“peace” movement that emerged in 2002, to protest American plans
to forcefully remove the dictator Saddam
Hussein from power in Iraq, was the largest and most ubiquitous
movement of its kind since the Vietnam War era. In cities across the United States, tens and then hundreds of
thousands of citizens were mobilized by leftist organizers to protest
the Bush administration's effort to oust Saddam. These demonstrations were rife with echoes from the 1960s –
identifying Washington DC as the “axis of evil”; characterizing
America as a “terror state”; and depicting President Bush as a
“terrorist,” a “baby killer,” an “oil thief,” and the
moral equivalent of Adolf Hitler.
Although this movement seemed very contemporary, its politics and strategies were rooted in, and patterned after, those of the Cold War Communist
Left, which hid its true motives by
constructing (in 1935) the Popular Front whose agendas were framed in
terms of the fundamental democratic values of the Western societies
the Communists intended to destroy. In place of the “dictatorship
of the proletariat” and an “international civil war,” the frank
goals of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, these “internationalist”
Communists organized coalitions for “democracy, justice, and
peace.” Nothing had changed in the philosophy and goals of the
Communists, but by working through the Popular Front they had formed
with liberal groups, they were able to hide their conspiratorial
activities, form “peace” movements, and increase their own
numbers until they became a formidable political force.
The anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s was initiated by a left-wing coalition of radical pacifists, American
Trotskyists, and other assorted Communists, along with SDS-style
radicals who claimed to be acting out of indigenous American values.
Not all the marchers wanted a
Communist victory. But the extremists who ran the marches had as the
official slogan: “Bring The Troops Home Now!” This meant, in
effect, unilateral withdrawal and a North Vietnamese victory.
The movement that was launched in America and
other Western nations to oppose U.S. efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein
likewise grew with astonishing speed and also depicted the United States as the
world's foremost aggressor and terrorist state. Many -- perhaps most -- of the demonstrators who attended the anti-war rallies staged by radical organizers were animated only by a sincere desire for peace at any cost, coupled with a belief that their own good intentions, if given a proper forum, could be depended upon to win the hearts of America's adversaries and thereby stave off war.
But history shows that the foes whom such individuals aim to appease inevitably pursue their aggressive ambitions nonetheless, drawing the would-be peacemakers into deadly conflicts for which the latter may be unprepared, both psychologically and militarily. To such naive idealists, Winston Churchill once addressed the following words:
"Virtuous motives, trammeled by inertia and timidity, are no
match for armed and resolute wickedness. A sincere love of peace is no
excuse for muddling hundreds of millions of humble folk into total war.
The cheers of weak, well-meaning assemblies soon cease to echo, and
their votes soon cease to count. Doom marches on."
The partisan politics of the antiwar movement became starkly apparent after the election of President Barack Obama
in November 2008. One scholarly study
found that during the last two years of the Bush administration, from January 2007 through the end of 2008, "the attendance at antiwar rallies [measured in] roughly the tens of thousands, or thousands." By contrast: "After the election of Barack Obama as president, the order of magnitude of antiwar protests dropped [...] Organizers were hard pressed to stage a rally with participation in the thousands, or even in the hundreds. For example, [there were] exactly 107 participants at a Chicago rally on October 7, 2009." As reporter John Stossel pointed out
, this occurred even though "the war in Afghanistan ramped up after Obama was elected," and even though "American fatalities shot up in 2009 and 2010."
The RESOURCES column on the right side of this page contains a link to
the section where profiles of peace groups can be found. It also contains
links to articles, essays, books, and videos that explore such
worldviews, agendas, and communist/radical affiliations of peace
- the agendas of the Peace and Security Funders Group, a coalition of more than five-dozen foundations focused on issues related to global security;
to disrupt and derail the U.S. military's efforts to recruit young
people into the service; and
- the Religious Left and pacifism.