The Peace Candidate

|

Alexander Cockburn on peaceniks for Kerry:

[V]oting for John Kerry now is like voting for LBJ in 1964 with full precognition of what he was going to do in Vietnam for the next four years. By all means vote for the guy if you think your ballot will really count in keeping Ralph Nader out of the White House, but don't do so with the notion that all along John Kerry has been holding a secret withdrawal plan close to his chest and that his first three months in office will see the US Marines haul down the colors from the US embassy in Baghdad, scoop Ambassador Negroponte off the roof and head for home.

NEXT: Nice Work If You Can Get It

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “[V]oting for John Kerry now is like voting for LBJ in 1964 with full precognition of what he was going to do in Vietnam for the next four years.”

    Really? Think of the difference between American involvement in Vietnam in 1964, and in 1968. We know FOR CERTAIN that Kerry intends to expand the war in the Middle East significantly? Cockburn even asserts that Kerry would invade Iran.

    I’ve seen one writer assert that John Kerry is “holding a secret…plan close his chest” – Alexander Cockburn, in this description of John “Scourge of the Farsis” Kerry.

    What a boob.

  2. So what if Kerry doesn’t pull out of Iraq? Will the “Peaceniks” care? Not a jot, since most “peaceniks” aren’t anti-war folks, just anti-war when there’s a Republican at the helm (much like their anti-war when there’s a Democrat at the helm brethren on the right). I mean, if there is this huge groundswell of “peace, love and understanding” folks who abhor war, why weren’t they clogging the streets in protest of the US using its military might in the Balkins? Why haven’t they lambasted Kerry for saying he would use the military to prop up Aristide in Haiti, or for that matter get their knickers in a twist when Clinton did it? Where was the fervor over sending troops to Somalia (oh, yeah, that’s right. They were all for it). The true pacifist in the Kerry supporter ranks are few and far between.

  3. This is a very intriquing post. If Biden were to become Secretary of State…

  4. Since no candidate is as perfect as me, or will look out for my specific ass, I’ll just settle for one that isn’t an arrogant, bumbling prick.

  5. Nathan, there were protests during the Kosovo War with attendance numbering in the thousands, though obviously they were much smaller than those of the past two years.

    Other than that, you are right on: most of those who opposed this war, and who support Kerry, are not philosophical pacifists.

  6. “Since no candidate is as perfect as me, or will look out for my specific ass, I’ll just settle for one that isn’t an arrogant, bumbling prick.”

    um… which one is that again?

  7. I have to agree with Joe here, I can’t recall much if any talk from the Kerry camp pointing towards much less mentioning and invasion of Iran. Cockburn might be getting cabin fever due to the rain.

    On another note Jesse, I enjoyed the presentation you and your colleagues gave in DC yesterday. It was a relaxed, amiable affair, with the exception of the late-comer in the back with the pages of scrawled notes who seemed to want some type of college debate. The response you guys gave made him audibly pleased as he checked of things on his list, but I think he was disappointed with the lack of enthusiasm. Good thing he wasn’t there for the discussion about the upcoming vote.

    I recommend stopping by to see them if they swing by your area. They even give out free shit.

  8. Trick question Brian, both fit that description.

  9. “Cockburn” heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh eh heh heh heh heh heh

  10. Yeah.. “Cock” huh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh huh “burn” huh huh huh

  11. Chthus: Thanks, glad you had fun. Which one was you?

  12. The point about Kerry, whose views are all over the place, is that one projection is about as good as the next.

  13. Perhaps media coverage of protests during the Balkans campaign was a little anemic as compared to coverage of last year’s ongoing Iraq protests.

  14. “Since no candidate is as perfect as me, or will look out for my specific ass, I’ll just settle for one that isn’t an arrogant, bumbling prick.”

    um… which one is that again?

    I was wondering the same thing. I’d say “Frank Zappa”, but he’s dead.

  15. “since most ‘peaceniks’ aren’t anti-war folks, just anti-war when there’s a Republican at the helm … Where was the fervor over sending troops to Somalia (oh, yeah, that’s right. They were all for it)”

    Your knee is jerking, Nathan. Last time I checked, US troops deployed to Somalia in 1992 at the direction of President Bush the Elder who, as you might recall, was a Republican. Also, Antiwar.com was founded in 1995 specifically to oppose US intervention in the Balkans, which as you also might recall, was launched by Bill Clinton, a Democrat: http://www.antiwar.com/history.php

  16. Sadly, Cockburn is probably right about Kerry (or Bush) bombing Iran – unless the Israelis beat us to it.

    In about a year or so Iran will be over the hump on their uranium enrichment projects – with the jump in the price of oil they’ll be in an even better position to ramp up. They’re bringing out longer range missiles capable of hitting Israel and parts of Europe. Israel is on the record as saying they’re not going to let that happen and are already practicing with long range fighters. As time goes by the risks of a pre-emptive bombing goes up and the chance of success goes down.

    I believe that no matter who gets elected, Iran’s next. Check out this article. It’s wordy but the farther you go the more chilling it gets.

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iran-strikes.htm

  17. Voting for a candidate in a two party system is an exercise in selective perception. Doves give Kerry the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn’t REALLY have gone to war knowing exactly what Bush did, he just has to say that to get elected. Kerry supporters variously have to pretend that he is fiscally responsible, that he can actually make jobs appear out of thin air, that Kyoto would be a signed deal if he were in office, and so on. They have to pretend that because the alternative is worse.

    Bushies are the same. The libertarian republicans must close their eyes to absurd expansions of government programs and all sorts of the benefit of the doubt is given when unknowns are thrown about. Of course he wouldn’t actually try to pass a federal amendment, he just has to say that to get elected.

    The truth is that the left and right coalitions are held together by this willingness to pretend by both camps. All unpleasantness by your guy is just unfortunate campaign rhetoric, but that other guy is a liar who will destroy the country.

    I laughed a bit at Matt Yglesias recently when he published the suggestion that if he were a libertarian, he would vote Badnarik out of principle. I asked where a principled liberal should vote in Kerry vs. Bush, and got no answer.

  18. That’s an excellent link, Gadfly. Thanks.

  19. I didn’t ask any questions or stop by afterward (I would have but I was out for a smoke, and trying to grab the MARC back to baltimore, missed it anyway). You may have noticed me as the 30ish guy in the puke green shirt with yellow and black stripes sitting towards the back, though I was largely obscured from your line of sight after it filled up.

  20. To paraphrase Bill Maher: “I almost hope Bush DOES win, because then for the first time in his life he’ll have to clean up his own fucking mess.”

  21. Jennifer,

    I know of at least two Dem friends, who were against the Iraq invasion, who are voting Bush for that exact reason. They prefer to look ahead to 2008 and don’t want a Dem president tainted with what will be happening in the interim. I doubt it’s a widespread sentiment, but there’s probably a few more out there as well.

  22. chthus,

    C’mon now, when has a president (or his party) ever hesitated to use “It was like that when I got here” once they get into office.

    Did any Californian Repubs say “Naw, let’s keep Gray Davis in office, just so things will suck worse until the next election”

  23. BP – “Perhaps media coverage of protests during the Balkans campaign was a little anemic as compared to coverage of last year’s ongoing Iraq protests.”

    Well, bigger protests, bigger story. I suggest you get your story straight, however, because it can’t be that commie peaceniks were staying home during Clinton’s wars, while at the same time the pinko mainstream media was deliberately ignoring their impressive and important street protests.

    Jennifer, sending a few thousand more kids to die in Iraq, and using our money to pay for it, hardly counts as “cleaning up his own mess.”

    Anyone want to bet that Bush will sell his luxury box seats to reduce the deficit?

  24. IC,

    It’s not my sentiment, so I won’t even try to defend it. And I don’t mind two more Dem votes for Bush in PA, so I’m not going to try to argue them out of it.

    But as bad reason to vote for some one go, I’m reasonably certain there have been far odder reasons. (odder? more odd? whatever.)

  25. Your knee is jerking, Nathan. Last time I checked, US troops deployed to Somalia in 1992 at the direction of President Bush the Elder who, as you might recall, was a Republican.

    Mea culpa on the party affiliation at the time of Somalia, but the gist is still the same. It was the left that was clambering for the US to get militarily involved in Somalia (“lets help starving brown people”), while the right were yelling to say out of it (“quagmire”).

    Also, Antiwar.com was founded in 1995 specifically to oppose US intervention in the Balkans, which as you also might recall, was launched by Bill Clinton, a Democrat: http://www.antiwar.com/history.php

    And considering 99 out of a hundred people wouldn’t know / give two shits about antiwar.com, even if their IE browser spontaneously loaded the page replete with naked lesbians making out in front of peace signs, pretty much proves my point. There were no protests on the scale of those during the run up to Iraq II. I still stand by my point: most of those protesting last year are not anti-war, they’re anti-war because it was at the behest of the Republicans.

    Assuming Kerry wins and he doesn’t pull out (and further assuming he upholds one of his contradictory promises of the week he sends over more troops) I suspect the “teeming throngs of protesters” will wilt (as they pretty much already have done) back down the Antiwar.com/Chomsky/Workers Party types who love a good march.

  26. I heard Coburn sucks. Then I turned into a pickle.

  27. Nathan says:
    “I still stand by my point: most of those protesting last year are not anti-war, they’re anti-war because it was at the behest of the Republicans.”

    Then why have the protests been so much greater for the Iraq invasion as opposed to the Gulf War (Bush I)? The rest of the world hates Bush because of the Iraq invasion, but during the Gulf War our allies pitched in and even paid for most of the costs.

    Bush I had huge support because of the Gulf War, he lost re-election because of the economy.

  28. Then why have the protests been so much greater for the Iraq invasion as opposed to the Gulf War (Bush I)? The rest of the world hates Bush because of the Iraq invasion, but during the Gulf War our allies pitched in and even paid for most of the costs.

    I’m not talking about the rest of the world, I’m talking about the US public. And there was protests against the first Gulf War (I was in college at the time, you had your pick of candlelight peace protests each night). Were they as large as last years? No. But they were substantially larger than anything protesting Haiti, the Balkans or Somalia.

  29. And considering 99 out of a hundred people wouldn’t know / give two shits about antiwar.com, even if their IE browser spontaneously loaded the page replete with naked lesbians making out in front of peace signs

    Don’t be ridiculous — lesbian porn can make anything interesting.

  30. And considering 99 out of a hundred people wouldn’t know / give two shits about antiwar.com, even if their IE browser spontaneously loaded the page replete with naked lesbians making out in front of peace signs, pretty much proves my point.

    According to Alexa, Antiwar.com is the 37th most visited site on the World Wide Web, four positions below the Chicago Tribune, just below AP’s web site, and ahead of no-names like USA Today and Time.

    And Reason.com, for that matter.

    What was your point again?

  31. Here is an interesting article on the petering out of protests again the 1st gulf war:
    http://www.nyu.edu/classes/stephens/Persian%20Gulf%20Page.htm
    To Quote:
    WHERE DID ALL the protesters go? That’s one of the questions that remains now that the dust raised by the Persian Gulf war has begun to settle.

    A major antiwar movement seemed to be mobilizing in the early days of the war. The vote in Congress authorizing the president to use force to expel Iraq from Kuwait was relatively close. And tens of thousands of Americans in Washington and other cities demonstrated their opposition to the war in its first weeks.

    But the protests began petering out even before the war ended. Was this because the administration succeeded in convincing most Americans that it was, in fact, a “just war”? One way to answer this question is to examine the fate of previous American antiwar movements.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.