Letters

Today's peace movement unites individuals

In response to the Dec. 13 Opinion piece "What kind of antiwar movement is this?": Brendan O'Neill fails to realize the two most important things about this movement.

First, it is not based upon the moral positions of previous movements, but rather upon the strategic reality that war and violence are no longer practical, or even rational, tactics of personal plans in a new age of nuclear weapons and possible WMD programs. It's the "warriors" living in a world of utopian heroics and tournaments who have been outdated for at least a decade. John Wayne can't pull his six-gun on the bully with an AK-47. He needs community criminal law and reliable courts.

Secondly, ours is a movement the media have chosen to portray as futile or selfish or silly, if it portrays it at all, one whose rationale is deliberately ignored and/or distorted.

The Christian Science Monitor has been at least as guilty as the other papers and networks, and has been an unembarrassed vehicle for the administration's positions from the beginning - not simply on the Opinion page, but in the design and execution of the reporting itself.
Jack Betterly
Albuquerque, N.M.

Regarding "What kind of antiwar movement is this?": Does Brendan O'Neill not understand that listening to one's conscience implies unselfishness? Nonviolence begins with the individual; only after accepting nonviolence within ourselves can that be used to cause change in the world.

Cleansing one's conscience, or becoming the peace you want to see in the world, is an integral part of the path to peace. O'Neill's reasons for not participating in antiwar protests - whose cause he claims to support - wins him the lame-excuse award.
Ray Sikorski
Bozeman, Mont.

War is rather personal. Death happens to people at an individual level.

And yes, there are quite a few groups against this war: mothers, lawyers, veterans. It's not the typical bleeding-heart liberal pacifist or antieverything activist. O'Neill tries to downplay the large segment of the population against war, which is far from narrow.
Dave Paulsen
Bellingham, Wash.

Of course, if the peace movement were not so "individualized" it would be criticized as monolithic, representing only one point of view, taken over by one faction or another.

A massive peace movement - which means a unity of many different individuals with one common goal - will be the only thing that stops Mr. Bush and his clique of economilitarists from going to war to get whatever they can of the world's remaining resources.
Jean Gerard
Temple City, Calif.

Brendan O'Neill claims that "Not in my name" is "almost like saying, 'Do what you like, we know we can't stop you - just count us out.' "

I'm not a part of the movement, but that's not "almost like" what I have to say; it's exactly what I have to say. The UN can't get President Bush "quaking in his boots." What does Mr. O'Neill think I can do?

The overall point is well taken. The current incarnation of the peace movement does indeed seem to be all about how war affects each of us rather than how it affects all of us. But at least the "Not in My Name" folks are standing up and being counted out. It would be nice to know what O'Neill suggests these activists do instead.

O'Neill is good at criticizing what protesters are doing, but he is silent on the subject of productive alternatives.
Khrysso Heart LeFey
Columbus, Ohio

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