Sunday, January 19, 2003

Belligerent Bunny Blog has an excellent photo-essay on the demo in Washington. According to BBB's photos, pretty much everybody at the Washington demo was a fellow-traveler out for a festive morning of protesting and donuts while listening to aboriginal didgeredoo music. (Should you be interested in the Washington Times's take on the story, click here.)

The lead story in today's Vanguardia international section is headlined, "Pacifists defy Bush". Eusebio Val, who replaced the X-man as the Vangua's American correspondent, says, "Dozens of thousands of activists from across the country participated in the march in the federal capital." Sebi interviews idiotarian protester Brenda Bayne, "a fifty-year-old music teacher who spent 13 hours on the road from Gainesville, Florida. 'Although I recognize that the Iraqi regime is a problem, we think it is immoral to strike first,' she declared to this newspaper. 'The US has more weapons of mass destruction than any other country in the world and it has used them most often. George Bush's Administration is a gang of hypocrites. None of them has been in the army or has children in the army. If there's a war, most of those who die will be blacks or Hispanics. What makes me most indignant is that our press silences these protests and to find out things I have to listen to the BBC or read the French press by Internet.'"

Time out for cogent analysis. 1) Note the conspiracy theory mentality. The press is silencing the truth so she has to go to the BBC and Le Fuckin' Monde Diplomatique to learn it. This nimrod must never have heard of, oh, the New York Times or CNN, among other major news outlets not notorious for their sympathies toward the Bush Administration. 2) Look, let's be quite frank here and lay off all the hero-worshipping-of-our-soldiers shit. These folks took the King's shilling. They volunteered, most of them because the Army provides a means to get the education necessary to be successful in America. They are what used to be called "regulars". They can be sent off to whatever war we want to send them off to; that's their job and they understand it that way. Who cares whether any of the Administration (Colin Powell, for example) has ever been in the army? That's wholly immaterial. (I am not impugning servicepeople's patriotism. I'm sure almost all of them are very patriotic. I'm also sure that almost all of them are ready to cheerfully fight in the service of their country, no matter what their race is.) And what does it matter whether there are proportionately more blacks and Hispanics in the army than in the general population? The main reason for that is that the army is the least racist important institution in the US, or the world. They really don't care what your color is if you can do the stuff you're supposed to do. Another big reason is that the Army provides vocational training, money to go to the university, something solid to put on your resumé ("Sergeant, US Army" looks a lot better than "Assistant manager, Hardee's"), and room, board, and a salary. This looks awfully good to working-class folks, like many ambitious blacks and Hispanics who know a university degree is the ticket to the white-collar world and that with a skilled trade you can write your own ticket. Also, it's not like we're going to suffer major losses in this war, anyway. 3) If it's immoral to strike first, exactly what has Saddam been doing over the years to Iran, Kuwait, the Kurds, and everyone in range of the terrorist gangs he supports? And wasn't 9-11 a first strike against us by the International Dirtbag Alliance that Saddam is part of? Isn't 9-11 supposed to be what we're trying to prevent from ever happening again? And isn't the best way to do that to eliminate those we suspect might want to see another 9-11? Anybody out there remember 9-11?

Enough cogent analysis. Sebi has found somebody who's in favor of a war against Saddam. Among the several dozen counterdemonstrators was Scott Shumen, a 32-year-old computer programmer, who said, "I don't think there's any other alternative. Saddam spends his money on dozens of palaces and hundreds of statues of himself while he is repressing the Shiites and the Kurds. We're here to support our troops."

There's a sidebar with the headline, "The world shouts out against war". Naturally, they're talking about the war in Ivory Coast, where French troops have unilaterally intervened in an internal civil war without asking anyone's permission. Oops, no, it's those rascally Americans again. They got 6000 grenouilles rouges out in Paris, which seems to be the biggest turnout anywhere in Europe. A few hundred people showed up at the Madrid demo, mostly carrying red flags. In Damascus they had a demo requesting Saddam Hussein to attack Israel. Yeah, the world sure shouted loud: there were several hundred demonstrators in Cologne, Bonn, London, Geneva, Naples, and Istanbul. My ears are still ringing.

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