Tuesday, October 22, 2002

MotherJones : | Beyond Right: The Temptations of Empire

Why the anti-war movement should listen to the 'real right's' patriotic arguments against invading Iraq.

The anti-war movement must mobilize the antiwar "silent majority" -- and it won't accomplish that with leftist jargon. Nor will "can't we all get along?" pacifism, or appeals to "multilateralism" and the United Nations suffice. The UN, after all, authorized the first Gulf war -- and their imprimatur didn't justify that one, either.

There is, however, a third way: we must appeal to the American public's instinctive revulsion at the idea of international meddling or bullying. We must show the American people that this war will hurt and not advance our national interests. We can build a movement that represents the antiwar majority if we ask people to join not because America is inherently evil, but because it's the patriotic thing to do.

So, let's get rid of the arcane slogans, and the appeals to free Mumia, and let's get out the American flags. Or, if the stars-and-stripes are too prosaic, those who really want to make a political fashion statement might take a look at the flags of the American Revolution. I suggest the Gadsen flag, with its coiled snake and the motto "Don't tread on m!" It's the perfect answer to the War Party's continuing assault on the Constitution -- and to phony neoconservative "patriots" like Bill Bennett and David Horowitz who seek to stigmatize all opposition to this war as a "fifth column."

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