[sixties-l] War Dissent? Dont Look on the (Hawkish) Left (fwd)

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Date: Mon Nov 26 2001 - 20:11:08 EST

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    Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 16:21:10 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: War Dissent? Dont Look on the (Hawkish) Left

    War Dissent? Don't Look on the (Hawkish) Left


    by Dan Balz Washington Post Service
    Tuesday, November 27, 2001

    WASHINGTON President George W. Bush has called the battle against terrorism
    a war like no other, and the same could be said of domestic dissent. In
    this conflict, the right has vigorously challenged the administration's
    military policies while the left has been quiescent.
    That could change in the weeks ahead as the debate moves from retaliation
    against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the Qaida terrorist network
    of Osama bin Laden to more controversial questions of whether to carry the
    fight to Iraq and beyond. But up to now, the left has been satisfied to
    question Mr. Bush's moves to fight terrorism at home, leaving it to
    conservatives to question how the military campaign has been waged.
    Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist Democratic
    research group, said it was "astonishing how little anti-war agitation
    there has been on the left" in America. Abroad, the left has pilloried Mr.
    Bush's policies, but the attacks of Sept. 11, which left more than 3,800
    people dead, produced a consensus across the political spectrum in the
    United States.
    "It's hard to dissent from a policy of retaliation when you've obviously
    been attacked," Mr. Marshall said. "Typically, the friction on the left has
    arisen when the U.S. has intervened in a foreign conflict. That's not the
    case here." On newspaper op-ed pages and in the columns of opinion
    magazines, conservatives have challenged the administration over its
    initial bombing strategy, questioned the decision not to insert more troops
    on the ground and prodded Mr. Bush not to shrink from taking the war to
    Iraq in phase two. When Vice President Dick Cheney recently rebuked the
    administration's critics, he was pointing to the right, not the left.
    In contrast, there has been no anti-war movement of note. Campuses have
    not erupted with protests, and many on the left who have opposed U.S.
    intervention in the past have embraced military action against Mr. bin
    Laden and the Taliban.
    "The war in Afghanistan against apocalyptic terrorism qualifies in my
    understanding as the first truly just war since World War II," Richard
    Falk, emeritus professor at Princeton and long a dissenter against the use
    of U.S. military power in regional conflicts, wrote in a recent issue of
    the Nation magazine.
    Mr. Bush has enjoyed this kind of support in part because he has embraced
    policies that progressives say are compatible with values they have long
    endorsed. Harold Meyerson, executive editor of the American Prospect, a
    left-of-center magazine, called the administration's war strategy "a case
    where a liberal value became one of the strategic guides to the conduct of
    the war." That means a strategy designed to keep civilian casualties and
    other collateral damage to a minimum, that gave a high priority to
    humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan and that played to
    feminists by focusing criticism on the Taliban's policy of oppressing women.
    Potential critics on the left also have been encouraged by what they see as
    Mr. Bush's embrace of the cautionary advice of Secretary of State Colin
    Powell, who advocated diplomacy and coalition-building, over the more
    hawkish instincts of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and his
    supporters outside the administration. "He went with the Powell position
    against the holy warriors," Robert Borosage of the liberal Campaign for
    America's Future said, referring to hard-liners inside the administration
    and outside. "So a huge portion of the progressive side of politics
    supported that."
    That is exactly what has rankled those on the right. "A lot of
    conservatives were worried in the first few weeks of the war that some of
    the pathologies that seemed to mark former President Bill Clinton's
    military interventions were resurfacing in this administration," said Gary
    Schmitt, executive director of the Project for a New American Century.
    Those fears led to critical columns in newspapers. All expressed fears that
    Mr. Bush was more concerned about keeping his disparate coalition pacified
    than about waging war vigorously and expansively.
    But to some of Mr. Bush's most conservative critics, the issue is not just
    dislodging the Taliban and uprooting Mr. bin Laden's network; it is the
    shape of the world in the years ahead.
    William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and co-author of a number of
    articles challenging the administration's war policies, said that, for many
    Americans, Sept. 11 represents "a challenge we need to beat back
    competently," but not much more than that.
    "For us, more is at stake," he said. "If this war is fought right, the
    benefits will be huge, but if it's fought wrong, the costs will be huge. If
    you think what's at stake is the shape of the world order, if you think
    about threats of weapons of mass destruction in the future," then "you're
    likely to be engaged in how this war ought to be fought." The flash point
    in the debate is Iraq and whether Washington decides that its war against
    terrorism requires a new effort to drive President Saddam Hussein from
    power and wipe out his capability to develop weapons of mass destruction.
    "Whether we take on Iraq has huge implications for the U.S. role in the
    world, and fundamentally, it's whether we're going to take it upon
    ourselves to shape a new world order," Mr. Kristol said.

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