Todd Gitlin at Salon:
Where have all the war protesters gone?
The outrage that greeted the run-up to the Bush-Blair Iraq war debacle generated what must have been the largest antiwar rallies and demonstrations in the history of the world. Sometimes in subzero temperatures, millions of marchers in New York, London and elsewhere took to the streets to interrupt the roar of self-righteous crypto-imperial bravado, to barge through George Bush’s strutters’ ball and its fevers of fantastical, deceptive and self-deceptive claims about Saddam Hussein’s danger to the United States and Washington’s promise to parachute democracy into Saddam’s stricken land. In the well-chosen words of one London sign, the marchers were “Shocked, Not Awed.”
Then the marches stopped.
They stopped partly because the antiwar leadership was barely cobbled together, with some conspicuous quarters reluctant to speak harshly of the multi-murderous Saddam Hussein. The movement’s drawing power was limited from the start, and then, once the war was on in earnest, it felt — realistically — that it had run smack against the brick wall of George Bush’s manic pigheadedness. Demonstrators are unlikely to invest their energies in what look from the start like very lost causes. And the demonstrations also tailed off because the mainstream media didn’t pay attention — refused to pay attention. The story line they were promoting was: America kicks ass, new era begins!
Do not neglect the new wars’ insulation from the American population, either. A volunteer army, disproportionately staffed from rural areas, is an army insulated from the more vocal, influential sectors of the country. By the same token, drone wars in Yemen and Somalia take place behind thick curtains, with some effectiveness against hated jihadis, and the offstage moans are muffled. For the vast American majority, ordinary life goes on — business as usual. For that matter, too, it’s troubled business, with many people beleaguered by what feel like the more urgent cares of joblessness and eviction. Paradoxically, perhaps, a more prosperous country is better available to resist its own wars.
We don’t need protesters because we elected the “anti-war” candidate so the wars are all over now. They even gave him a Nobel Peace Prize.
Besides, all the former protesters are busy looking for work.
The secret war in Somalia
Writing in the Nation this week, Jeremy Scahill revealed that the CIA is running “a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives” at Mogadishu’s airport and also using a secret prison in the beleaguered Horn of Africa nation.
The revelations come just two weeks after media reports — sourced to unnamed American officials — of a U.S. drone attack in Somalia on members of the Islamic militant group Shabaab, which was designated a terrorist organization by the State Department in 2008.
The Washington Post noted that Somalia is now the sixth country — joining Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen — where the Obama administration has launched drone attacks.
I’m pretty sure the Somalis know about the war there, so who is it being kept secret from?