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Aug 22nd 2006

john kerry, anti-war protests, and stubborn historical facts

john kerry put out the following remarks recently, meant to discredit joe lieberman as a republican shill:

For almost five years now, every time [bush/cheney/rove have] their backs to the wall politically, they play “the fear card.” The latest example: Dick Cheney claiming that Democratic candidates who dare to challenge the Bush White House on Iraq are “emboldening terrorists.” What’s worse, and startling, is that in Connecticut Joe Lieberman is now echoing their intolerable rhetoric attacking the Democratic Senate nominee. [source]

the problem is, mr. kerry’s remarks fail to account for key historical facts. he is wrong to dismiss the claim that anti-war protests embolden our enemies. perhaps he believes this way because he has confused american politics with those vegas commercials (what happens at a peace rally stays at a peace rally).


the truth is, american politics is a fishbowl, set up for all the world to see and constantly react to. news today travels at the speed of the internet and 24/7 cable news. palestinians were dancing in the streets minutes after the twin towers collapsed, for example. al-jazeera can pass along every appalling image from a san francisco a.n.s.w.e.r. rall, every dick durbin or john murtha speech, and every inaccurate newsweek story–within minutes of its occurence here. compare this to thirty years ago. look what america’s peace movement did for the north vietnamese, even though the enemy only had radios to listen in with:

Anti-war protests in the U.S. during the Vietnam War were a major source of moral support to the enemy. We know that not only from plain common sense, but from the statements of former North Vietnamese military leaders who evidently didn’t get the memo telling them not to say so. In an Aug. 3, 1995, interview in The Wall Street Journal, Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army, called the American peace movement “essential” to the North Vietnamese victory.

“Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American anti-war movement,” he said. “Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses.” [source]

[notice, methods of news-gathering and communication have changed, but our enemies still live in caves]

but i don’t care if my public anti-war protests help the terrorists. the war is going bad and i want it to stop now (i also want bushitler and darth cheney imprisoned–and executed, if possible–but we can talk about that later).

that position requires another assumption: that the war is going badly. in godless, ann coulter discusses a few past wars:

more than a hundred americans died at lexington green and concord. should we have quit then? the civil war dragged on for three long years before the union started making serious inroads against the confederacy. you want a quagmire? that was a quagmire.

in the battle of tarawa, one of the first major engagements of WWII, we lost more than 1000 men in three days. on this small island, far away from home, our marines faced savagery of epic proportions and took quite a licking. iwo jima was yet to happen (7000 americans killed). okinawa was yet to happen (18,000 americans killed). FDR hadn’t “planned” properly and the marines were required to hastily improvise mine sweeping. should we have walked away from that war, too? [source]

as messy as the war in iraq has been, things are going relatively well. and as necessary as dissent is in american democracy, there is a need for wartime protests to be made with civility and with discretion. anything else–as bui tin’s comments illustrate–may embolden the enemy and lead, indirectly, to more american casualties.

3 Responses to “john kerry, anti-war protests, and stubborn historical facts”

  1. Ryan

    Excellent post. It is too bad that the media doesn’t put this conflict into perspective.

    Opponents of the war argue that it was entirely unnecessary and dishonest. Hypocrisy aside, I join Ann Coulter is asking liberals, “What war would you fight?”

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  3. […] john kerry, anti-war protests, and stubborn historical facts (using established facts, i show how the anti-war left emboldens our enemies) […]