, a Ruritanian prime minister, played by Peter Sellers, declared war on the United States in order to get American aid. These days the mouse roars to scare or blackmail America.

The spirit towards Israel was different in those times too. After defeating the Arabs in the 1967 six-day war, Israel was seen as an incredible success story by virtually all observers intellectually, morally and practically. The country was the recreation of a lost state, made all the more credible by its unique parentage a democratic decision of the world through a UN vote.

One didn't have to be a Zionist in 1967 to list Israel's achievements. That small nation had revived a dead language for the first time in history, absorbed a million and a half people from both Europe and the Orient in 19 years and had made the desert fertile. It had no oil, its waters were insufficient and vulnerable to Arab diversion, and it had never had one day of peace.

Within five hours of its birth, it faced declarations of war by all its Arab neighbours. With no military background or weaponry to speak of, and facing the British-trained Jordanian army among others, it had defeated its enemies in 1948, 1956 and again in 1967. Israel was a classic success story.

Up to 1967, the Jews gave the impression of being the underdog against impossible odds, and the winner. Both those components are attractive to people and to nations. But the sheer weight of size and demographics on the Arab side and the willingness of Arabs to employ terrorism in the West began to eat away at this perception. Gradually, the tables turned. The sense that in the long run the Arabs would prevail gathered steam. It became the Arabs' turn to be carried on the double wings of underdog and winner status.

Israel is now seen as a surrogate for the United States and so destroying it has the added thrill of throwing sand in America's face. For centuries, the Arab world has faced the humiliation of punching below its weight. Given the value in its culture of the romantic masculine virtues of martial prowess and dominance, this realisation that its culture is regarded as backward and insignificant has created much resentment.

The Islamists have come along with the message that, if Islam's large population and wealth could be fused with its mystical fundamentalism, they would create the same fanatical strength that made rising empires from Christendom to Japan pre-eminent. In this climate, America and Israel are viewed as obstacles to an Arab renaissance.

Laying out the world's changing attitudes to Israel and America so barely, makes it sound like a conscious decision which is absurd. But changes in the spirit of the times are as difficult to explain as those immense flocks of birds you see sitting on some great African lake, hundreds of thousands of them at a time, till all of a sudden, successively, they fly up and turn in a specific direction. One can never analyse which bird started it and how it became this incredible rush. All you see is the result.

One senses that the Islamists, with a billion Muslims in the world, and access to great riches (with some partial success in Iran and Afghanistan, where they defeated the Soviets, albeit with American help), now feel that they may be able to reassert themselves and the Caliphate.

The world waits, unsure what to do as Muslims hesitate, poised on vast lakes of oil, ready to fly in some direction. The world hedges its bets by backing the Palestinians, who may benefit by any resurgence of Islam.

And one of the reasons many people sense how important it is for America and her allies to be successful against the regime of Saddam Hussein quite apart from all other valid reasons is that a perception that the side with the momentum, the winning side, is the Islamist-terrorist side, must be broken.

It is a dangerous and self-fulfilling prophecy that can cause untold bloodshed and tyranny in the world. There are infinitely better, more tolerant, less bloody ways forward for the Arab people. But the West is not yet a paper tiger, even if nearly one million of its inhabitants meekly followed behind those meretricious paper slogans held high in Hyde Park on Saturday afternoon.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.