Lileks On “Anti-War” Protestors

James Lileks has yet another brilliant Bleat on the "anti-war" movement. It’s well worth reading – another one for the James Lileks wing of the Blogging Hall of Fame. It’s simply too good to quote, you have to read the whole thing.

However, a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one says it all:


What do you say to that?

Well, other than "f&$# you…"

Protesting a war is at least somewhat understandable. In wars being die. Wars are nasty, brutish events that are at best a necessary evil. Wars are never and end to themselves.

But protesting the reconstruction of a war-torn country is not only beyond the pale, it’s beyond the limits of humanity.

These people are not brave. They are not wise. They are not patriotic. They are not compassionate.

They’re small, sick, disgusting group of thugs who are infected with a hate that would would make Goebbels smile. As the great historian Paul Johnson once noted:

Anti-Americanism is ubiquitous, a direct consequence of America doing her duty, the resentment of followers, not leaders. To be sure, anti-Americanism is an ignoble and irrational emotion. Like anti-Semitism, which in some ways it has replaced, it is impervious to facts or logic.

Across the world we had a vision of the same kind of irrational anti-Americanism mixed in with good old-fashioned anti-Semitism. It’s the same disgusting hate wrapped in the rhetoric of compassion without any of the qualities that define it. It is a parade of hate, irrationality, and sympathy with evil. It is as disgusting as a Klan rally.

These people don’t want real peace – they want America defeated, even if it means millions die in the process. If they want Saddam back so badly, I say we give it to them. Take the Bay Area, wall it off, and let Saddam take over. Perhaps after a few years of having car batteries attached to their nipples and watching their sisters being raped by Ba’athist thugs they’ll have an understanding that their concept of “freedom” has nothing to do with the real thing.

11 thoughts on “Lileks On “Anti-War” Protestors

  1. At the risk of sounding like someone pointing out the obvious, doesn’t it seem that that photo has been doctored? Cute idea to demonize the war demostrators but… I’m not anit-reconstruction. I think people who want to pull the troops out and leave the Iraqi people stranded are…a little illogical to put it lightly. However, I don’t see any problem with protesting the lies and coverups of the Bush admin and I think that’s what this should be about. I don’t hate America. I am disgusted with Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney and and and…

  2. […]both the AP and Reuters were carrying pictures of it.

    Which in itself does not prove anything. Fakes have been known to circulate widely in the past.

    But even if it is real, isn’t there the possibility that this poster has simply been misread? Couldn’t this reading also be valid:
    I love NY, even more without the WTC. Ever since and because of 911 I have felt more a part of NYC than ever before.

  3. Bear with me, this was a real question. For those unfortunate few who do not know me, English is not my first language (or mother tongue, if you prefer that term). In fact, I had to learn English the hard way and there are a few… ok, very few occasions where I actually am not certain about the meaning of a statement in English. So the question was a serious one: Can the statement in the picture be read as [insert the above quote]?

    Now, to back off from the factual question and to move towards a bit more polemics… How do you know what the statement really means? Do you know the person on the picture whose face is conveniently hidden? Have you talked to her or him about her or his intentions? Hey, at least one commenter even doubted that the picture was not a fake – so how do you know what the poster says (as opposed to what do you believe it to say)?

  4. It really couldn’t be interpreted that way unless it was really tortured English. You certainly wouldn’t want to take that sign to New York to be sure (the pictures were taken in San Francisco.)

    As for it being a fake, that’s very unlikely. Two different cameramen from two competing agencies took pictures of it from different angles, which means it wasn’t altered after the fact.

    Could it have been a counter-protestor? That’s possible – except note something else…

    Nobody seems to be making a fuss about this.

    If someone in a normal crowd pulled out a sign like that in anything other than a Stalinist rally (ANSWER, the group coordinating the rallies is an avowed pro-Communist group, BTW) that person would be walking out with that sign firmly lodged in his posterior… but here no one seems to notice or care. That is very telling to me…

  5. Thanks, Ray.

    Your arguments seem pretty sound. And now I will forever have the phrase firmly lodged in his posterior in my mind…

    Anyway, even though I more or less count myself on the peacenic side of the whole argument, that picture did greatly annoy me. Regard my first post as a bona fide attempt to save some grace for the protestor in question.

    Sights like these do nothing to promote the anti-war view. Ok, I do not know anything about the person holding that sign. He or she might have their reasons for acting like that. But I am just gonna go out on a limb here and declare that they are, really, a disgrace!

  6. Thanks, Ray.

    Sorry, Jay, I don’t know just where my mind was when I typed that. No insult intended. I do feel stupid now. Sorry.

  7. I think it’s interesting how movements often come to be defined by a few wackos who just happen to get the most media attention because they are…wackos! Janek and I are both sensible folks who are relatively peace-niky. Yet the media has used this photo to lump all peace protesters into anti-American, communist crazies. And Jay, you compared them to the Klan and Nazies.

    This reminds me how hard it often is for groups with political savvy to control the dialogue. Last year at the MN Capitol we and lots of other people were working hard to stave off cuts to services for the poorest people. My coworker and I showed up at a rally where people were holding signs saying “tax the rich” and there was a woman screaming obscenities about Pawlenty. My friend and I faded into the background quickly…and then left. That’s not the kind of dialogue that normal people think will work. Just an observation.

  8. one point off that I meant to make- those protesters actually WERE Communists- so obviously calling them Communists is okay, but not ALL protestors are communisits. Phew! Sorry!

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