I agree with Mark LeVine's April 3 opinion piece "How the peace movement blew it." The peace movement "blew it" because it did not assume the responsibility and personal risk of failure, nor did it step up with a reasoned alternative to the situation in Iraq or the Middle East. The movement severely misjudged the people it was trying to reach by not taking the time or doing the work to build a credible case against the war.
But the second half of Mr. LeVine's argument demonstrates the deeper reason the movement failed. When he brought in issues like American consumerism, he illustrated exactly why the peace movement failed.
People ignore those who belittle them for living their lives, trying to keep their jobs, and worrying about the world their kids will grow up in. The White House succeeded with its message because it made a case for being the same as the people it is trying to lead and for worrying about the same things we do. The Bush administration did not preach from a high moral mountaintop.
San Jose, Calif.
I question Mark LeVine's motives - even the title of his article, "Why the peace movement blew it" - and ask him why he didn't offer his helpful suggestions directly to activists confronting these issues head on - in real time. Instead, he chose to deliver a post-mortem to a very alive and hopeful contingency of proud, productive, and patriotic Americans on the front line for peace.
Regarding your April 2 article "Antiwar protesters in a PR fix": As long as the media portray this war as a competitive sporting event, we will see religions, countries, and cultures marginalized or even demonized. This "them vs. us" attitude now divides our nation, our churches, our families by implying that the antiwar movement is hostile to US military personnel. In one-dimensional black and white terms, the media labels "pro-war" rallies as "pro-troop," as if the only way to support our soldiers is to advocate their involvement in this unjust war. How different would the American response be if our president did not see the world as either "for us or against us." While the demonstrators are critical of this administration, they, too, want a safe and quick return of our forces.
The peace movement knows all too well that in suffering the horrors of war there is no "them and us": We all are victims.
For many of us who have found peace and freedom in this great country after fleeing from terror in our own, the US war against a tyrant like Saddam Hussein is morally right and politically just. The selective indignation of the peace movement is full of hypocrisy. Where were they on the countless occasions when horrible crimes were committed against people around the world?
Falls Church, Va.
"Already, postwar bids begin," April 3, alludes to one of the most serious shortcomings of the Bush administration's Iraq policy: the current plan to make the Pentagon responsible for managing the reconstruction of Iraq where American businesses will be the major beneficiaries. Is it any wonder that the Iraqi people, and much of the world, are questioning whether this "liberation" is in fact a conquest? The only way we can restore the world's trust is to give control of Iraq to a democratically elected government immediately. Any delay will be seen by many as an attempt to profit from a horrendous tragedy.
New Paltz, N.Y.
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