Peace Activism More Useful Than Banging Head Against Wall, Historian Finds


A historian of the antinuke movement, Lawrence Wittner, writing at the History News Network site, thinks that peace activism is not inherently futile. While it is true that it might be more common to see wars end peace movements than vice versa, at times those crazy peaceniks can have real effect. Wittner posits, in a piece that is certainly amenable to argument, that the outcome of the Mexican-American War, the Vietnam War, potential 1980s interventions in Nicaragua, and the Cold War itself were all strongly influenced by popular antiwar sentiment.

Wittner doesn't apply his thinking to the current war. But since USA Today reported back in November that public attitudes toward Iraq have matched those regarding Vietnam in summer 1970, with 19 percent polled wanting immediate withdrawal from Iraq and 33 wanting withdrawal within a year, this does provide some hope that popular disenchantment will lead the GOP to realize it is well past time to declare victory and come home.