THE CROW'S NEST:
Peace Protesters in West Hartford
By Tom Evers
March 11, 2003
If you've driven through West Hartford Center lately, you've noticed a rag tag group of individuals in flannel shirts purportedly protesting the Bush Administration's policy on Iraq. More specifically, these people can be heard shouting or holding up slogan signs bearing "No War on Iraq" and "No blood for oil" in addition to other random slogans, which are essentially both baseless and mindless arguments.
The first, "No War on Iraq" says very little in the way of ideology. It's just a blah, blah statement, and worse - unbeknownst to the protester, they appear to the public to be supporting the Iraqi regime. One would wonder why they would want to be seen in public supporting a terrorist rogue state. No War on Iraq is a simpleton approach to a much larger disagreement for the protesters - which is war, not necessarily this war, but any war. It also doesn't offer any alternative solution (nor do the protesters, but I'll get to that in a minute).
The second argument "No blood for oil" is worse; because it shows that the protesters lack sophistication and have a basic problem comprehending facts. Iraq is our number "eleven" source for oil. We have many abundant and available sources for oil, including Kuwait, Canada, and even the United Kingdom to name a few, and there are countries with whom we haven't yet decided to begin trading goods for oil with. So basically we don't need Iraq's oil, and there is no logical argument that anyone could make using the blood for oil argument. The connection just isn't there.
In concept, I have difficulty with peace protesters for a number of reasons.
To start with, protesting is really a lazy way to go about expressing one's opinion. You basically stand on a street corner and yell at passing vehicles. Most drivers aren't paying attention to the protesters anyway until the protesters get up close to their vehicle -- and it's more of an annoyance to drivers who are out to either enjoy their day or run some particular errand. A neighbor of mine pointed out that one of the protesters came off the sidewalk and walked in front his truck to make his point. My neighbor said he was more concerned about seeing his auto rates go up if he had hit the guy, then anything else. After flipping off the protester, my neighbor moved on. In addition, my neighbor connected the insolent protester to his cause in a bad way.
In plain language, he said, "Only a jackass would run in front of my truck to make a point."
I've had several experiences with these silly peace protesters. They are entertaining people to say the least because it seems that they know the least. Many are barely old enough to vote (parental brainwashing worse than The Simpsons), or are the type that listen to '90s alternative music - which is music about placing blame and feeling gypped by life. Just think if you whole life is dedicated to that which is "alternative," chances are that you aren't interested in seeing things the way they really are, right?
By the way if you haven't already noticed, most protesters are protesters by nature. Several recent polls of protesters at the recent World Trade Summit protest found that the protesters were career protesters, who were interesting in bringing down everything from the plastic industry to capitalism. They also participate in rallies for extreme liberal causes including feminism, animal rights, gay rights and anything that out of the realm of normalcy. Since they see the world opposite from most people, they take pride in screaming out loud and letting the world know that they're "different."
It's kind of like having that Nutty Aunt in the family.
It's astonishing, that when protesters are questioned on why they have the point of view they do, they simply can't explain it - or at least they have extreme difficulty articulating their positions in a way that's coherent and reasonable. It's as if 99% of them are usually standing out in the cold with a sign so that they can be "part of something bigger than themselves". In many ways, protesting is a form of liberal group therapy for people who lack inclusion and belonging.
Well, I took it upon myself to give them the benefit of the doubt. I questioned a number of these West Hartford protesters and here is one particular discussion. The conversation went like this:
EVERS: Hi, What are you protesting?
WEST HARTFORD PROTESTER: Ahhh, we are protesting the War on Iraq.
EVERS: Oh, I see. But the war hasn't started, right?
WEST HARTFORD PROTESTER: Ahhh, right. But we don't want war on Iraq. We are against it.
EVERS: OK, fine. Tell me, why are you against taking military action against Iraq. What is it about the policy that you disagree with?
WEST HARTFORD PROTESTER: Well, war isn't the solution. We should not kill those people.
EVERS: OK, but if Saddam Hussein is making chemical and biological weapons, and perhaps nuclear weapons to use against us - possibly resulting in the death of Americans, what should we then do?
WEST HARTFORD PROTESTER: Ahhhh. We should go to the UN [United Nations] and get a coalition.
EVERS: Haven't we been to the United Nations? What if UN members don't care about threats against us? What if they are more interested in Iraqi business then American lives? What would you do then?
WEST HARTFORD PROTESTER: I don't know.
EVERS: I see. Have you read UN Security Council resolution 1441?
WEST HARTFORD PROTESTER: Ahhhh. No.
EVERS: Have you read Hans Blix's report?
WEST HARTFORD PROTESTER: Ahhhh. No, not yet. Who is Hans Blix?
EVERS: He's the guy in charge of running inspections. I've read his report, its 147 pages long. How do you keep up on events -- by reading state department documents? Or newspapers, magazines, or public policy documents? How do you get your facts so that you know that you are making an educated decision about protesting the United States' Iraqi policy?
WEST HARTFORD PROTESTER: No. I haven't had time to read any of that. I get my news from TV. I've seen the other protesters and they must know why they are protesting. I guess - I mean --
EVERS: Well, the point is that you should know the reasons why you are protesting, not just imitate others who are protesting. Well, you can find most of these documents on the web. You should get yourself informed. If you did, you'd know that at the base of this argument is the fact that Iraq hasn't followed the UN's various resolutions to disarm their chemical and biological weapons. What should be done to make that happen?
WEST HARTFORD PROTESTER: The United Nations should tell them to disarm.
EVERS: That would be great, but after twelve years of insisting by the UN, they are not disarming. They are making dangerous weapons to use against us and presumably other western nations, and perhaps even their immediate neighbors. They won't comply with resolutions. And many of our so-called allies won't help.
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