Sunday, March 19, 2006

# Posted 2:02 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

OXBLOG ATTENDS AN ANTI-WAR PROTEST: It was an accident, really. I was running some errands near DuPont Circle yesterday afternoon and noticed a gathering there. It had been a while since I went to a protest, and it was a bright, crisp winter afternoon.

There were around 200-300 people gathered around the fountain in DuPont Circle. There were folk singers on a little stage. There were tables set up by a half-dozen different socialist mini-parties. There were even more displays set up by left-wing capitalists selling all sorts of anti-war paraphrenalia, from buttons to t-shirts. And, of course, the Lyndon LaRouche cultists were out in force.

In short, this was a gathering of the hard-core left that organizes larger protests in the name of broad progressive sentiment. Although one usually expects such protests to offer more of the some, I noticed was a thought was a very interesting and significant change in the rhetoric I heard.

Off to the side of the circle, there was a bank of three television cameras gathered around an impromptu podium. I wasn't sure if the podium belonged to a specific organization, since the sign in front of it was hand-painted and had no logo or other identifying marks.

I arrived in the middle of speech being given by the sister of a veteran. From context, I inferred that her brother was still alive but perhaps not well. What struck me was when she said that it is time to stop saying "I support the troops" since that only lends credibility to the war, even if one quickly adds that one is against it.

I wondered if her comments were an accident. At protests in September and more than a year ago at the GOP convention, organizers made an extraordinary effort to present themselves as friends of the armed forces, desperately attempting to protect individual servicemen and -women from becoming the victims of a pointless war of aggression.

But perhaps what I heard yesterday wasn't an accident. The next speaker was a young man who said that he had served for four years in the Air Force. He was unequivocal. He said opposes the troops. He said the military is a death machine that trains every soldier to be a brutal and mindless "automaton". He said we have to oppose every recruiter who tells young people that the armed forces fight for freedom, because that is a disgusting lie.

Again, I don't know exactly who these speakers represented. Were their comments an aberration? Or were they a sign of frustration with the inability of the left to stop the war? As frustration mounts, are long-repressed impulses coming to the fore?

It's hard to say, but perhaps something to keep an eye on.
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'one usually expects such protests to offer more of the some'. Might one conclude, Doctor Adesnik, that you ventured to this protest in hopes of getting some of the some?
In the military, there is "tooth" and there is "tail". An AF enlisted man is so far back on the tail that nobody would bother training him to be a "mindless automaton". IOW, what the hell does an AF pussy know about being a "killing machine"? :-)
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