8/28/2005

Antiwar.com right wing's begginnings

From Horowitz's Frontpage:

George Szamuely, a New York writer who had been associated with the neoconservatives and had worked for the Hudson Institute, was among those who forcefully and eloquently attacked the war. His articles were published at Antiwar.com, a website that had come into existence for the purpose of opposing the U.S. action in Kosovo. I agreed with his arguments, as I agreed with most of the other writings appearing at Antiwar.com at the time. (I also sent money to support the website.) But then something very strange happened with Szamuely, and with Antiwar.com itself. Not content with merely opposing the U.S.-led war on Serbia, he began retrospectively attacking America's entire effort in the Cold War against the former Soviet Union. He did this by denying that Communism had ever represented a threat that needed to be stopped. It was as though, once he had switched into an oppositional mode against what he saw as the unjustified use of American power in the case of Serbia, he was compelled by some mysterious dynamic to see any use of American power abroad as wrong or imperialistic, even when that power had been used for such a righteous and necessary cause as resisting the spread of Communism, and even though he himself had previously been an anti-Communist and a supporter of the Cold War.

This came as a shock to me. And the shock didn't end there. I soon noticed a similar adversarial stance among other antiwar rightists, a wild denunciatory quality that did not confine itself to particular wrongs committed by the United States, but eagerly embraced any assertion against America, no matter how ridiculous. For example, Antiwar.com repeatedly charged that the Clinton administration was "racist" for arresting the Chinese-American scientist Wen Ho Lee as a suspected nuclear spy. The charge was ridiculous. This, after all, was the administration that had been in bed with the Red Chinese, giving them advanced missile technology in exchange for illegal Chinese contributions to the Clinton re-election campaign. This was the president who made multiculturalism our national policy, this was our "first black president," this was the president who said he eagerly looked forward to the day when America, as a result of continued mass nonwhite immigration, would no longer be a white-majority country. Could anything be sillier than to say that the Clinton administration in arresting Wen Ho Lee was driven by a racial animus against Chinese people rather than by a concern about the theft of nuclear secrets?

Furthermore, why was Antiwar.com, a supposedly right-wing website (though its editor, Justin Raimondo, is a paleo-libertarian rather than a paleoconservative), trafficking in the kind of trumped-up racism charges that conservatives normally see as a curse on our society? The answer, as I came to realize, was that from the point of view of Antiwar.com, the Clinton administration was imperialistic, therefore it was illegitimate, and therefore it deserved whatever it got. Any crazy charge was ok, so long as it made the U.S. government look bad.

The antiwar right's turn against America, their indulgence in reckless attacks on the good faith of the American government even when it was combating espionage or containing Communism, suggested to me that at bottom many antiwar critics were not motivated by a love of country or a belief in truth, but by resentment. It was exactly the kind of resentment normally associated with the left, the impotent fury at a traitorous father figure or a supposed "oppressor" whom the supposed "oppressed," seeing himself as powerless and therefore not subject to any responsible restraints, feels justified in striking back at in any way he can. One of the typical forms this resentment took was the notion that the oppressor has no rational basis for doing what he's doing, but is acting out of insane or evil motives.

FrontPage magazine.com :: The Antiwar Right's Bent View of the World by Lawrence Auster

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