Alanna and I went to the peace rally today in SF and I think it helped me clear up my personal opinion about the the war in Iraq.
I think I am with a lot of the American people in wanting to support the American troops while they are overseas while at the same time being angry frustrated and scared with what exactly the current US administration is getting this nation along with the rest of the world into. I am unable to think of a single concerted effort by the current administration to outline exactly what they are doing and where exactly they are going with this war and possible other wars down the line.
Oh I have heard many words about the “Evil Doers” and the “Axis of Evil” (I personally think that this speech was one of the things that doomed later foreign policy efforts) but I have not seen anything other than vague assertions that there is a connection between Al Qeida and Iraq.
“Saddam Hussien has thumbed his nose at the UN, so we will thumb our nose at the UN and take him out.”
While I cannot agree with the American administration in it’s half assed attempts at foreign policy leading up to the war, including it’s inability to convince the US people as well the rest of the world that Iraq is a current threat and that it will be in the future, I also cannot even understand what would be a peace movement in San Francisco.
At the peace rally that I witnessed everybody seemed to be talking about everything but the war. Womens rights; Reparations for Slavery; How the US started the Aids epidemic; How we should not support Nike and McDonalds. Focus !!! Focus !!I also saw a lot of people who thought that the way to bring the troops home was to get violent against the city in which they themselves live in.
If the point of the movement is to increase your numbers and your voice, violence and splinter groups is not the way to do it. There is no main message that the peace movement in SF has other than “Fuck the Police, Fuck the government”.
They should get the city the police and the SF business community behind them and not against them. Holding massive demonstrations in Golden Gate park would be a good idea. You could get a larger crowd, you could help the city better manage the event and maybe even have more local politicians show up and help out. You bring more people into the city when they are not affraid that there will be violence. (You catch alot more bees with honey) Deal with violent demonstrations by coming out against them, this is a peace movement !!!
How about Non violent things like creating visible signs of protest without people. Like posters in windows in every home around the bay area billboards and sidewalk grafiti. Not some spray painted peace sign, but a specific noticable sign that will attach itself to the movement.
The most important thing is to talk about the war, focus on the war. As soon as you go off point and start talking about how Bush was not elected or how slavery was wrong or transgender lesbian cat lovers don’t have enought rights, even if your right, people will stop listening.
While I have a deep sense of unease about the war in Iraq on a day to day and hour by hour basis, the scariest thing on my mind is what will happen after this war. If the diplomacy leading up to this is any indication of what it will be like, I fear that my country will alienate the rest of the world and suffer sever forms of backlash in the muslim world and even in the countries of long time alies everywhere.