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Posts Tagged ‘LIBERAL’

Here before us is a Soviet archival document,* a top secret report by a communist apparatchik who had received a delegation of US Senators led by Joseph Biden in 1979. After describing routine arms control discussions, it quotes Biden as telling the Soviets off-record that he did not really care about the persecution of Russian dissidents. He and other Senators might raise human rights issues with their Soviet counterparts, but only to be seen by the public as defenders of human rights, not to have those problems really solved. They would happily take no for an answer.Vadim V. Zagladin, the then deputy head of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee (the organization formerly known as the Comintern), wrote in the report:

The delegation did not officially raise the issue of human rights during the negotiations. Biden said they did not want ‘to spoil the atmosphere with problems which are bound to cause distrust in our relations.’ However, during the breaks between the sessions the senators passed to us several letters concerning these or those ‘refuseniks’.

Refuseniks were one of the best known groups of oppressed citizens in the USSR at that time: thousands of Jews who were refused exit permissions to emigrate to Israel on various trumped-up pretexts.

Unofficially, Biden and [Senator Richard] Lugar said that, in the end of the day, they were not so much concerned with having a problem of this or that citizen solved as with showing to the American public that they do care for ‘human rights’. They must prove to their voters that they are ‘effective in fulfilling their wishes’. In other words, the collocutors directly admitted that what is happening is a kind of a show, that they absolutely do not care for the fate of most so-called dissidents.

In the same conversation, Biden asked us to ensure that senators’ appeals on those issues are not left unanswered – even if we just reply that the letter is received but we cannot do anything.

Like most secret documents of the Cold War years, this report still remains classified in Russia’s official archives. However, a copy is available in the Gorbachev Foundation Archive in Moscow, where it was deposited by Mr. Zagladin – who himself works for the Gorbachev Foundation since the collapse of the USSR. Under pressure from the Kremlin, the archive had to limit the access to some of its documentary collections. However, Zagladin’s documents (Inventory 3/1) – including the one quoted above – were still available to researchers a few years ago, and that is how we obtained copies.

Of course, when people’s reputations are at stake, a natural question is: how far can we believe a document written by a communist? Other things being equal, if it is Zagladin’s word against a word of a U.S. Senator, one would surely believe the latter. Hopefully, Sen. Biden and Sen. Lugar will fairly soon provide the public with their own accounts of that episode, and then we will be able to compare.

Yet, we should not forget that these top secret documents were never intended to see the light of the day. They were written not for us, but for a very narrow circle of Zagladin’s communist bosses. Indeed, it was his job to deceive simple mortals; but deceiving the Politburo would be both pointless and dangerous. After reading and analyzing hundreds of suchlike reports by Zagladin, one cannot but conclude that he always portrayed his foreign collocutors as tougher, not softer, than they really were. That was natural, because that was safer for Zagladin himself. It was his job to cultivate foreign contacts, which made him to a degree responsible for their behavior. If he reported that someone was pro-Soviet and then the man turned out to be anti-Soviet, Zagladin would be held responsible. That is why he always preferred to err on the other side.

In any case, diplomacy is not so much about what you mean as how you are understood. If you go to Moscow sincerely determined to fight like a lion for human rights, and then leave the enemy with an impression that you don’t care – this is a monumental failure. It hardly matters what Senators Biden and Lugar actually thought about Soviet human rights abuses in the first place. If they really cared for human rights and meant to pressure the Soviets – so much the worse. Be that as it may, they were understood as the document reads. The message which the enemy received from them was this: we don’t care for those whom you keep torturing and rotting in prisons, but we would appreciate if you help us improve our public image.

There was more to it than simply the betrayal of dissidents; for this involved the question of the Senators’ own independence. Indeed, they should have known that every Soviet official who dealt with high-ranking foreigners would see them not as partners, but as potential targets for recruitment, potential collaborators or fellow-travelers. On such occasions, the Soviets always searched for a way to corrupt you. The worst thing you could do was to show the enemy that you depend on him in any way. For any Western politician, telling the Soviets that his public image depends on their good will was the first step to becoming an agent of influence, de facto if not de jure.

Today, it is a fact rather than a possibility that the next U.S. administration will have to lead the free world in the Second Cold War. Respectively, the staunchest critics of Russia’s authoritarianism from recent years – Senators McCain and Biden – are now at the center stage of the electoral campaign. Yet, fighting and winning this new Cold War will require more than just rhetoric. In order to work out correct strategies and tactics, it is more important than ever to analyze the lessons and mistakes of the first Cold War.

* [Top secret document is printed below]

9-20 April 1979 [?]The memo by Vadim V. Zagladin, deputy head of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee

ON THE BASIC CONTENTS OF TALKS WITH THE US SENATORS

During the official negotiations with the delegation of US senators led by J. Biden and the unofficial talks with the delegation’s head and some members, our collocutors expressed a number of considerations of certain interest.

1. J. Biden, the head of the delegation, said that the mutual understanding that the SALT-2 treaty should be ratified is, basically, achieved in the Senate Commission for Foreign Affairs. However, four reservations should be formulated. The contents of those reservations have already been reported to us by our embassy in Washington.

While commenting on the contents of those reservations, Biden said they should not worry the Soviet Union because they do not concern the substance of the treaty. The only reservation which, in his opinion, may cause our ‘displeasure’ says that the SALT-2 should not prevent the US from providing the defence capabilities of their allies. In practice, the collocutor said, this is a way to confirm the US’ preparedness to keep supplying European NATO members with modern US weapons, with the exception, naturally, of those types which are covered by the treaty itself.

The Senate Commission for Foreign Affairs is going to conclude the consideration of the treaty by the end of September. However, the Senate itself is starting to work on this problem later, possibly on the eve of the Christmas.

2. As for the problem of supplying Western Europe with new types of weapons, including the Pershing missiles etc.;, Biden said that no final decisions had been taken on this issue yet. Those decisions will be taken in December. And a lot there, he emphasised, will depend on the position of the Soviet Union.

During unofficial talks, Biden noted rather cynically that he personally and other members of the US Senate do not very much care about the Europeans’ concerns. The main area of the US citizens’ interest is the security of the US itself. Nevertheless, the feelings of our allies also ‘concern us’, he said. ‘We cannot stop supporting our allies, because if we did that, we would have weakened America’s own security’. Therefore, Biden continued, the Americans will probably have to solve the question of the supplies of the new types of armaments to Western Europe positively in principle. In any case, the majority in the Senate supports that, he said.

Then Biden meaningfully emphasised (and he was actively supported by Senator Prior here) that if the SALT-2 treaty is ratified before December, and if the Soviet Union makes some demonstrative steps in favour of further disarmament progress before the NATO meeting, the European countries probably may refrain from deploying new types of American weapons in Europe, or at least, postpone the decisions taken on this issue.

To our question on what exactly steps are meant here, Prior answered that, for example, the Soviet government might state it is not going to increase the number of SS-20 missiles any further.

3. Something that caught our attention was that this time, in both official and unofficial talks, the senators would raise more questions about the prospects, about the SALT-3, than the SALT-2. Unofficially, Biden said that ‘the question of the future is more significant to the more serious senators – although not to all – than the question of the present treaty. The thing is (he explained) that many in the Senate consider the present treaty as a kind of an intermediate step, a booster for the further reduction of the arms race. Many in the US are very serious about this, believing it is possible to negotiate the reduction of the level of military confrontation with the Soviet Union. However, at the same time, many people are uncertain whether the USSR will agree to further serious steps of that kind.’

Most questions concerned two subjects. Firstly, whether the USSR would agree to a significant reduction of the number of nuclear missiles at the next stage (the senators were particularly interested in heavy missiles in this connection). Secondly, whether the USSR would agree to the explansion of control and the introduction of ‘more effective methods’ (for example, the ‘black boxes’, which were discussed during the negotiations on the prohibition of underground nuclear tests).

It emerged during that talks that, in spite of all huge work we are doing about this, many statements of Comrade L. I. Brezhnev were unknown to the majority of the senators – for example, his statement that the Soviet Union was not going to make the first nuclear strike against anyone. The relevant texts were given to them, along with some other documents of the CPSU and the Soviet government.

4. It should also be noted that, this time, the delegation did not officially raise the issue of human rights during the negotiations. Biden said the did not want ‘to spoil the atmosphere with problems which are bound to cause distrust in our relations.’ However, during the breaks between the sessions the senators passed to us several letters concerning these or those ‘refuseniks’.

Unofficially, Biden and Lugar said that, in the end of the day, they were not so much concerned with having a problem of this or that citizen solved as with showing to the American public that they do care for ‘human rights’. They must prove to their voters that they are ‘effective in fulfilling their wishes’. In other words, the collocutors directly admitted that what is happening is a kind of a show, that they absolutely do not care for the fate of most so-called dissidents.

In the same conversation, Biden asked us to ensure that senators’ appeals on those issues are not left unanswered – even if we just reply that the letter is received but we cannot do anything. According to Biden, letters of this kind – if they are not addressed to the highest representatives of the Soviet state – sometimes remain unanswered.

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In the weeks preceding yesterday’s vice presidential debate, one might have been forgiven for suspecting a vast right-wing conspiracy to lower expectations for Sarah Palin. A platitude-filled interview with Katie Couric, spoofed on “Saturday Night Live” and lamented by unnamed but oft-quoted “top advisers to John McCain,” seemed to underscore the impression that the attractive Alaska governor was all style and no substance – and certainly no match for a Senate heavyweight like Joe Biden.

Palin did nothing to discourage such deflationary talk. For instance, she suggested that she was overmatched by the experienced Biden when she said that she’d been listening to his “speeches since I was in the second grade.” So pronounced did the underselling of Palin become that even the Obama campaign felt compelled to bolster the case for the really “terrific debater” who would “give a great performance next Thursday.”

Alas for the Obama camp, their spin was more precise. Time and again in their Thursday night debate, Palin not only stood her ground against Biden but, on issue after issue, outperformed her Democratic counterpart. This political pit-bull, it turns out, has bark and bite.

It didn’t hurt Palin that Biden seemed determined to rehearse the more dubious charges of the Obama campaign. Several times, Biden suggested that John McCain had pushed for a special tax break for oil companies like Exxon Mobil at the expense of tax relief for the middle class, a charge that first aired in an Obama TV ad earlier this summer. At the time, the non-partisan website PoltiFact.com, maintained by the St. Petersburg Times, demonstrated that it was a serious distortion of McCain’s support for a broad reduction in corporate taxes.

Palin went one better. Not only did she identify by name Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, but she went on to point out, accurately, that Obama himself had voted for the 2005 energy bill that granted tax breaks to oil companies, and contrasted it with her own much-publicized battles with oil companies in Alaska. (Palin was too nice to mention that Obama’s crusading against Exxon hasn’t prevented him from pocketing more than $30,000 from Exxon-Mobil employees.) A minor issue in the context of the wider debate, it nonetheless established straightaway that Palin not only understood the details of policy – something that her recent televised flops had given cause to doubt – but would not be bullied on politics.

And, indeed, she wasn’t. Take foreign policy. As the reigning chairman and longtime member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden was thought to have a clear advantage on the subject. It was just one of the assumptions demolished in the course of the debate. When Biden tried to defend Obama’s record on the Iraq war, Palin countered with some inconvenient praise, noting that Biden had earlier “opposed the move [Obama] made to try to cut off funding for the troops and I respect you for that.”

Going on the attack, Palin then asked how Biden could defend Obama’s position “especially with your son in the National Guard.” The reference to Beau Biden, a captain in Delaware’s National Guard, was particularly clever, coming as it did from Biden’s very own political playbook: During the primaries last August, Biden had scorned his Democratic opponents for voting against funding for the troops “to make a political point,” memorably adding that “there’s no political point worth my son’s life.” He couldn’t have imagined then how the line would come back to haunt him.

To shift the topic, Biden reached for a standard Democratic talking point. Iraq, he insisted, was a distraction from the real war on terror. Palin again gave no ground. Democrats’ claims to the contrary notwithstanding, she countered, Iraq is indeed a central front in the war on terror. “And as for who coined that central war on terror being in Iraq, it was General Petraeus and al Qaeda,” said Palin, amusingly pointing out that this was the “only thing that they’re ever going to agree on.” Against Palin’s pointed outline of the stakes in Iraq, Biden’s promise to withdraw troops in adherence with a political timeline seemed especially out of touch. And although Palin did not raise the point directly, viewers were left to wonder: How would President Obama make good on his promises to defeat al-Qaeda when he and his running mate refuse to recognize Iraq as a key battleground in the war on terror?

Palin proved even more adept in pricking the Democratic ticket’s pretensions to bi-partisanship. When Biden suggested that an Obama presidency would end polarization in Washington, Palin noted that Obama cast some 96 percent of his votes “solely along party line.” As Biden strained to play the loyal surrogate, Palin not only called attention to McCain’s record of breaking with his own party, but proudly boasted that he “never asked me to check my opinions at the door.”

Biden had hardly burnished his bi-partisan credentials when he revealed that his great insight as a senator was to recognize that judicial nominees should not be evaluated on their service record or qualifications but on the basis of their political ideology, citing as a putative achievement his successful 1987 campaign to defeat the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork. Those who recall Biden’s role in misrepresenting the record of Judge Bork – a Yale law professor and a member of the prestigious Court of Appeals whose great failing was to be a judicial conservative – might wonder how it supports his pledge to usher in an era of post-partisanship.

The discrepancy was not lost on Palin. In one of her most effective lines of the evening, she rebuffed Biden’s partisan attempts to tie McCain to the Bush administration by observing that “for a ticket that wants to talk about change and looking into the future, there’s just too much finger-pointing backwards to ever make us believe that that’s where you’re going.” As with so many other times in the debate, Biden had no compelling answer.

Nor could the Washington veteran match Palin’s engaging presence, which ultimately turned the debate in her favor. Charming, gracious, and politically fluent, she deftly inserted populist references to “Main Streeters like me” and even forced a crack in Biden’s steely façade when she premised a rejoinder with a ringing, “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”

Biden, by contrast, was stiff and hectoring, with his recurrent admonition – “Let me say that again” – calling to mind all the pompousness of the entrenched political class. One almost expected the Senator to address himself in the third person, which in fact he did, when he assured his interviewer, Gwen Ifill, that “no one in the United States Senate has been a better friend to Israel than Joe Biden.” That is debatable. More certain is that Joe Biden has had better debates.

Presidential campaigns rarely hinge on political debates, and yesterday’s duel is unlikely to reverse this history. It does, however, confirm a point that until yesterday seemed increasingly uncertain. If John McCain loses the election, it won’t be because of Sarah Palin.

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We are living through an age of liberal betrayal, but David Horowitz and Ben Johnson can only see a part of it in their new book, Party of Defeat. For them, the Left’s treason is of an old-fashioned kind: giving comfort to the enemy in a time of war. In the lucid style of a relentless prosecutor, they lay out ample evidence to support the charge. I could go through it all with you. A grateful Osama bin Laden paraphrasing Michael Moore’s excuses for tyranny, the Democratic congressmen trying to ensure the US Army lost the second Iraq war, MoveOn.org being cheered on by those same senior Democrats for denouncing General Petraeus as ‘General Betray Us’ when he worked-out a strategy for winning the second Iraq war…the case for the prosecution is long and convincing.

But although I can envisage a Democrat Senator or an editor on the New York Times being unnerved by an unfamiliar puncturing of their righteousness, I can also imagine liberals rallying robustly. To the authors’ assertion that the Left has undermined the American cause and diminished America’s ability to defend itself, they could reply that although the Left was wrong about the surge, it was right to argue that the second Iraq war was an ill-conceived, ill-prepared adventure. To argue against bad policy is no treason, they might say, but a democratic duty.

Horowitz and Johnson concede the point, although with reluctance. For my taste, they display a touch too much jealousy for the supposed advantages enjoyed by the strong man or reigning psychopath in authoritarian regimes. ‘A democracy at war is faced with problems dictatorships find avoidable,’ they sigh. ‘Its citizens have a responsibility – as the Left never tires of repeating – not to abandon the freedoms they are defending.’ Yet even Horowitz and Johnson pull back from the ugly implication of their complaint and conclude, that ‘criticism of every war, including the one in Iraq, is warranted’.

Given that concession, their targets may wonder where the problem lies. Even if Horowitz and Johnson can make what they said sound hysterical, paranoid or dumb in retrospect, they had good grounds for believing what they said at the time. The charge of betrayal doesn’t stick when the authors admit that there were no weapons of mass destruction worth talking about and that the Bush administration’s failure to prepare for the carnage of the occupation was shameful.

I’m sure conservative readers would not buy this defense. Having seen liberal opinion here in England go berserk during the war, I don’t buy most of it myself. All I am saying is that Horowitz and Johnson’s liberal opponents will think they can dismiss the arguments of this book.

But they cannot dismiss a deeper liberal betrayal. As conservatives, our authors can’t quite grasp its nature although the evidence screams at them from the first to last page.

They begin with of a portrait of George Soros – and I’m grateful to them for showing me that contrary to meritocratic theory a man can become very rich while remaining remarkably stupid. The financier was enraged by George W. Bush’s statement after 9/11 that countries had to choose whether they were going to help America or provide safe havens for terrorists. ‘Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make,’ Bush said. ‘Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.’

Bush’s doctrine was unexceptional – a leader would be guilty of a dereliction of duty if he did not treat those countries which harbored those who would slaughter his fellow citizens as ‘hostile regimes’ – but it was not allowed to stand. First his opponents pretended that the he had said ‘you’re either with us or against us’ – an unforgivably crass notion to their minds that challenged the central belief of postmodern liberalism that moral problems are never black and white only blurred shades of grey.

Then Soros got to work. The Hungarian billionaire whose speculations on the money markets fund the supposed left-wingers at moveon.org declared: ‘When I hear Bush say,

“You’re either with us or against us,” it reminds me of the Germans. It conjured up memories of the Nazi slogan, “Der Feind hoert mit” (The enemy is listening). My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized me.’

They did not sensitize him sufficiently, and not only because fuehrers do not observe constitutions, as a rule, or retire to Texan ranches when their term limit expires. Bush was not an inheritor of the totalitarian tradition, but America’s enemies most assuredly were and are. Radical Islam takes the Nazi’s Jewish conspiracy theory. It also seeks to destroy what rights Muslim women have and kill homosexuals, free thinkers, Muslims who change their faith or challenge their interpretation of Islam, and, of course , all non-believers and idolaters. Meanwhile Baathism in Iraq was not only based on the Fuehrerprinzip but so emulated the model of 20th century totalitarianism it gassed the ‘impure’ Kurdish minority. The targets of Islamists and Baathists are many, but they include the traditional friends of rich western liberals: trade-unionists, feminists, democrats, journalists, intellectuals and free-thinkers.

Yet Soros and the millions like him cannot acknowledge the victims of Islamo-fascism or offer them the smallest support. In their liberal anxiety to denounce their government they betray liberals and liberalism.

There are many gruesome scenes in Party of Defeat none more so than the moment when a blogger with the Daily Kos, Democratic candidate and self-proclaimed ‘Mayanist poet’ called Jeeni Criscenzo flies to Iraq to schmooze with the Sunni remnants of Saddam’s regime and the political wing of the Shia death squads of Muqtada al-Sadr. One of the Sheikhs she met eulogized the mass murderers of al Qaeda. ‘These young men who came here from other Muslim countries are very brave. They left their homes and comfortable lives to protect Muslims,’ he cries. No they didn’t they left their homes to slaughter Muslim Iraqis including liberal Iraqis who had every right to expect the support of the American and European lefts.

It may not be a surprise that Ms Criscenzo could not see what was in front of her nose, but it is flabbergasting that George Soros, Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and the New York Times shared her myopia. Their behavior calls into question what it means to be liberal in America and Europe, and what it means to be conservative as well.

Now what with one thing and another, American conservatives must be feeling a little bruised at the moment, so I hope they don’t think I’m nagging when I say they should take more notice of the ideological shifts around them. In the Arab world and beyond, people who are liberal and remain liberal are being betrayed by liberal Westerners simply because their suffering cannot be blamed on America.

The case Ayaan Hirsi Ali illustrates my point. She experienced abuse and forced marriage, renounced Islam and embraced feminism and atheism. She was, in short, a classic liberal heroine, the more so because psychopathic misogynists were trying to kill her.

The attack on her liberalism in the West, however, was not led by traditional conservatives but by liberals – Dutch leftists, Oxford dons and contributors to the New York Review of Books, who hated her for challenging the stereotypes of their reactionary multi-culturalism, and denigrated her in the most patronizing manner they could devise. In the end, she found a haven with the American Enterprise Institute. What we used to call ‘the Left’ had rejected her and offered nothing more than formulaic criticisms of those who would murder her, so she turned to what we used to call ‘the Right’.

I know from the last time she spoke in London that her commitment to feminism and atheism is undiminished. Has then she shifted from Left to Right or have all the liberals who criticized her? Is the American Enterprise Institute, which came to her rescue ‘conservative’, and the New York Review of Books, which demeaned her, ‘liberal’, or is it the other way round? These questions are becoming pointless because the conflicts of our time are draining old labels of meaning.

I can say with confidence that more will follow Hirsi-Ali, but only if conservatives accept the liberal values liberals are so thoughtlessly discarding.

I’m not sure if David Horowitz and Ben Johnson can take the necessary next step. Because they are patriots first and foremost they write with great brilliance and rigor on the liberals’ betrayal of country but cannot appreciate their betrayal of liberalism and of all those suffering at the hands of anti-American and anti-liberal totalitarian movements.

I expect that this is a criticism that neither gentleman is used to hearing, but the trouble with their critique of American liberalism is not that it goes too far but that it does not go far enough.

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With their stony silence in the midst of Russia’s brutal attack against the Republic of Georgia, the organizations that spearhead the contemporary “peace” movement have spoken volumes about the true nature of their core motives. They are united, above all else, by their unwavering conviction that a racist, imperialist United States is the chief wellspring of evil on earth—guilty of unspeakable and unrivaled atrocities, past and present, foreign and domestic.

The “peace” for which these groups agitate generally requires the U.S. and its close ally, Israel, to refrain from defending themselves against enemies sworn to their destruction—all in the venerated name of “peace,” of course. By contrast, these champions of “nonviolence” rarely have a word to say about the military pursuits, however unjustified or heavy-handed, of America’s (and Israel’s) adversaries. This assertion is entirely demonstrable if we examine how some of the leading “anti-war” organizations in the U.S. reacted to America’s post-9/11 invasions of Afghanistan (in 2001) and Iraq (in 2003), and then compare those reactions to the non-response to Moscow’s current offensive.

After 9/11, Global Exchange, headed by the pro-Castro radical Medea Benjamin, advised Americans to examine introspectively “the root causes of resentment against the United States in the Arab worldfrom our dependence on Middle Eastern oil to our biased policy towards Israel.” And after the subsequent U.S. incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq, Global Exchange impugned the Bush administration for having “responded to the violent attack of 9/11 with the notion of perpetual war … [which] led to the killing and maiming of thousands of civilians.” “We must insist that governments stop taking innocent lives in the name of seeking justice for the loss of other innocent lives,” said Benjamin.

And what has been Global Exchange’s reaction to Russia’s invasion of Georgia? Unbroken silence. Since the launching of that attack on August 8th, Medea Benjamin’s group has issued only one press releasea promotion for an August 13th event titled “We Want More from Our S’mores.” “Fans of this summery [chocolate] treat will unite in support of Fair Trade Certified farmers,” said the release, “while condoning the persistent problems of chronic poverty in cocoa-growing communities …”

In other words, while thousands of Georgians lay dead, and tens of thousands more have fled their Russian attackers, Global Exchange is talking about chocolate. Interesting.

United For Peace & Justice (UFPJ), led by another pro-Castro socialist, Leslie Cagan, has similarly opposed America’s every military measure since its founding in 2002. Some of its anti-war rallies in 2002 and 2003 drew hundreds of thousands of participants. But today, while Russia’s proverbial boot is poised upon Georgia’s proverbial throat, Cagan and her cohorts are focused entirely on urging their supporters to make plans to gather at the sites of the Democratic and Republican national conventions (in Denver and St. Paul, respectively), to “send a strong and clear message to party candidates: the war and occupation of Iraq must end now!”

Moreover, while chastising the United States for continuing “to rely on the threatened first use of nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of its national security policy,” UFPJ has had nothing whatsoever to say about Russia’s recent threat to use nuclear weapons against Poland as punishment for that country’s missile-defense accord with the U.S.

Code Pink for Peace, headed by Jodie Evans (a great admirer of Hugo Chavez) and the aforementioned Medea Benjamin, in 2003 sponsored a delegation of fifteen American women who traveled to Baghdad to publicly denounce a greedy America’s “war for oil.” In conjunction with Global Exchange and United for Peace & Justice, Code Pink in 2004 helped establish Iraq Occupation Watch, whose objective was to thin out U.S. forces in Iraq by persuading soldiers to seek discharges and be sent home as conscientious objectors.

In stark contrast to these unambiguously anti-American measures, Code Pink has buttoned its lip about the Russian invasion of Georgia. Rather, its chief concern currently is for the U.S. to engage in “diplomacy with Iranthe same Iran that has pledged its divine commitment to wiping both America and Israel off the face of the earth. A military strike against Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program would be unacceptable, says Jodie Evans’ group, because “Americans will not stand for ongoing war, occupation, and killing.”

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) excoriated the Bush administration after 9/11 for “embracing militarism and unilateral preemptive military strikes to answer threats to U.S. interests”; for “undermin[ing] the foundations of international law, arms reduction treaties, and diplomacy in the post-World War II era”; for refusing to allow America’s “military supremacy to be challenged, as it was during the Cold War”; and for creating “an atmosphere of threats and intimidation that encourages other countries to pursue military solutions.”

If you look for AFSC’s comments about the Soviet invasion of Georgia, however, you’ll come up empty. But perhaps you’ll find comfort in discovering that this “peace” organization continues to exhort Americans “to write to their congressional representatives” and demand that they “defund the war in Iraq.” The top story on AFSC’s website today applauds the California Legislature’s recent adoption of a resolution (co-sponsored by AFSC) aimed at preventing health professionals from engaging in coercive interrogations of detainees at Guantánamo and other U.S. military prisons. “The resolution calls attention to the intolerable dilemma that torture presents when those who are supposed to be the healers in our society are involved in the abuse of prisoners,” said AFSC regional director Eisha Mason.

International ANSWER, controlled by Ramsey Clark’s International Action Center and the Marxist-Leninist Workers World Party, organized massive protests against the looming U.S. attack on Iraq in 2002 and early 2003; some of those events drew more than a half-million attendees. The threat of war was first and foremost on ANSWER’S mind.

And today, with Russian tanks rumbling over the Georgian landscape, ANSWER’s focus remains steadfastly, and exclusively, fixed on America’s alleged transgressions. The predominant slogans on its website are these: (a) “U.S. Out of Iraq & Afghanistan Now!”; (b) “Stop Threatening Iran!”; (c) “Full Rights for All Immigrants! Stop Raids & Deportations!”; (d) “Money for Jobs, Health Care & EducationNot War!”

Peace Action, whose Executive Director Kevin Martin has condemned America’s “shameful status as arms merchant to the world,” had lots to say when the U.S. was contemplating retaliation for the 9/11 attacks. Seven days after the fall of the World Trade Center, Peace Action Board member Rania Masri wrote that any U.S. military action against Iraq would be unjustified because during the 1991 Gulf War, American troops had “massacre[d]” more than 200,000 Iraqis. “And the massacre continues,” said Masri. “… Every day, approximately 150 Iraqi children under the age of five die due to the effects of sanctions.” Less than three weeks lateron October 7, 2001—Peace Action issued this statement vis a vis America’s military retaliation against Afghanistan:

“We urge the president … instead to seek an end to terrorism through international legal cooperation. Treating the heinous acts of September 11 as an act of war, and waging war in response, will only escalate the violence and loss of life. The … perpetrators of the crimes should be brought to justice through the international legal system.… Terrorism will only be defeated by a long-term commitment to building democracy, respect for human rights, and economic and social development in impoverished areas of the world.”

Today Peace Action is soundless regarding Russia’s incursion into Georgia. The organization’s only audible message consists of its ever-so-familiar mantras: (a) the U.S. must lead other nations by example toward “nuclear abolition”; (b) Americans must “tell Bush to stop beating the war drums”; and (c) the “unjust” war in Iraq must be brought swiftly to a close.

Sojourners, a Washington, DC-based Christian evangelical ministry, published a March 2003 article declaring that a U.S. war against Iraq “would be unjust and immoral”; “would dishonor our nation, disregard morality, and violate international law”; and would represent “a drive for cheap oil and for increased control over the oil-producing world.” “We urge all U.S. military personnel,” said Sojourners, “… to refuse to participate in this immoral war.”

Yet Sojourners has been mute as regards the current Soviet bombing campaigns in Georgia. The organization’s focus instead is on the notion that America has corrupted its own “national soul” by engaging in “torture” against captured terrorists in recent years.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) issued a post-9/11 statement that read, in part: “[O]ur country has to address the reasons behind the violence that has now come to our shores.… As long as U.S. foreign policy continues to be based on corporate exploitation and military domination, we will continue to make more enemies in the poor, underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

What, you may wonder, does this same organization say about the current Russian offensive in Georgia? Not a thing. Instead it is actively promoting an upcoming “seminar on organizing for justice for Vietnamese and U.S. Agent Orange victims” who were harmed in Southeast Asia three to four decades ago. Says VVAW:

“As the U.S. backs out of Iraqsomehow, but not nearly soon enoughthere will be an opening for the U.S. government to redeem its self image by doing something real for Vietnam. Now it’s up to the U.S. people! Our ability to win this struggle is part of healing the wounds of war with Vietnam and also assuring that current and future victims of U.S. chemical warfare receive the justice and compensation they deserve!”

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom has consistently condemned America’s military presence in Iraq, asserting that “this illegal war” has destabilized “the entire Middle East region” and destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure, “politically and physically.” “The Bush administration created the so-called ‘War on Terrorism’ to instill fear as the premise for U.S. foreign policy,” said WILPF. “Basic human rights are being curtailed in the U.S. and abroad to propagate this lie.”

But as regards the Russian invasion of Georgia, WILPF, like its aforementioned comrades in the “peace” movement, has elected to swallow its tongue. Focusing instead on events that took place more than six decades ago, the WILPF website currently features “Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days a lamentation over the atom bombs that America dropped on Japan to end World War II in August 1945.

This, then, is the modern “peace” movement. Its members are bound to one another by their common hatred of America more than by any shared commitment to “peace.” Their overriding objective is to relentlessly demean and discredit the United States for its every failingreal and imagined, ancient and current. This tactic is intended for one overriding purpose: to gradually, incrementally demoralize the American people, and to convince them that their society is so loathsome as to be utterly unworthy of defending with any vigor. Meanwhile, as Russian forces overrun a tiny neighboring nation that is friendly to America, the so-called champions of “peace” refrain from whispering even a syllable in protest.

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