Where Did The Anti-War Movement Go?

In the American Conservative, Antiwar.com editor Justin Raitmando (whom I often disagree with) has a piece detailing some more leftist hypocrisy concerning their Messiah and his plans to expand the Afghan War

The antiwar rally at the University of Iowa was sparsely attended. The below 30 degree weather might have had something to do with it, but Paul Street, a local writer and one of the speakers, had another theory, as the Daily Iowan reported:

Before the crowd of fewer than 20, Street questioned why the ‘left’ locals and university officials aren’t doing more to help in the protests against the war. ‘The big truth right now, whether this town’s missing-in-action progressives get it or not, is that we need to fight the rich, not their wars,’ he said, citing big corporations for wasting their technology and funding on war.

The big truth is that the antiwar movement has largely collapsed in the face of Barack Obama’s victory: the massive antiwar marches that were a feature of the Bush years are a thing of the past. Those ostensibly antiwar organizations that did so much to agitate against the Iraq War have now fallen into line behind their commander in chief and are simply awaiting orders.

Take, for example, Moveon.org, the online activist group that ran antiwar ads during the election—but only against Republicans—in coalition with a group of labor unions and Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. Behind AAEI stood three of Obama’s top political operatives, Steve Hildebrand, Paul Tewes, and Brad Woodhouse. Woodhouse is now the Democratic National Committee’s director of communications and research. He controls the massive e-mail list culled by the Obama campaign during the primaries and subsequently, as well as a list of all those who gave money to the presumed peace candidate. These donors are no doubt wondering what Obama is doing escalating the war in Afghanistan and venturing into Pakistan.

As Greg Sargent noted over at WhoRunsGov.com, a Washington Post-sponsored site, “Don’t look now, but President Obama’s announcement today of an escalation in the American presence in Afghanistan is being met with mostly silence—and even some support—from the most influential liberal groups who opposed the Iraq War.”

In response to inquiries, Moveon.org refused to make any public statement about Obama’s rollout of the Af-Pak escalation, although someone described as “an official close to the group” is cited by WhoRunsGov as confirming that “MoveOn wouldn’t be saying anything in the near term.” A vague promise to poll their members was mentioned—“though it’s unclear when.” Don’t hold your breath.

Another Democratic Party front masquerading as a peace group, Americans United for Change, declined to comment on the war plans of the new administration. This astroturf organization ran $600,000 worth of television ads in the summer of 2007, focusing like a laser on congressional districts with Republican incumbents. Change? Not so fast.

The boldest of the peacenik sellouts, however, is Jon Soltz of VoteVets, described by WhoRunsGov as “among the most pugnacious anti-Iraq war groups.” They came out fists flying, endorsing the escalation of the Long War.

According to Soltz, there is “much to like in the plan,” but his faves boil down to three factors, which supposedly represent “a stark departure” from the bad old days of the Bush administration. He applauds the administration’s recognition that “The military can’t do it all.” Yet we’re increasing the troop levels by some 17,000, plus 4,000 trainers to babysit the barely existent Afghan “army.” We’re going to send thousands more civilians—aid workers, medical personnel, and military contractors—to build the infrastructure lacking in Afghan society and promote fealty to the central government in Kabul. Schools, clinics, roads, and shopping malls will be built with American tax dollars in order to foster trust between the Afghans, their occupiers, and their government.

The so-called “anti-war” groups that popped up before the Iraq War were never anti-war. Many of their founders and leaders cheered on BJ Clinton’s wars in the Balkans and in Haiti. They were not completely anti-American or merely “on the other side” as some conservative and neo-libertarian bloggers accused them either. The “anti-war” movement was simply a rallying point for leftists and Democrat party hacks who needed to gain traction against a popular (at the time) President Bush. They needed to sow doubt about the Iraq War (the mismanagement of the war by the Bush administration helped as well) in order to have a wedge issue against President Bush. Naturally, they rooted for more American deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq and for American objectives to go unfulfilled, at least while Bush was president.

Now their Messiah has been elected and he wants to expand the Afghan War, possibly into Pakistan. What’s a leftist posing a peace activist supposed to do. Well, what all good leftists do, follow their leader, in this case the Messiah. He wants to send 17,000 more Americans into Afghanistan to bring democracy, destroy the Taliban, and put in chicken in every Afghan pot. He has not defined what “victory” is in Afghanistan, nor does he have a plan, short of nuclear war, to combat the Talibanization of Pakistan. If George W. Bush planned this, the so-called peace activists would have been the ones having Tea Parties on April 15.

Aren’t the so-called “peace activists” being just a tad bit hypocritical now that their Messiah is in the Oval Office and wants his little war?

Finally, I just want to point out, I do not intend to attack sincere opponents of US foreign policy and interventionism, like Justin Raitmando. I disagree with some of Justin’s positions and lot of his rhetoric. However I can respect Justin and most paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians as principled noninterventionists who oppose most if not all US military campaigns over the past two decades and longer.

It is the unprincipled hacks on the left who adopt the phony cause of “anti-war” when they’re out of power that need to be condemned.

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The Hayride.com and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.
  • http://gordonunleashed.com/blog/ Stephen Gordon

    There are only five letters I can contribute to your article: B-R-A-V-O!

  • Chrisfrmchi

    Ironically the response from the “anti-war” you mention is 9/11 and terrorists.

    Btw whats up with the Taliban “attacking” the capital of Pakistan? When did they get an army? Or is that just more BS?

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    They’re hanging their head in shame cause they know the War in Iraq has been won, after years of screaming at the top of their lungs: “The War is Lost!… The War is Lost!… Tens of Thousands of American soldiers will die!…”

    I’d be ashamed too if I had made such predictions.

    This has little to do with Obama; much more to do with the simple fact that the US Military just had one of the most glorious victories in the 230 year history of our Great Republic.

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    Justin is not a “sincere” Anti-War opponent, he’s just an opponent of Masculinity, the US Military and anything that promotes Male Heterosexual values. Ditto for Garris.

  • chris

    Messiah? really? Words like that are why people don’t take conservatives seriously anymore.

  • southernjames

    Of course this is not a surprise. Anyone who is surprised by this turn of events (anti-war movement coming to a complete and total halt the day Obama gets elected) is a complete fool. Some of us understood this all along – during the whole Media love affair with the Cindy Sheehan Circus, Code Pink, positive coverage of war protests,etc.

    Of COURSE the anti-war movement was just an anti-Bush movement.

    I think that is why the Left is so in denial about the tea party movement. In their projection, they are convinced this CAN’T be anything OTHER than the flip side of what their anti-war movement was really all about…it can’t be about any sort of principle – it must simply be an anti-Obama movement.

    The anti-war movement was funded, organized, coordinated by hard Left organizations. With the Left, it never was, and never is, and never will be about principles or having a principled stand about anything.

    It is only about power.

    Those who participated who were and remain ignorant of this sad truth, were simply being led by their noses. They were, and remain, and will be again, what are known in the cause as “useful idiots.”

    Some of us called them out on this, and pointed it out, repeatedly during the Bush years.

    Because we had seen this before. Back in the 80’s leftist organizers astro-turfed massive demonstrations in Europe (with hundreds of thousands of useful idiots taking to the streets) to protest Ronald Raygun’s push of missile defense and other systems to counter Soviet saber rattling, – the theme then was that the “cowboy” “warmonger” Reagan was leading the world to the brink of nuclear war. The cry was for disarmament – unilateral if necessary, in order to ‘lead the way,’ etc., etc. – and leading some of us who are old enough and who pay attention, to a really really bad case of deja vu 20 years later. U.S.A. bad. U.S.A. at Fault. Other Guy Misunderstood. Other Guy Reacting to Bad U.S.A.

    The screaming, furious, hysterical response when this was pointed out to the useful idiots was of course always “HOW DARE you question my patriotism!!”

    I disagree with the idea that any of them are feeling any ‘shame.’ The organizers and powers behind the scenes never gave a shit about it anyway – again, it always about getting the Left into power. Why do you think “Mother Sheehan” went from heroic poster child with her mug in the limelight on a daily basis – to persona non grata and ceased to see the light of day literally OVERNIGHT after she dared to include the leftist Nancy Pelosi and some Dems in her anti-war diatribes? – this ain’t rocket science to figure out. And the useful idiots who in their projection are certain that those on the right get led by the nose by Limbaugh and FauxNews, DO get all their news from CNN, NBC, NYTimes, NPR. So…what’s there to be ashamed about…it is all rainbows and unicorns with The Won – the brilliance of his shining Pecs – the stunning grace of his Hot and Classy Wife – this has not been seen since Jackie and Camelot!!

    And that is all that matters.

  • Sean


    Since Obama has announced plans to withdraw from Iraq and the vast majority of anti-war activity was anti-Iraq and pro-Afghanistan, they don’t feel the need to take to the streets. It’s called getting what you want. You don’t see a lot of marches against segregation anymore, either.

  • Sean

    Chrisfrmchi: The Taliban is an army. It started as an army from Pakistan that conquered Afghanistan. Jesus, learn the basics before you try to comment.

  • southernjames


    Since candidate Obama in early campaign mode was all about pulling out of Iraq right now, right away – exactly in tune with other leftist hysterical demands in DC, the Media, and in the anti-war movement (and his campaign even cynically and disingenuously used Hillary’s vote for the war resolution against her, as those who have actual instead of selective memories will recall) – but President Obama POST-campaign is essentially following same draw-down blueprint plans drawn up by the Bush administration – they are indeed a pack of hypocrites.

    Yep they got want they wanted. Their guy in office.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for anyone from the left to start screaming “quagmire” again on a daily basis or start making those endless and tiresome Viet Nam comparisons when it comes to Afghanistan, like they would already be doing if McCain had won. Nah, he’d already be getting called a “war criminal” for authorizing those drones killing civilians.

  • uhm

    We all know, non-interventionist are David Duke loving anti-semites. They spend a lot of time criticizing Neocons, Israel, the war in Gaza, and the Israel lobby. All anti-semitic activities according to authorities on the matter. The proof is in the pudding:

  • Chrisfrmchi

    Taliban Move Closer to Islamabad
    APRIL 23, 2009

    Sean…Why is the above story happening?
    Is it fear mongering of Pakistan?
    Is there an actual Taliban army that is going to attack this capital?
    Why haven’t the drone attacks stopped them?
    Where is the Pakistan military to handle them?
    What about their nukes when Pakistan falls?

    I research a lot Sean.

  • Chrisfrmchi


    Its all a fake parlor game lets just end this.

  • chris

    This is a very interesting video about the World Government!


    God bless the constitution