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The Voodoo That They Did So Well: The Wizards Who Invented the New York Stage
by Stefan Kanfer
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Peacenik Warmongers
Stefan Kanfer
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Antiwar demonstrators keep ugly company.

The trouble with peace is peaceniks. In demonstration after demonstration, thousands gather in major cities, waving banners, holding up placards renouncing American “imperialism,” clamoring for the pullout of every last U.S. soldier in Iraq. Surrounded by an uncritical press and serenaded by such aging 1960s celebrities as Peter, Paul, and Mary (“This land is your land/This land is my land . . .”), they seem a fading echo of the grand days of righteous social protest when Vietnam and civil rights were the subjects at hand.

But there’s nothing grand about these naive and useful idiots, who’ve been swept up in the slipstream of two long-standing groups that have been organizing the protests. One calls itself United for Peace and Justice; the other is International Answer—an acronym for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. Both groups posture as lovers of international accord. Both are hostile to democracies. Both are apologists for totalitarian leaders who regard murder as public policy.

Controlling United for Peace and Justice is the Workers World Party, notorious for supporting the Soviet Union’s oppression of Hungary and Czechoslovakia and its invasion of Afghanistan. Predictably, it cheered China’s lethal suppression of the Tiananmen Square demonstrators. When the WWP isn’t herding ovine followers in rallies and marches, its spokesmen issue fulsome praise for Kim Jong-il and Fidel Castro. Currently leading United for Peace and Justice is Leslie Cagan, accurately described by the New York Sun as “a longtime unapologetic Communist.”

As for Answer, its cofounder is the sordid, invincibly silly Ramsey Clark, 78, ex–U.S. attorney general and defender of a wide range of political criminals, including Manuel Noriega, Slobodan Milosevic, and, currently, Saddam Hussein, whom he plans to represent in court. According to its tenets, there are two major villains in world politics: the U.S. and Israel. Thus, in addition to the customary bush = hitler posters and the “Free Mumia!” chants in defense of a convicted cop killer, Answer people back Palestinian terrorism by wearing keffiyehs, as a tribute to Yasser Arafat, and bearing signs that demand the “Right to Return,” code words for the annihilation of the Jewish state. Under the strains of the nostalgic folk songs one hears the repeated chants of “Viva, Viva, Palestina!” and “Viva, Viva, Intifada!” Somehow, these artifacts and noises never seem to make the front page or the TV news.

A great pity. For Americans need to know that these demonstrators have their own definition of peace, and that it does not jibe with Webster’s (“noun; the absence of war or other hostilities”). In fact, UPJ and Answer are actually pro-war, provided that the conflict results in a blooding of the Great Satans—i.e., Western democracies, with their belief in capitalism, open elections, and freedom of thought and expression.

Some of the signs of the peaceniks read make love not war. make death not life would be more honest.

 

 


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