Has there ever before been a war that so many people disapproved of but so few wanted to stop? Have the reasons for starting a war ever been so thoroughly discredited without turning into reasons for ending it?I rode the San Francisco MUNI to work on the morning of November 3rd. People's faces? Like death. Like somebody had died. Somebody close to them.
The Vietnam-era antiwar movement had an agenda: Bring the troops home. Or, in two words -- suitable for a picket sign or a T-shirt -- "Out now." ("Out," children, meant something different back then, but liberals were in favor of it just the same.) What seems to be today's antiwar position -- it was a terrible mistake and it's a terrible mess, but we can't just walk away from it -- was actually the pro-war position during the Vietnam era. In fact, it was close to official government policy for more than half the length of that war.
Today's antiwar cause doesn't even have a movement to speak of, let alone an agenda. It consists of perhaps 47 percent of the citizenry -- the ones who voted for John Kerry -- who are in some kind of existential opposition to the war but aren't doing much about it and aren't very clear about what they would like to see happen. Meanwhile, American soldiers die by the hundreds and Iraqis -- military and civilian -- by the thousands in a cause these people (and I'm one of them) believe to be a horrible mistake.
So where is this antiwar movement? It's coming, I think. The left had its spirit crushed on November 2nd. It'll take at least six months for the election-night horror, and that wrenched-stomach November 3rd hangover, to finally fade and for the American left to stand up again.
But when it does?