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Rick Moran


August 28, 2013 - 4:05 pm

Anti-war groups like Code Pink and Peace Action aren’t swarming the Mall in Washington to protest Barack Obama’s planned intervention in Syria. Why not? Because the economy is in the pits and the movement is a “shadow of its former self,” according to Medea Benjamin, founder of Code Pink.


“Well, the most incredibly depressing thing was that most of the groups that existed before don’t exist anymore,” said Medea Benjamin, the founder of Code Pink. “That’s the number one problem, is that the antiwar movement is a shadow of its former self under the Bush years.”

Benjamin pointed to groups like United for Peace and Justice, a Communist Party-connected group, as examples: “They’re down to a couple of volunteers,” she said.

Code Pink itself, despite being one of the most visible protest groups in the U.S. today, has felt the pinch.

“Even Code Pink, which had 300 local groups, just has a tiny portion still functioning,” Benjamin said. “So when something like this happens, we don’t have the infrastructure to rally people.”

Some activists argue that it’s mostly an issue of money and membership, and not an indication that the left supports Syria intervention.

“Among the long-standing peace and disarmament groups that we work with, everybody is angry and pissed about what seems to be an imminent attack,” said Kevin Martin, the executive director of Peace Action. “Public opinion is not supporting it either. But you’re not going to see hundreds of thousands of people in the street.”

“I don’t think me or Medea or anyone else should be defensive about that,” Martin said. “We don’t push a button and get hundreds of thousands of people in the streets.”

Martin blamed the anemic response among peace groups to Syria on the economy, noting that all nonprofits are struggling — not just protest groups.

Plus, Martin said, the energy on the left has been focused on drones and civil liberties, which “doesn’t rise to the level of an obviously unjust war where hundreds of thousands of people are being killed because of a belligerent president.”

Our pacifist friends have gotten lazy. Now that they have a liberal in the White House (who’s about to start his third war), they just can’t find the time to do the scut work necessary to drive thousands into the streets. Body counts are apparently more important to the “anti-war” crowd than the act of going to war itself, which is a curious position to hold for people who think of themselves as pacifists.

At least one anti-war activist is brave enough to call his fellows out:

Though Benjamin and Martin both say the fact that Obama is a Democrat is not to blame, other antiwar stalwarts suspect the energy fizzled out when a Republican antagonist was no longer in office.

“The Democrats are missing in action because of course the president is a Democrat,” said David Swanson, a longtime antiwar activist and author of War Is a Lie and When the World Outlawed War, who works with Roots Action, a progressive nonprofit. “That’s the biggest factor, I think. What’s tamping down the activism is partisanship.”

“This started in 2007 when it was time to focus on electing a Democratic president and the Democrats forgot about the wars,” Swanson said. “We’ve been struggling ever since to get back to where we were in 2006.”

Swanson also blamed the apathy on the left on a belief that intervening in Syria is a humanitarian mission, whereas with Iraq the sales pitch was defense-related.

“The war in Syria is incredibly unpopular according to the polls, but there are some who support it because they believe it’s philanthropy,” he said.

Heh. Yes, I suppose one could say that helping al-Qaeda is a worthy philanthropic venture. But more importantly, it points up the ridiculous posturing on the left when it comes to the U.S. taking any military action.

To most of them, the only reason to sacrifice American blood and treasure is if our vital interests are not at stake. Only a completely selfless, noble, and altruistic intervention justifies going to war. This is a pathetic realization of the liberal self-image that projects a heroic personae for which the rest of us must stand in awe. Their absolute moral goodness places them above petty concerns like the nation or even self defense. The natural outgrowth of this philosophy is the now discredited “responsibility to protect” doctrine that was used to justify military action in Libya.

Intervening in Syria is not a “humanitarian mission” and it definitely isn’t “philanthropy.” Killing the enemy is always a brutal, inhuman means to an end — except in this case, there is no discernible “end” except to make good on the president’s ill-advised “red line” comment on chemical weapons.

We’re not going to bomb the Syrian army to save civilians or overthrow President Assad. Nor, apparently, is President Obama going to have to deal with tens of thousands of Americans in the streets screaming at him that he’s a baby killer and a murderer of innocents.

That kind of treatment is reserved for the partisan enemies of the left.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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Top Rated Comments   
They are lying political hacks. Nothing more.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maybe it's just a new strain of the well-known Liberal pandemic virus - hypocritisis.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So without Democrat-supplied cash, there really isn't a "peace" movement.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (31)
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51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Intellectual integrity or consistency has never been a virtue of the left. Ends justifying means will always be dishonest in the end. The end was to discredit a president, the means were "anti-war". Today, that is not the end and so the means are abandoned.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think another reason why we stopped seeing wall to wall anti-war demonstrations is because the Obama loving media stopped covering whatever protests were still going on.
I remember reading an article years ago about a protest group that had tons of press and media following their exploits when it was Bush's war, but once Obama entered the White House (and it was his war now) the media packed up and left.
Nobody protests Dear Leader.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maybe the minimum wage needs to be raised to get protesters on the street!

Speaking of protesters, as if Detroit didn't have enough problems already, a local McDonald's restaurant was forced to close.

McDonald's employees went on strike demanding a raise from $7.40/hr to $15/hr.

And how does the management of McDonalds feel about such a rate increase?

They're all for it. They'd love to pay $15/hr or even $25/hr. as long as the protesters can become 'community organizers' to rallying the neighborhoods to pay $10 per hour for a Big Mac or $35 for a Happy Meal.

Apart from such an extraordinary effort (reminiscent of Acorn), the economics of a $15 per hour entry level position just can't work.

I worked at McDonalds for my first job and was happy to get $1.15/hr in 1970.

It taught me the work ethic that lead to may becoming a businessman.

One worker striking was quoted saying:

"It’s a very uncomfortable lifestyle working for $7.40 at McDonald’s when McDonald’s made like $500 billion last year."

Hey, I agree, if McDonalds actually made a half trillion in profit they could pay more.

But no corporation in America made a half trillion dollars in profit last year.

If it's that sort of fuzzy math that the striking employees have, they shouldn't be allowed to operate the cash register!

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just let those senile old war hawks in Congress (like John McCain) start talking about bringing back the draft, and you will see many millions of protestors in the streets. Some of them violent. That's one of the reasons they want Amnesty for illegals so bad. The quickest path to citizenship for an illegal immigrant is to join the US military. Even if they get killed Over There Somewhere, their extended families have a guaranteed entrance to the American Dream.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Why doesn't the arab countries take care of their own? It is not my responsibility to give aid to the enemy of my people. Syria has been waging a proxy war with Israel since the 1970's. The war was never ended, and now Israel has to be threatened again by this pig-nosed little dictator? G-d help Syria if it touches a hair on the head of Israel.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
with Obama in power, I fear it's US missiles that'll rain down on Israel and then a press report from Washington claiming "incontrovertible evidence" that Syria did it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If only the economy were as bad as it is now during the Bush years they wouldn't have been out there protesting the Iraq war. Can't anyone else see that the King has no clothes?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Afraid I have to agree. If McCain were President, I'm sure Code Pink could find some way to scrape together enough cash to make it to DC. They just don't want to make President Perfect look bad.

But that's the deal with big, important anti-war protests. What about other things, like press statements, little gatherings, shocking antics carried out by dedicated individuals. Everybody knows who Medea Benjamin is. She has only to speak, and the press will broadcast her words across America. Why is she not screaming from a rooftop somewhere, attracting attention, getting the word out? Why is she so apathetic? Two words: Democrat President.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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