NY Times editorial on Jan. 18 demonstrations -- a squeak in the war machine

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Mon Jan 20 20:23:49 MST 2003


This editorial represents a squeak -- as distinct from a break of any
kind -- in the solid
front of major  media support to the war against Iraq.  Note how the Times
attempts to place the demonstration firmly into the framework of a
ruling-class debate that it is not part of, describing them as opposed only
to "the possibility that President Bush will soon order American forces to
attack Iraq even without the approval that President Bush will soon order
American forces to attack Iraq even without the approval of the United
Nations Security Council -- something which can be obtained, although
perhaps not within the Bush administration's current timetable for occupying
Iraq.

The overwhelming sentiment of the demonstrators was opposition to a war with
Iraq no matter what the Security Council does or doesn't do, no matter what
the inspectors who have been inflicted on Iraq find or don't find, and
regardless of whether Saddam Hussein stays or goes. There was a palpable,
very widespread conviction that Washington, not Saddam or Kimi Jong-Il or
even Osama Bin Laden or any other Devil of the Month, is the greatest threat
to the world today.

No war against Iraq!  All U.S. troops out of the Middle East now!
Fred Feldman

New York Times editorial Jan. 20
A Stirring in the Nation
A largely missing ingredient in the nascent debate about invading Iraq
showed up on the streets of major cities over the weekend as crowds of
peaceable protesters marched in a demand to be heard. They represented what
appears to be a large segment of the American public that remains
unconvinced that the Iraqi threat warrants the use of military force at this
juncture.

Denouncing the war plan as an administration idée fixe that will undermine
America's standing in the world, stir unrest in the Mideast and damage the
American economy, the protesters in Washington massed on Saturday for what
police described as the largest antiwar rally at the Capitol since the
Vietnam era. It was impressive for the obvious mainstream roots of the
marchers - from young college students to grayheads with vivid protest
memories of the 60's. They gathered from near and far by the tens of
thousands, galvanized by the possibility that President Bush will soon order
American forces to attack Iraq even without the approval of the United
Nations Security Council.

Mr. Bush and his war cabinet would be wise to see the demonstrators as a
clear sign that noticeable numbers of Americans no longer feel obliged to
salute the administration's plans because of the shock of Sept. 11 and that
many harbor serious doubts about his march toward war. The protesters are
raising some nuanced questions in the name of patriotism about the premises,
cost and aftermath of the war the president is contemplating. Millions of
Americans who did not march share the concerns and have yet to hear Mr. Bush
make a persuasive case that combat operations are the only way to respond to
Saddam Hussein.

Other protests will be emphasizing civil disobedience in the name of Martin
Luther King Jr. But any graphic moments to come of confrontation and arrest
should be seen in the far broader context of the Capitol scene: peaceable
throngs of mainstream Americans came forward demanding more of a dialogue
from political leaders. Mr. Bush and his aides, to their credit, welcomed
the demonstrations as a healthy manifestation of American democracy at work.
We hope that spirit will endure in the weeks ahead if differences deepen and
a noisier antiwar movement develops. These protests are the tip of a far
broader sense of concern and lack of confidence in the path to war that
seems to lie ahead.


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