Former U.N.weapons inspector and now full-timeÂ anti-war activist Scott Ritter has ripped his fellow peaceniks
a new one.Â Describing the peace movement as nearing "complete collapse," Ritter gets it all about half right.
First the good part:
It is high time for the anti-war movement to take a collective look in the mirror, and be honest about what they see. A poorly organized, chaotic, and indeed often anarchic conglomeration of egos, pet projects and idealism that barely constitutes a "movement," let alone a winning cause. I have yet to observe an anti-war demonstration that has a focus on anti-war. It often seemed that every left-wing cause took advantage of the event to promote its own particular agenda, so that "No War in Iraq" shared the stage with the environment, ecology, animal rights, pro-choice, and numerous other causes which not only diluted the anti-war message which was supposed to be sent, but also guaranteed that the demonstration itself would be seen as something hijacked by the left, inclusive of only progressive ideologues, and exclusive of the vast majority of moderate (and even conservative) Americans who might have wanted to share the stage with their fellow Americans from the left when it comes to opposing war with Iraq (or even Iran), but do not want to be associated with any other theme.
The anti-war movement, first and foremost, needs to develop a laser-like focus on being nothing more or less than anti-war (OriginalÂ ital--).
An exellent point. One I've been hammering on for, oh, about three years so far. Unfortunately, Ritter goes on to make the very same mistake for which he criticizes the rest of "the movement."Â To belong to Ritter's anti-war movement it really isn't
enough, it turns out,Â toÂ simply oppose the war. You also have to recant
any earlier support for it. And you must agree to a series of political propositions that paint the current moment as one just short of Armageddon.Â Here's what Ritter has to say about Jack Murtha
, the conservative Pennsylvania Democrat who shook up his own party last year with an early call for U.S. troop pullback from Iraq:
Take the example of Congressman Jack Murtha. A vocal supporter of President Bush's decision to invade Iraq, last fall Mr. Murtha went public with his dramatic change of position, suddenly rejecting the war as un-winnable, and demanding the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. While laudable, I have serious problems with Jack Murtha's thought process here. At what point did the American invasion of Iraq become a bad war? When we suffered 2,000 dead? After two years of fruitless struggle? Once we spent $100 billion?
While vocalizing his current opposition against the Iraq War, Congressman Murtha and others who voted for the war but now question its merits have never retracted their original pro-war stance. Nor have they criticized their role in abrogating the Constitutional processes for bringing our country into conflict when they voted for a war before the President had publicly committed to going to war (we now know the President had committed to the invasion of Iraq by the summer of 2002, and that all his representations to the American people and Congress about 'war as a matter of last resort' and 'seeking a diplomatic solution' were bold face lies).
Excuse me, but If Jack Murtha can't be part of the broadened and focusedÂ anti-war movement that Ritter is calling for, who can?Â Now one has to recant? Didn;t Scott Ritter himself once support military intervention against Saddam? (yes).
One problem with Ritter, I think, is that he approaches politicsÂ with a techno-military view. He's legitimately worried about command, coherency andÂ organization -- but a little too much.Â The deeper politics seem to be missing. I prefer the faster, simpler Scott Ritter: to beÂ opposed to the war you need only be opposed to the war. Can the rest.Â