With their stony silence in the midst of Russia’s brutal attack against the Republic of Georgia, the organizations that spearhead the contemporary “peace” movement have spoken volumes about the true nature of their core motives. They are united, above all else, by their unwavering conviction that a racist, imperialist United States is the chief wellspring of evil on earth—guilty of unspeakable and unrivaled atrocities, past and present, foreign and domestic.
The “peace” for which these groups agitate generally requires the U.S. and its close ally, Israel, to refrain from defending themselves against enemies sworn to their destruction—all in the venerated name of “peace,” of course. By contrast, these champions of “nonviolence” rarely have a word to say about the military pursuits, however unjustified or heavy-handed, of America’s (and Israel’s) adversaries. This assertion is entirely demonstrable if we examine how some of the leading “anti-war” organizations in the U.S. reacted to America’s post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan (in 2001) and Iraq (in 2003), and then compare those reactions to the non-response to Moscow’s current offensive.
After 9/11, Global Exchange, headed by the pro-Castro radical Medea Benjamin, advised Americans to examine introspectively “the root causes of resentment against the United States in the Arab world—from our dependence on Middle Eastern oil to our biased policy towards Israel.” And after the subsequent U.S. incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq, Global Exchange impugned the Bush administration for having “responded to the violent attack of 9/11 with the notion of perpetual war … [which] led to the killing and maiming of thousands of civilians.” “We must insist that governments stop taking innocent lives in the name of seeking justice for the loss of other innocent lives,” said Benjamin.
And what has been Global Exchange’s reaction to Russia’s invasion of Georgia? Unbroken silence. Since the launching of that attack on August 8th, Medea Benjamin’s group has issued only one press release—a promotion for an August 13th event titled “We Want More from Our S’mores.” “Fans of this summery [chocolate] treat will unite in support of Fair Trade Certified farmers,” said the release, “while condoning the persistent problems of chronic poverty in cocoa-growing communities …”
In other words, while thousands of Georgians lay dead, and tens of thousands more have fled their Russian attackers, Global Exchange is talking about chocolate. Interesting.
United For Peace & Justice (UFPJ), led by another pro-Castro socialist, Leslie Cagan, has similarly opposed America’s every military measure since its founding in 2002. Some of its anti-war rallies in 2002 and 2003 drew hundreds of thousands of participants. But today, while Russia’s proverbial boot is poised upon Georgia’s proverbial throat, Cagan and her cohorts are focused entirely on urging their supporters to make plans to gather at the sites of the Democratic and Republican national conventions (in Denver and St. Paul, respectively), to “send a strong and clear message to party candidates: the war and occupation of Iraq must end now!”
Moreover, while chastising the United States for continuing “to rely on the threatened first use of nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of its national security policy,” UFPJ has had nothing whatsoever to say about Russia’s recent threat to use nuclear weapons against Poland as punishment for that country’s missile-defense accord with the U.S.
Code Pink for Peace, headed by Jodie Evans (a great admirer of Hugo Chavez) and the aforementioned Medea Benjamin, in 2003 sponsored a delegation of fifteen American women who traveled to Baghdad to publicly denounce a greedy America’s “war for oil.” In conjunction with Global Exchange and United for Peace & Justice, Code Pink in 2004 helped establish Iraq Occupation Watch, whose objective was to thin out U.S. forces in Iraq by persuading soldiers to seek discharges and be sent home as conscientious objectors.
In stark contrast to these unambiguously anti-American measures, Code Pink has buttoned its lip about the Russian invasion of Georgia. Rather, its chief concern currently is for the U.S. to engage in “diplomacy with Iran” — the same Iran that has pledged its divine commitment to wiping both America and Israel off the face of the earth. A military strike against Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program would be unacceptable, says Jodie Evans’ group, because “Americans will not stand for ongoing war, occupation, and killing.”
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) excoriated the Bush administration after 9/11 for “embracing militarism and unilateral preemptive military strikes to answer threats to U.S. interests”; for “undermin[ing] the foundations of international law, arms reduction treaties, and diplomacy in the post-World War II era”; for refusing to allow America’s “military supremacy to be challenged, as it was during the Cold War”; and for creating “an atmosphere of threats and intimidation that encourages other countries to pursue military solutions.”
If you look for AFSC’s comments about the Soviet invasion of Georgia, however, you’ll come up empty. But perhaps you’ll find comfort in discovering that this “peace” organization continues to exhort Americans “to write to their congressional representatives” and demand that they “defund the war in Iraq.” The top story on AFSC’s website today applauds the California Legislature’s recent adoption of a resolution (co-sponsored by AFSC) aimed at preventing health professionals from engaging in coercive interrogations of detainees at Guantánamo and other U.S. military prisons. “The resolution calls attention to the intolerable dilemma that torture presents when those who are supposed to be the healers in our society are involved in the abuse of prisoners,” said AFSC regional director Eisha Mason.
International ANSWER, controlled by Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center and the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party, organized massive protests against the looming U.S. attack on Iraq in 2002 and early 2003; some of those events drew more than a half-million attendees. The threat of war was first and foremost on ANSWER’S mind.
And today, with Russian tanks rumbling over the Georgian landscape, ANSWER’s focus remains steadfastly, and exclusively, fixed on America’s alleged transgressions. The predominant slogans on its website are these: (a) “U.S. Out of Iraq & Afghanistan Now!”; (b) “Stop Threatening Iran!”; (c) “Full Rights for All Immigrants! Stop Raids & Deportations!”; (d) “Money for Jobs, Health Care & Education—Not War!”
Peace Action, whose Executive Director Kevin Martin has condemned America’s “shameful status as arms merchant to the world,” had lots to say when the U.S. was contemplating retaliation for the 9/11 attacks. Seven days after the fall of the World Trade Center, Peace Action Board member Rania Masri wrote that any U.S. military action against Iraq would be unjustified because during the 1991 Gulf War, American troops had “massacre[d]” more than 200,000 Iraqis. “And the massacre continues,” said Masri. “… Every day, approximately 150 Iraqi children under the age of five die due to the effects of sanctions.” Less than three weeks later—on October 7, 2001—Peace Action issued this statement vis a vis America’s military retaliation against Afghanistan:
“We urge the president … instead to seek an end to terrorism through international legal cooperation. Treating the heinous acts of September 11 as an act of war, and waging war in response, will only escalate the violence and loss of life. The … perpetrators of the crimes should be brought to justice through the international legal system.… Terrorism will only be defeated by a long-term commitment to building democracy, respect for human rights, and economic and social development in impoverished areas of the world.”
Today Peace Action is soundless regarding Russia’s incursion into Georgia. The organization’s only audible message consists of its ever-so-familiar mantras: (a) the U.S. must lead other nations by example toward “nuclear abolition”; (b) Americans must “tell Bush to stop beating the war drums”; and (c) the “unjust” war in Iraq must be brought swiftly to a close.
Sojourners, a Washington, DC-based Christian evangelical ministry, published a March 2003 article declaring that a U.S. war against Iraq “would be unjust and immoral”; “would dishonor our nation, disregard morality, and violate international law”; and would represent “a drive for cheap oil and for increased control over the oil-producing world.” “We urge all U.S. military personnel,” said Sojourners, “… to refuse to participate in this immoral war.”
Yet Sojourners has been mute as regards the current Soviet bombing campaigns in Georgia. The organization’s focus instead is on the notion that America has corrupted its own “national soul” by engaging in “torture” against captured terrorists in recent years.
Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) issued a post-9/11 statement that read, in part: “[O]ur country has to address the reasons behind the violence that has now come to our shores.… As long as U.S. foreign policy continues to be based on corporate exploitation and military domination, we will continue to make more enemies in the poor, underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.”
What, you may wonder, does this same organization say about the current Russian offensive in Georgia? Not a thing. Instead it is actively promoting an upcoming “seminar on organizing for justice for Vietnamese and U.S. Agent Orange victims” who were harmed in Southeast Asia three to four decades ago. Says VVAW:
“As the U.S. backs out of Iraq—somehow, but not nearly soon enough—there will be an opening for the U.S. government to redeem its self image by doing something real for Vietnam. Now it's up to the U.S. people! Our ability to win this struggle is part of healing the wounds of war with Vietnam and also assuring that current and future victims of U.S. chemical warfare receive the justice and compensation they deserve!”
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom has consistently condemned America’s military presence in Iraq, asserting that “this illegal war” has destabilized “the entire Middle East region” and destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure, “politically and physically.” “The Bush administration created the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ to instill fear as the premise for U.S. foreign policy,” said WILPF. “Basic human rights are being curtailed in the U.S. and abroad to propagate this lie.”
But as regards the Russian invasion of Georgia, WILPF, like its aforementioned comrades in the “peace” movement, has elected to swallow its tongue. Focusing instead on events that took place more than six decades ago, the WILPF website currently features “Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days” — a lamentation over the atom bombs that America dropped on Japan to end World War II in August 1945.
This, then, is the modern “peace” movement. Its members are bound to one another by their common hatred of America more than by any shared commitment to “peace.” Their overriding objective is to relentlessly demean and discredit the United States for its every failing—real and imagined, ancient and current. This tactic is intended for one overriding purpose: to gradually, incrementally demoralize the American people, and to convince them that their society is so loathsome as to be utterly unworthy of defending with any vigor. Meanwhile, as Russian forces overrun a tiny neighboring nation that is friendly to America, the so-called champions of “peace” refrain from whispering even a syllable in protest.