Organizers are so damned afraid of appearing "insensitive" that an anti-Iraq war platform ends up being diverted or hijacked, for example, to speak of "indigenous peoples," slam the World Bank and attack Israel. This is strange timing for a volley of anti-Israeli messages. Didn't Sharon just complete a pullout from Gaza and forcibly remove Israeli settlers who had been living there?
Even if one feels, as I do, that the Israeli settlers shouldn't have been encouraged to live there in the first place, one at least has to applaud the Sharon government's decision as a positive step forward.
One of the speakers at Saturday's anti-war protest was Mohammed Abed, a University of Wisconsin faculty member. It's rather telling that the best criticism that Abed could level at the Gaza withdrawal was that it "allows Israel to ... creat[e] an illusion of reasonableness and political compromise" and that "the (withdrawal) plan satisfies the international community’s yearning for progress in the 'peace process'; at the very least, it looks like a first step in the right direction."
Just as the U.S. government has long held a pro-Israeli bias, a pro-Palestinian bias is de rigueur among the Left. For the Left, acknowledging the shortcomings of both sides of this conflict would complicate the ability to conduct "die-ins" and write messages that fit on a protest sign. But enough about the Middle East.
The organizers of this protest rally should have had plenty of things to say about the Bush administration and its debacle in Iraq. Yet one of the organizers seemed to be reaching. According to the New York Times:
"It's significant that Bush is out of town," said William Dobbs, an organizer of the march. "It shows that he's turned his back on the peace movement, which represents a majority of the American public right now."On the contrary, all that Bush's absence from Washington "shows" is that the president was nervous as hell that the his administration might (again) be caught with its pants down when Rita hit the Gulf coast. With his approval ratings in the toilet, Bush wanted to be in locations with appropriate photo-ops when Rita struck. No surprise there.
If it took knowing that Bush was out of town for Dobbs to realize that the president is no fan of the peace movement, then Dobbs is rather slow at putting two and two together.