Aside from a few aging folk singers who made the Rolling Stones look like youthful sprites, I didn’t see a whole heck of lot of anti-Iraq war protesters coming out of the woodwork to mark the third year of the war.
In a hopeful editorial, the New York Post notes that the protests seem to have fizzled. The numbers just weren’t there:
“Frankly, there are longer lines waiting to buy tickets at the half-price booth. Even the Naked Cowboy in Times Square probably draws bigger crowds.
“Around the nation, turnout wasn’t much better. A few dozen showed in Baltimore, a couple of hundred in the antiwar hotbed city of San Francisco, maybe 1,000 or so in the nation’s capital….
“Celebrity ‘peace mom’ Cindy Sheehan boasted to one rally that ‘support for this war has dwindled dramatically.’ But it looks more like support for America-bashers like Sheehan & Co. is what’s dropping off.”
The Post suggests that perhaps Americans “are coming to understand that there is much more to what is happening in Iraq than the nightly news’ reports of gloom and doom.”
I hope the Post is right. If you need a reminder of why we must stay in Iraq, Christopher Hitchens gives it today:
“It is not merely civil strife that is partly innate in the very make-up of Iraq. There could be an even worse war, of the sort that Thomas Hobbes pictured: a ‘war of all against all’ in which localized gangs and mafias would become rulers of their own stretch of turf. This is what happened in Lebanon after the American withdrawal: The distinctions between Maronite and Druze and Palestinian and Shiite became blurred by a descent into minor warlordism. In Iraq, things are even more fissile. Even the ‘insurgents’ are fighting among themselves, with local elements taking aim at imported riffraff and vice-versa. Saddam’s vicious tactic, of emptying the jails on the eve of the intervention and freeing his natural constituency of thugs and bandits and rapists, was exactly designed to exacerbate an already unstable situation and make the implicit case for one-man ‘law and order.’ There is strong disagreement among and between the Shiites and the Sunnis, and between them and the Kurds, only the latter having taken steps to resolve their own internal party and regional quarrels.
“America’s mistake in Lebanon was first to intervene in a way that placed us on one minority side–that of the Maronites and their Israeli patrons–and then to scuttle and give Hobbes his mandate for the next 10 years. At least it can be said for the present mission in Iraq that it proposes the only alternative to civil war, dictatorship, partition or some toxic combination of all three. Absent federal democracy and power-sharing, there will not just be anarchy and fragmentation and thus a moral victory for jihadism, but opportunist interventions from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. …”