Todd Gitlin wrote:
I spoke at an antiwar rally outside the UN on September 12, the same day
that President Bush, inside, addressed the General Assembly. The turnout was
ragged, 300 or so. But the numbers weren't the most dismaying aspect of that
gathering. The signs were.
Most of the printed placards held by the protesters said 'NO SANCTIONS, NO
BOMBING.' The international sanctions against Iraq have been a humanitarian
disaster for the country's civilians. But doesn't Saddam Hussein bear some
responsibility for that disaster? Must that not be noted? The bombing, US
and UK attacks in the no-fly zones of northern and southern Iraq, are taking
place under the auspices of a mission to protect Iraqi Kurds in the north
and Iraqi Shiites in the south. Again, the Iraqi leader bears
responsibility; Washington and London have made a credible case for the
no-fly-zone sorties because and only because Saddam Hussein has trampled
these long-suffering people in more ways than there is room to describe in
this space. Those picket signs are emblematic of a refusal to face a
grotesque world. They express a near-total unwillingness to rebuke Saddam
Hussein, and a rejection of any conceivable rationale for using force. The
left-wing sectarians who promote 'NO SANCTIONS, NO BOMBING' don't want the
US, or anyone, to lift a finger on behalf of the Kurds to whom you might
think we have a special responsibility, since our government invited them to
rise up in 1991.
--- One wonders why Gitlin bothered to speak at the anti-war rally at all, since he can't make up his mind whether or not he's against the war. "NO SANCTIONS, NO BOMBING," means exactly that. We have killed at least a half a million children through our sanctions yet we claim that Saddam somehow has reconstituted his never terribly impressive WMD arsenal. (Rumsfield must get his info from the "Psychic Friends Hotline.") Madeline Albright claimed this was "worth the price." Bush is even worse. I haven't heard anyone on the left complain about inspectors, though I've read THOUSANDS of articles on the subject. This is despite the fact that we planted spies in the inspection teams and information their reconnaissance developed was used by Clinton to pinpoint bombing in Desert Fox in 1998, immediately after we pulled our covert agents. This is also despite the fact that Bush's current grudging acceptance of inspectors is seen worldwide as a charade, a subjective pretext to trigger imminent an invasion when he thinks he can get away with it. We couldn't give a damn about the Kurds, and if we did, we would have not helped Saddam gas them (though Iran did most of the gassing). If we cared, we'd get our allies, the Turks, to stop slaughtering them. Similarly we misled the Iraqi Shiites by urging them to revolt against Saddam when we had zero intentions of supporting them.
The only difference between Gitlin and former '60s "leaders" like Eldridge Cleaver and Ira Einhorn is that Todd doesn't know he's dead or finished.
Frank Smith Kansas
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