Local News

Springer Journal: Anti-War Protesters Are ... Inevitable

Posted February 27, 2003 2:12 a.m. EST

— War with Iraq and the disarming of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction seems inevitable. Anti-war protesters are equally inevitable whenever this nation embarks on a war footing.

We are blessed to live in a nation where people across the land, from all ages and all walks of life, can gather in peaceful protests of any action ... including our government's actions. Freedom of speech is a powerful tool and the right of all Americans.

Over the past several weeks and months we have witnessed a vocal minority here at home, and also abroad in foreign nations, march in opposition to any war in Iraq. I find it quite interesting that none of these protesters ... at least none that I have been able to observe on television ... have voiced any objection to Saddam Hussein or his ruthless rule in Iraq.

Never mind Saddam's killing of hundreds of thousands of his own people; never mind releasing chemical weapons on his own Iraqis; never mind his incursions into his neighbor, Kuwait; never mind his torching of a neighboring nation's oil fields; never mind his violation of 17 United Nations resolutions dating as far back as 1991 and as recent as a few months ago; never mind alleged consorting with international terrorists. There is simply no protestations of these actions by the anti-war activists.

It seems to me that any of these facts and allegations may be a pretense for war. Why would anyone who opposes war not see these issues as also provoking war? Is this a one way street we are protesting on?

Too frequently anti-war protesters resort to bumper sticker slogans (No war for oil) rather than reasoned and intellectual discourse. I am always suspect of just how "intellectual" these protesters are in any case. Let me expand on those two thoughts.

"No war for oil" makes for a great bumper sticker. Unfortunately it makes no sense when put in historical perspective. We could write a full dissertation on America's post war demands on its former enemies. There has been no desire to conquer and assume the rights to a defeated nation's natural resources. Don't take my word for it. Ask the Germans or the Japanese how they fared after WW II. Ask the Russians and the former Soviet Republics how they fared after the Cold War concluded. These are the most notable examples of the 20th century.

"No war for oil" rings hollow when considering our historical massive support to defeated nations and our billions spent in aiding others around the world. Maybe we should tell the anti-war protesters what history has shown to be America's true motives over the years.

How about the "intellectual" prowess amongst these protesters? I am confident there are some very smart, learned, concerned citizens who participate in these anti-war protests. They have informed themselves of the issues at hand. They still oppose the impending war with Iraq. They are as concerned about the future of our country and the world as I am. I respect their opinions as I believe they respect mine.

On the other hand, I have some major disagreement with the folks whose professions reside in the world of make-believe. Martin Sheen's make believe world in West Wing is a world of entertainment. It is not the real world. In the real world, the President has to make responsible decisions ... not decisions that will get an audience to return for the next episode. Star power does not an "intellectual" make! Performers like to "perform," and sometimes they don't seem to care much what platform they are performing on.

I am reminded of some speeches I gave across this nation in the late 1960s. In those days the renowned and very capable baby doctor, Dr. Benjamin Spock, was a very high profile anti-war protester. My take was that Dr. Spock may have been one of the nation's leading baby doctors,


he was not an expert on national policy or military strategy. Much similar could be said about today's celebrity protesters.

Anti-war protests will not go away ... nor should they. But as we witness these staged events, we should ask ourselves just how much does the most vocal of the protesters really know and understand. We should search for the political motives and hidden agendas residing in their message. We should all be informed citizens when it comes to an incredibly important issue such as war.

I spent 36 years on active duty in our nation's Air Force. I too am anti-war! Virtually all military men and women are anti-war. They want peace ... but not peace at any price. Military members know that when war occurs they are at the pointy end of an enemy's weapons. They, not the vocal anti-war protesters, are the ones in harms way. Yet they know their responsibilities; they know what they are expected to do; they know that their nation's future lies in their hands. It is an awesome responsibility they shoulder.