EDITOR: In the article "Mainstream Dissent" [Oct 10]--concerning the October 6 anti-war march of over 10,000--Amy Jenniges writes that I credited the Not In Our Name (NION) group's "coordination with other groups and with police as a big reason so many people turned out on Sunday." Jenniges then quotes me as saying, "That's what the organizers did in an incredible way. They worked really hard to make sure the peacekeeping was organized." This is a complete confabulation of the points I made to Jenniges when I spoke with her on the phone the day after the march.
I started my conversation with Jenniges by stating that I had gotten involved in the October 6 event only one week before to help with peacekeeping. I told her to contact the people who sent out the NION press release (clever me!) and were directly involved with organizing the event. I talked briefly about the importance of peacekeeping, and then told her that there was one aspect of NION's work that was critical in drawing so many thousands to the march: setting a clear tone for the event by, among other things, reaching out to a broad range of groups, providing a diversity of speakers and musicians at the rallies, and getting permits.
Coordination with police had nothing to do with how many people marched: I didn't see police marching with us, nor did I hear of police doing outreach for us. Working with the police and organizing peacekeeping is irrelevant to attracting people to a demonstration--is the size of a crowd at a ball game dependent on who the umpires are that day? Peacekeepers help to keep an event on task and on message: to get people from one location to another smoothly, and to protect participants from disruptive elements, police who lose control, counterdemonstrators, etc. Very few marchers are even aware of the presence, let alone the purpose, of peacekeepers.
Jenniges also states that "the typical Seattle protest atmosphere--younger people clad in costumes or black bandannas--was notably absent in the crowd." In fact they were there. Many of those "typicals" helped organize this march.
Howard Gale, via e-mail
SAVAGE: Thank you for articulating a rational perspective on this issue for those of us moderates who are turned off by right-wing warmongering but even more repulsed by the smug, unrealistic, knee-jerk anti-war rhetoric of the left ["Say Yes to War on Iraq," Oct 17]. Sure, people can be as cynical as they want about our government's ultimate objectives, but the fact remains that the actions of Saddam Hussein and like-minded tyrants exist outside of any conspiracy theories or secret agendas to which the left clings. This is a sadistic, ruthless man, and skeptics don't have to take the Bush administration's word for it--go read some newspaper and eyewitness accounts from the past 20 years of his atrocities, aggressions, and corruption.
My guess is the radical left doesn't really care about the Iraqi people as much as they say they do--they're using them as pawns, just like Saddam, to find another way to stick it to the U.S. government.
Anonymous, via e-mail
SAVAGE: Sure, this is one of those times when peace is worse than war for children. We've been killing 3,000 kids per month with the sanctions without having to fire a shot.
Listen, stupid, Iraq today is much weaker than it was when we attacked it during the Bush I regime. If you are really against these mean ol' Middle East tyrants, why not push for arms inspections (which worked just fine; ask Scott Ritter) and ending those obscene sanctions?
It's bad enough that the Republo-fascists in Washington, D.C. are spouting this bullshit. If nothing else, this "editorial" sends the message that putting Savage in charge of writing about international relations would be as good an idea as putting him in charge of writing about music.
Chris Hite, via e-mail
SAVAGE: As usual, your style of debate overshadows the substance of debate. Calling people stupid is just stupid on your part.
In defending an invasion of Iraq, you set up a straw man called "the left." Doing this overlooks the fact that the October 6 rally of 10,000 people was much larger than "the left" could possibly mobilize. The opposition to this war is very broad and very deep here and around the world.
It is naive to think that Bush is interested in anything other than oil. Prior to September 11, U.S. foreign policy was best characterized as being predatory and imperialistic; it remains so now.
Jack F., via e-mail
SAVAGE: Your analysis misses one crucial fact: CURIOUS GEORGE AND CARDIAC DICK ARE SELF-SERVING LIARS. They say they want democracy in Iraq, but what about in America? They stole the election, they're up to their eyeballs in corporate scandals, and Footloose John is shredding what's left of the Constitution.
I don't claim to have all the answers regarding al Qaeda or the reign of Saddam Hussein, but I do know if we used less oil, we would be sending less money (and weapons) to oppressive, terrorist-sponsoring dictators. Couple this with not sabotaging every United Nations accord on the environment, war crimes, etc., and we might have more allies in this world.
Ben, via e-mail