Charles M. Brown, a …
Charles M. Brown, a former member of the anti-war protest group “Voices in the Wilderness”, has written an incredible article about his return to reality after realizing how foolish the group was. There are a lot of good sections in this I could quote, but here are some of the best:

This one-dimensional depiction of life in Saddam’s Iraq was pure Baath propaganda, and I (as well as other group members) knew it. As I came to see this as a complicity and collaboration with one of the most abusive dictatorships in the world, I tried to get the rest of my group to acknowledge that our close relationship with the regime damaged our credibility. I failed to persuade them, so I quit. Unfortunately, it seems that my former colleagues have regarded this decision as a kind of political “defection,” and it has cost me several friendships, which were apparently contingent on my continued willingness to toe the (Baathist) line.

(And liberals accuse Ashcroft of crushing dissent.)

Voices preached by its actions—more particularly, by conducting regular trips to Iraq to deliver medical and other supplies, all in violation of the U.N. sanctions regime as well as several U.S. laws and presidential executive orders. The quantity of aid we brought to Iraq was always a paltry, symbolic amount, but the real emphasis of Voices was to have group members “witness” the detrimental effects of sanctions for themselves, by visiting Iraqi hospitals, schools, and other areas—always in the presence of official “minders” of the Iraqi regime. These orchestrated trips provided the grist for group members, who returned home to educate their communities on the horrors of the U.S.-imposed sanctions. In my case, the propaganda fed to me in Iraq by regime spokespersons was my primary source of information on sanctions, which I then imparted to audiences all across the United States. The same was true of my colleagues.

More examples of why taking the word of a murderous dictator is never a good idea. But then, most thinking people know this already.

Voices’ arguments about sanctions were straightforward—and utterly simplistic. In retrospect, I am embarrassed to think that I propagated them. Voices held that sanctions were violence that the U.S. government committed against Iraq, through the exercise of raw power. The Iraqi regime was entirely helpless and passive and had no ability to respond to the economic pressure the U.N. had put on Iraq since 1990. Voices was oblivious to deliberate Iraqi obfuscation on disarmament and to Saddam’s domestic policies, designed to maintain his iron grip over the Iraqi people for as long as possible. It was our stubborn view that the regime had little or no ability to control or direct Iraq’s destiny. We saw the U.S.-sponsored sanctions as the primary cause of violence in Iraq and so overlooked (or denied) Saddam’s decades-long legacy of severe repression.

I think the key word in this paragraph is “simplistic”. I’ve seen video of a blogger interviewing people at an anti-war demonstration, and while they can “talk the talk”, they can’t seem to “think the think”, to coin a phrase. When they were asked simple questions about the situation or what their alternate solutions were, they fell back on prepackaged mantra or outright falsehoods (or a simple “I don’t know”). Their anti-war sentiments are knee-jerk at its finest; all reaction and feeling, no thought. Simplistic.

Because of our collective ignorance of Iraqi history and politics, we were largely unaware of the service we rendered to the regime. Not only did Voices members meet senior Iraqi officials (including Tariq Aziz), but the group was publicly thanked for serving as an official channel of information from the Iraqi regime to the American people by Saddam Hussein himself. We had no interest in Iraqi dissidents, exiles, and opposition groups, who had documented Saddam’s past aggression, genocide, and flaunting of U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. Voices simply parroted Baathist propaganda, and the regime learned to use us (and other peace movement groups) for just that purpose.

Many anti-war protestors insisted that they were not pro-Saddam, as they were sometimes labelled. However, their actions were in practice, if not intent, bolstering Hussein’s position. As I’ve said before, Hussein used these groups for his own ends, whether or not they knew it. Many of us outside the anti-war crowd knew it, if course. Their ignorance, however, was no excuse.

To be perfectly frank, we were less concerned with the suffering of the Iraqi people than we were in maintaining our moral challenge to U.S. foreign policy. We did not agitate for an end to sanctions for purely humanitarian reasons; it was more important to us to maintain our moral challenge to “violent” U.S. foreign policy, regardless of what happened in Iraq. For example, had we been truly interested in alleviating the suffering in Iraq, we might have considered pushing for an expanded Oil-for-Food program. Nothing could have interested us less. Indeed, we even regarded the paltry amounts of aid that we did bring to Iraq as a logistical hassle. When it suited us, we portrayed ourselves as a humanitarian nongovernmental organization and at other times as a political group lobbying for a policy change. In our attempt to have it both ways, we failed in both of these missions.

As Limbaugh has often said, liberals care more about appearances and intentions than actual results; it is only important that you be seen caring than actually doing it. Here is another classic example.

What happens when a thinking person realizes they’re caught in this mire of feeling instead of thinking, ignoring reality in pursuit of political aims, and then returns from the wilderness? They write articles like Confessions of an Anti-Sanctions Activist“. These excerpts, lengthy as they are, do not do the full article justice. Definitely worth reading, and keeping in mind when those in the press accept claims from groups like “Voices in the Wilderness” unchallenged.

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