Steven Den Beste has a piece that truly crystallizes many of the motivations of the anti-war groups in America and abroad. As he states:
But for our enemies in the war, even a quiescent America is a danger. Even if we are not embarked on military conquest, we seem to be taking over the world by “peaceful” means. Our culture is sneered at by sophisticates everywhere, but it is also present everywhere. Our books and magazines and our TV cable channels can be accessed in most of the world. Our music and our fashions are everywhere. Our movies dominate the world’s theaters. Our products sell well. And our Internet is carrying our culture and attitudes to the world. Without even trying to, we seem to be infecting the world with our ideas and many of the world’s cultures can’t compete. And they feel threatened.
And since power and dominance tend to reinforce themselves, there’s little hope that this will change. If anything, relative American power would be expected to increase. It’s true that all powerful nations eventually decline but there’s no sign of this happening anytime soon.
With the rise of direct American activism, their worst fears are realized and they now feel as if they must actively oppose us.
There are a number of anti-war activists who genuinely believe that war should be opposed because it will harm America. With them, I disagree, but their patriotism is in little doubt.
However, there are groups such as ANSWER that use patriotic dissent as a cloak. They are the ones who do hate America and what it stands for, and would rather see America fall and tyrannical regimes like that of Saddam Hussein prosper. Again, in Den Beste’s words:
But for all their pontification about vast numbers of casualties, that’s not what they really fear. What they are most afraid of is that the war will succeed rapidly and seem easy. They fear a rapid and nearly bloodless conquest. They fear that we’ll move in, that the Iraqi military will mostly surrender without fighting, and that the war will end in days with almost no one dying. They’d rather see hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians be slaughtered than to see a fast and easy conquest, for their greatest fear is that if conquest of Iraq is too easy then the US will decide to do more of it. If war cannot be prevented, they want a huge body count, and if possible they want as many of those bodies as possible to be American. If there must be war they need it to be seen as a failure, just as Viet Nam was. This is not because they are bloodthirsty, but because they fear the alternative even more. An American war of global conquest would ultimately cause even more death and destruction, or so they fear.
I’ve often argued that America has neither the patience nor the stomach for imperialism as the Left views it. We’re not in this business to create empires, or Japan would be the 51st state. We’re not out to annex and hold on to Iraq forever, or even exploit it for its oil for all purpetuity.
There is a strain of leftism that is virulent anti-American. It is an ideology that believes Noam Chomsky when he paints this nation as the worst evil to ever befall the Earth. It is the ideology of groups like ANSWER and many in the elite circle of Europe. Like many ideologies of its ilk, it is impervious to logic and common sense. It cares little for patriotic dissent, but truly believes that George W. Bush is a worse threat than Adolph Hitler.
This ideology doesn’t care that America saved millions of lives in the Balkans, in Europe, and in Japan. It doesn’t care that the US provides the most humanitarian aid of any country. It doesn’t care that the cures for cancer and AIDS will likely come from US scientists, or at the very least scientists trained in the US. It doesn’t care that the looming hydrogen revolution will also start with the US.
It is an ideology of hate, of spite, and of resentment. It is an ideology that must be challenged — not only by those of us on the Right, but by people on the Left who do not share their radical worldview.
The fact is, the more people who see the signs that read "Bush is the real terrorist" and "America is a rogue state", the more people start rejecting the anti-war movement. There is a wide gulf between patriotic dissent and blind hatred. The organizers of many of these rallies fall in the latter category, even if a large number of the people who attend them don’t.
This country is the greatest nation on this Earth. Yes, it has its flaws, but those who place the United States as a greater threat to world peace than a man who gasses his own citizenry and threatens a real hegemonic ambition badly need to have their moral compasses examined.