Martyr Mentality and Peace Protestors

  1. The rhetoric of peace rallies and street protests are the fruits of years of brainwashing on our college campuses, and fears in light of the attacks. I read two interesting articles today, from each side of the argument. One Pacifists are Cowards" and the other "Proud to Be a Pacifist" thought I would share them here.
    In the words of President Bush "...they do not need to protest the decisions of the coalition, ensuring the very freedom of mankind" They just don't, can't and won't get it! I am not against the right to be able to protest, by no stretch, have these people thought about the protestors in Pakistan being shot dead in the streets? Who indoctrinated this "Martyr Mentality"? Here are the articles:

    Proud to Be a Pacifist

    It is doubtful that I can say much that makes sense to syndicated columnist Michael Kelly, as it is obvious from his recent column, "Few pacifists would accept logical outcome of their stance" (Oct. 3), that he completely misunderstands the peace and justice efforts of millions of Americans.
    I suspect most peace and justice activists would be hard-pressed to recognize what Kelly describes "pacifism." I know no one in my circle of acquaintances who wants terrorists to get a free ride. We expect terrorists to be tracked down, brought to trial in the country where their offenses were committed and, if found guilty, sent to prison.

    What we object to is selective enforcement on terrorism: Terrorism must be recognized whenever and wherever it occurs. I would argue that at least some of the world's 35,000 children who died on Sept. 11 are victims of terrorism, and some of that terrorism is state-financed and state-perpetrated by the West, including the United States. Where is Kelly's outrage regarding that daily occurrence?

    I do not know any "privileged" peace and justice staffers, workers or volunteers. Most of us work for very little income; many of us for nothing. I was raised in a poor, rural New Hampshire town, by parents who barely had enough income to pay their bills. In 1965, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force because giving back to the nation and the world was something my family believed in. I served seven years, earned the Air Force Commendation Medal, and protested the Vietnam War, like many who served then, not because we were or are anti-American, but because that was a criminal and foolish war, having more to do with expansionism than with defense.

    Most of my fellow peace and justice workers have taken vows of nonviolence. That does not mean that we will be passive if attacked, but it does mean that our responses will be measured and thoughtful and likely nonviolent, which would not prevent us from serving in the military or in police departments; nonviolence is the opposite of violence, it's not passivity.

    Nonviolence does mean, however, that we will not perpetrate unprovoked violence upon others. To that end, we believe that the United States government and its representatives, in their desire to be the greatest, richest and most powerful country in the world, have a violent history toward both persons living within its borders and toward peoples around the world. It also means that we believe that most of the world's governments have acted in these ways, but we are United States citizens, so our efforts are directed at changing U.S. policy.

    Many of us in the peace and justice community are faith-based and followers of Jesus, Abraham, Buddha, Gandhi, King and other spiritual leaders. We believe in the values preached and offered by the great prophets, all of whom call for peace. All too often, we who call ourselves Christians seem to ignore Jesus' greatest teaching: Love God and love one another. Here are but a few examples:

    It is not love for the United States to consume 40 percent (or 60 percent, depending upon how we measure) of the world's resources. It is not love for the United States and the West to perpetuate and justify a wealth gap that leaves 32 million Americans poor and voiceless, and billions of others around the world poor and voiceless, as well. It is not love to train foreign soldiers in the art of counterinsurgency, which is simply a fancy phrase for "the art of terrorism," which those soldiers all too frequently use to brutalize their own citizens, primarily, but not exclusively, in their Latin American homelands.

    In addition to being wrong and antithetical to the teachings of the world's religions, and of most of our mothers and fathers, the short list of examples above does not leave us safer or more free.

    Throughout the history of mankind, nations, including our own, worked purposefully to create an unjust world, where but one nation, one empire, is first, leaving in its wake the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed. Eventually, all of the empires fall, and another takes its place. We call for an end to this foolish way of living. We call for changes in the way nations govern, the way they treat other nations, and the way they treat their own citizens. We call for the ultimate democracy, where freedom touches everyone. Where all are fed, clothed and sheltered.

    Yes, freedom comes with a price: Perhaps, the rich may have to be less rich; CEOs may not be able to make 220 times that of the average worker in the United States; we have to implement fair trade instead of free trade; we may have to drive cars that pollute far less or, heaven forbid, ride public transportation; we may have to think of others as much as we think about ourselves.

    Kelly may find that distasteful, but he goes astray when he accuses those of us in the peace and justice community of being unwilling to walk the talk, as most of us live extremely modest lives. In my case, I surrendered my good-paying corporate job and lowered my standard of living, so that I can work to create a more just and fair world, where peace is achieved through justice. My story reflects the stories of most of the peace and justice workers I know.

    So, in the end, I suspect Kelly will think I am moronic and maybe even a traitor, as that attitude seems to make up about 40 percent of the mail I receive whenever I rebut a column such as his. But I will take the company of the great prophets and the peacemakers any day over that of those governments and individuals who feel comfortable bombing, killing, brutalizing or terrorizing - either militarily or economically - those they do not understand, those who get in their way or those who disagree politically or socially.

    In closing, I love my country enough not only to serve it in the military but to serve it in peace, as well. Bring all terrorists to justice, but treat all terrorism equally. The life of an American lost is dreadful, painful and horrible; so is the life of an Afghan lost. The divisive nature of splitting apart people through namecalling and belittling does nothing to bring us closer together in understanding one another nor does it contribute to a just world.

    Lewis Green is regional coordinator for Witness for Peace Northwest

    Copyright © 2001 The Seattle Times Company
    Last edit by Chellyse66 on Oct 10, '01
  2. 87 Comments

  3. by   Chellyse66
    second article Editorial:

    Pacifists are Cowards

    Your Opinion/Questions Editorial Keywords: ANTI WAR PROTESTS, PACIFISTS, TALIBAN
    Published: 10/10/2001 Author: Jason Moir
    Posted on 10/10/2001 00:54:50 PDT by JayGOP

    Ever since the United States was brutally attacked on September 11th every political pundit, analyst and commentator has referred to these attacks as acts of war. Even the news coverage following September 11th has a warlike tone to it. Captions such as "America Under Attack", "America Strikes Back" have graced our television screens 24 hours a day for the last month. Now that the US has launched air strikes against the Taliban and their terrorist network, we are engaging in war. And with every war (or the possibility of war) there is one thing you can count on...war protesters.
    These war protesters, or pacifists as some like to be called, have been slowly building momentum since the attacks first occurred on September 11th. They vehemently oppose any military action against the persons and/or countries responsible for the planning or the execution of the attacks. Anti war protests have been popping up all over the country on college campuses, various federal buildings and even the White House. Almost daily you can see video footage of anti war activists holding their signs covered with all too familiar and worn out phrases.

    The phrases these activists use have been repeated incessantly since September 11th. It is the same language that has been used by people in opposition to any US military action in the past. Phrases such as "Hate Begets Hate", "Stop the Violence", and "An Eye for an Eye Makes the World Blind" are the rallying cry for these activists. People such as this want America to simply turn the other cheek and forget the horror of September 11th. These people are nothing more than cowards.

    Cowards are people who would rather hide from their fears rather than face them. By not wanting to seek justice for the thousands of innocent people killed in the terrorist attacks, they are doing exactly that. Cowards would rather ignore the dangers that exist to every American citizen because it may make them uncomfortable. Cowards live their lives with perpetual blinders on, hoping to avoid any possible form of conflict. It is much easier to run away from a conflict than to confront it. But burying your head in the sands of cowardice will not make the terrorists go away. It will only lead to more American deaths.

    I have one request for those people who are opposed to US military action against the Taliban. Go talk to the families of the 6,000 plus victims. Talk to a member of the New York Fire Department and ask about his coworkers who died in the World Trade Center. Talk to a father who lost his son who worked at the Pentagon. Talk to a wife who lost her husband in Pennsylvania. If that conversation doesn't make you want to find the terrorists yourself, not only are you a coward but you are also a poor excuse for an American.

    Call them whatever you like...anti war activists, pacifists, etc. The only label that describes them is that of coward. In my opinion the actions of these activists border on treason. Personally I would like to see them sent to the front lines of battle in Afghanistan. Then ask them how effective their "Stop the Violence" signs really are.
  4. by   Chellyse66
    And so I ask ya...Where is the logic in this statement?

    Most of my fellow peace and justice workers have taken vows of nonviolence. That does not mean that we will be passive if attacked,


    Are these people Americans or am I mistaken.......
  5. by   Chellyse66
    Lastly, I would like to offer this as my sentiment to the Pacifist movement:

    War: myth and reality

    Now that Canada has, finally, joined the U.S. and British-led military coalition against terrorism, a few key points to remember.
    1) We didn't start this - the terrorists did.

    It's terrible the coalition has to bomb the Taliban and terrorist strongholds of Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaida network in Afghanistan and that some innocent civilians will die because of that. But none of it would have happened if 19 Islamic terrorists hadn't murdered 6,000 innocent civilians on Sept. 11 by using four hijacked planes as bombs.

    2) There is no "moral equivalency" between the military campaign and the terrorist attacks.

    They murdered innocent people. The coalition is taking pains to hit strategic targets, plus feed the very people the fanatical policies of the Taliban have reduced to despair. If you need more proof that we are dealing with pure evil, consider these words from an Al-Qaida spokesman aired on Al-Jazeera TV yesterday:

    "The jihad is today the duty of every Muslim," said Sulaiman Abu Gheith. "There are thousands of young people who look forward to death like the Americans look forward to living ... Every Muslim has to play his real and true role to uphold his religion and his nation in fighting, and jihad is a duty." He then praised the Sept. 11 attacks, arguing the hijackers "did something good ... The Americans have opened a door that will never be closed ... This battle is a decisive battle between atheism and faith."

    Get it? We're right. They're wrong. Muslim leaders in North America should be denouncing this garbage forcefully.

    3) Despite caterwauling from the left, U.S. President George Bush has not been acting like a cowboy. After a shaky start following the attacks, Bush has rallied his stunned nation, restrained Americans from over-reacting, kept them focused on fighting terrorism rather than Muslims, Arabs or the people of Afghanistan and built an impressive international coalition.

    Bush's speeches stressing that the war against terror will be long and hard with no easy victories have at times approached Churchillian eloquence - recalling the great British prime minister who rallied his nation in World War II by promising only "blood, sweat and tears."

    4) Forcing Israel to agree to a Palestinian state will not stop terrorism. When bin Laden talks about a Palestinian homeland, he is not talking about Palestinians and Jews living side by side. He is talking about the destruction of Israel and its replacement by a radical Islamic state that would frighten even many Arab countries.

    Foreign Affairs Editorial Editorial
    Source: Toronto Sun
  6. by   fergus51
    I think the 2 sides (cowards/pacifists and blood thirsty/patriots or whatever slant we want to put on them) are not as different as they appear to be. Both sides want to be safe, they just have differing philosophies of how to go about it. Both sides are trying to brainwash us with the same old slogans (Hate begets hate and an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind vs. Tell that to the families of the victims and violence is the only thing these people understand). I don't think either side really is as evil or as righteous as they are made out to be.

    I don't think this whole thing is as black and white as it is being made out to be on CNN. I am getting a little annoyed at how much this is sounding like a battle between good and evil like Star Wars. I am just waiting to see if Osama turns out to be George W's father. Then it will be really the cheesy movie the media is turning this into. I don't believe there are any easy answers to this. Attack an Arab nation and we might be inviting more attacks on Americans. Don't attack and we might be inviting more attacks on Americans. Isn't any one else just as confused as to what will really make us safer as I am? I see both points of view, but I don't feel 100% convinced of either.
  7. by   semstr
    Tracy ...........

    As are so right!

    BAB (Tha's one you don't know!)
  8. by   fergus51
    Tschuss Renee!
  9. by   3651bht
    How many people do we have to kill to bring back the WTC victims. And who among you would be willing to be the first or possibly the last... Put YOUR life where your mouth is... May the sun shine brightly on you and may the wind be always at your back..
  10. by   Q.
    Just the ones that were responsible for the WTC deaths - THAT'S how many.

    And I, as well as my husband, would be willing to re-enlist. Fortunately, the military already has had people like my husband volunteer themselves back in for this specific cause. At this point I don't think the military is in need of actual bodies. If they are, count us in.
  11. by   rncountry
    Let the pacifists say what they will. They are a minority, and thank God for that, or the rest of us might as well bend over and kiss our ass goodbye. However they live in a free country so they can say whatever assine thing they wish. I would even go and fight for their right to do so. I don't have to listen to it or pay any attention to them if I don't choose to either. Most of the college kids I think that are protesting, and they are a small amount, have gotten confused. Suddenly the styles of the late 60's and 70's are back, hip huggers and all, and they think they are living in the same age.
    This is a fight between good and evil. The spokesman for bin Laden calls the horror of Sept. 11 a good deed, the Taliban has the audacity to complain that Afgan civilians have been killed and let's see----we had over 5000 killed. The rule of our country is majority wins, the rule in their country is might makes right. And if you are a woman, well you have no rights at all.
    This is a good article out of the New York Times. Says alot.


    Judging from the foreign press, the most popular world reaction to the terrorist attacks on America has not been outright condemnation, but rather: "Yes, but . . ." Yes, this was terrible, but somehow America deserved it or is responsible for the anger behind it.

    One can only be amazed at the ease with which some people abroad and at campus teach-ins now tell us what motivated the terrorists. Guess what? The terrorists didn't leave an explanatory note. Because their deed was their note: We want to destroy America, starting with its military and financial centers. Which part of that sentence don't people understand?

    Have you ever seen Osama bin Laden say "I just want to see a smaller Israel in its pre-1967 borders," or "I have no problem with America, it just needs to have a lower cultural and military profile in the Muslim world"? These terrorists aren't out for a new kind of coexistence with us. They are out for our non-existence.

    None of this seems to have seeped into the "Yes, but . . ." crowd, whose most prominent "Yes, but" states: This terrorist act would never have happened if America hadn't been so supportive of Israel.

    My response is, "Yes, but . . . but . . ."

    Yes, there is no question, America's support of Israel-even when Israel builds greedy, provocative settlements in the heart of the Gaza Strip-has produced understandable Muslim anger. But the argument doesn't end there. America has also taken the lead role in trying to reverse this situation. We know the Sept. 11 attack was being planned a year ago-exactly when President Clinton was proposing to Yasir Arafat a Palestinian state on roughly 95 percent of the West Bank and East Jerusalem-with the Israeli settlers uprooted from all but 5 percent. In other words, this terrorism was being planned because America was trying to build Israeli-Palestinian coexistence, not because it wasn't.

    Ah, say the "Yes, but" folks, but Arab public opinion has been inflamed by the Arab TV images of Israel suppressing the Palestinian uprising. Yes, at times Israel has used excessive force, and one can understand how that looks to Arab eyes, but Israel has also been responding to Palestinian suicide attacks on Israeli pizza parlors and discos-which isn't highlighted on Arab TV.

    Moreover, this uprising by the Palestinians was not their only recourse. There was an active U.S.-sponsored diplomatic track, with a deal on the table, which may not have been fully acceptable to Palestinians but was certainly worth building upon and hardly justified suicide-bombing Israeli civilians. The Arab media and leaders now talk as though the Clinton proposal for a Palestinian state never happened. But it did.

    The second "Yes, but" is that the terrorists reflect a protest over Muslim poverty. Yes, poverty can breed desperate people. However, most of the hijackers were middle-class Saudis or Egyptians.

    Is it America's fault that the richest ruling family in the world, the Saudis, have citizens who are poor and frustrated? Is it America's fault that Korea had the same per capita income in the 1950's as many Arab states, but Korea has managed its development so much better since that it now dwarfs all Arab economies? Afghanistan is run by a medieval Taliban theocracy that bans women from working or going to school. How could such a place not be poor? And who was the biggest protector of that backward Taliban society? Osama bin Laden and his men.

    There is something wrong with Saudi Arabia citing U.S. support for Israel as the root cause for this Islamist terror-when many Saudi men were among the hijackers, when the Saudi regime has tolerated the harsh Islamist movements that provided ideological guidance for these young men, when Saudi Arabia was the biggest funder of the Taliban, when the Saudi ruling family has alienated some of its most devout subjects to a degree that produced Islamist militancy, and when the Saudi regime-as The Economist just noted, in an article titled "Saudi Arabia: The Double-Act Wears Thin"-winked at indirect fund-raising for Mr. bin Laden in the Kingdom as a way of currying favor with its hard-line Islamist critics.

    I don't want to see the Saudi regime destabilized. I'm sure it wants to be part of the solution now. But how about a little candor? YES, America should look deeper into its policies and actions-BUT, BUT, BUT we're not the only ones who need to look in the mirror.

    This country will be defended whether the pacifists like it or not. They always have to option of moving elsewhere.
  12. by   Q.
    Excellent post, Helen.
  13. by   rncountry
    I was watching TV tonight when an ad came on for an upcoming show that should be of interest to anyone who contemplates what being a pacifist can mean when ones country is attacked. It is called uprising. It is about the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto during WWII. For those that are not familiar with this, after the Nazi's surrounded the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw with the intent of starving them and deporting them, the Jews opted to fight back. Now what makes this a story is that up until that point it had been more or less a policy of,particularly, Eastern European Jews not to fight against their aggressors. To try to manage to live among others that were very different in culture as quietly as possible and even when attacked to not do anything in the hope that the attackers would not find a reason to attack even further. The Warsaw Jews did not do this. Their story is tragic and poingoint. My point here is the policy of passive inaction got 6 million Jews killed. The Inaction of what would generally be thought of good decent people helped kill those 6 million Jews. And please allow me to post a thought from a German Pastor from WWII.

    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

    Pastor Martin Niemöller

    It is my thought that the terrorists do not see the different races and religions of people of this country, they see only Americans. We have become truly a distinct race of our own, intermarried as we are. While we may still trace our roots to any number of ethnic groups to begin with, we do not actually live the culture of those groups. Our very way of life makes us a specific creed of people. These people don't care what color you are, they don't care what religion you are. They only know that you are an American and that makes you a fair target. And they don't care who else happens to be in the way. How many other countries lost citizens in the WTC attack? In the attacks on the embassies in Africa there were many more citizens of those countries killed them there were Americans, and some of those people where Muslims. All for the greater glory of God, right? These people are different from the Nazi's in only that they do not have a war machine in the traditional way we think of one. But make no mistake about it, they have a global network. Terrorists have attacked American citizens and soldiers with impunity for years now, being more or less passive about it has certainly not worked so far. I fail to see how it is going to now.
  14. by   3651bht
    And if you have seen my posts here and in other places you will know that I am not a college student... I just say to all of you who want to fight go ahead and stop making excuses... I'm too old I would if I could Woulda coulda shoulda See Americans want everything yesterday.. Martin Luther King took along time to achieve the things he wanted and yes there may still be some things that need to be done But it was NON VIOLENT.. Not only do I not want to come to your hospital I'm not so sure I want any of you to take care of me... Send your son or daughter,, See I have a son in the USMC and he would go if asked and that is his perogative but would I encourage him to go NO.. He was upset with me because he sucks on the rifle range He asked me why I didn't let him play with guns and I told him why didn't he tell me he planned on going into the USMC.. Ever wonder what jarhead means... It isn't me who unscrews his head and fills it up with all this violence... Again I will say that mankind has been fighting wars since before recorded history and war doesn't solve the problem And the cowards are the ones who follow the pack.. I suppose if someone asked you to jump off a bridge you'd do it.. Peer pressure is great How do you think Hitler got all his followers and how do you think Bin Laden got his Don't stoop to their level It takes courage to be different... Follow the pack if you will We love saying I told you so... Go ahead make my day.. May the sun shine brightly on you and may the wind be always at your back...bobbi.. A pacifist . and damn proud of it.....