NB: I am not speaking for any other member of Green Mountain CodePINK, other local chapters or nationl.
A recent Facebook exchange on our page [update: it continued, but I haven't appended here]:
Kathy Elquist: Let's see you support this warmonger - you are all warmongers - your tax money went to pay killing innocent Libyans - obama gave Libya's Military more money and they used it to kill innocent people - you warmongers
Green Mountain Code Pink: In point of fact, we don't support this action, and continue to fight against all warmongering and for peace and justice.
Kathy Elquist: then why aren't you protesting and holding impeachment signs like you did when Bush went to Iraq? You people were rabid when Bush went into Iraq but yet you sit silent on this because it is obama. I see nothing wrong with people who wantpeace - that's fine but you people spit on our troops and just went ape shit on Bush. The signs about Bush were unbelievable - you protested his ranch, the Capitol, you even disrespected Condoleezza Rice AND YET YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING REGARDING OBAMA'S ILLEGAL WAR and THAT is what makes you people HYPOCRITICAL LEFT WING LOONS.
Kathy Elquist: ALSO you may fight against "all warmongering" but you don't protest the same - you are giving obama a pass because he's your man, you voted for him, you supported him and you support him now - otherwise you would be out in the streets like you did when Bush was in office or in front of the Marines recruiting office in Berkeley
Green Mountain Code Pink: Well, I see this is going to take a bit of effort, so I'm working on a blog post to address your quesions since Facebook is not conducive to long responses. I will post a link in a couple hours. In the meantime, I have a question for you. It appears that you support the preventive invasion and occupation of Iraq, but do not support NATO and the Arab League's support of the revolution in Libya (I apologize if my assumption is incorrect). Why were you for Bush's war, but not Obama's? [posted this from my Droid at about 530am after dealing with a fussy Samuel]
Samuel Johnson might have added to his truism that Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel: charges of hypocrisy are the penultimate refuge. It can be a fun exercise and a way to interrupt dissonance, but it lacks a certain amount of seriousness and is often a reciprocal case of projection.
Still, I did want to take some time to respond because it's worth exploring why certain conflicts get support from some quarters and not others, and I'd like to disabuse folks of any notion that many of us don't, in fact, oppose Obama's militarism as much as we did Bush's.
It's really not surprising to me there's any divide on support for military action depending on who's in office. Opinion naturally fluctuates based on partisan affiliation I suspect in large part because, yeah, your guy's in office and you're more likely to justify stuff somebody on your team does. But I think it's kind of a chicken-egg problem because wouldn't it also be the case that your guy probably uses the military in situations that jibe with what you think is justified?
The Bushes intervened in the Persian Gulf twice, protecting our access to the oil rich region. The most recent Democratic presidents intervened in Yugoslavia and now Libya, ostensibly to help people actively rebelling against tyrants. The motives seem to be in line with their parties' general interests, so of course Republicans would tend to celebrate Bush wars and not Dem wars, and Democrats would the opposite. Absent a change in mindset and maybe establishing a Department of Peace, as I advocate, most Americans no matter what their party affiliation believe in a "just war" and merely quibble on the margins about when violence is necessary.
Now, I am absolutely against our military action in Libya. I'm really down on all the intervention, but I don't have much say in what France or Britain or the Arab League does, and this more rightly falls into their sphere of influence anyway.
That said, if one believes violence is ever justified, I would think you'd ascribe more legitimacy to NATO's involvement than Bush's preventive invasion and occupation of Iraq. With the latter, there was a long drumbeat to war based on incredible deception, fearmongering and manipulation, where the White House had already made a decision to attack from the beginning and was simply looking for a reason. The former has been quite fluid and developed very fast, with the rebels requesting help as their position weakened, making time of the essence.
While the brightest lights of the GOP were calling for intervention and accusing Obama of dithering, his Administration was working with allies to get all their ducks in a row. This includes a Security Council resolution that explicitly authorizes force (1973's "all necessary measures"), in contrast to Bush's skipping the UN when it was clear they weren't going to give him permission (1441 stopped short at "serious consequences").
To his credit, Bush did convince Congress to give him authority with the AUMF. But again with a quickly changing situation in Libya and no run-up period, Obama didn't really have that as an option, though he did comply with the War Powers Resolution and Congress has offered tepid support for now.
Thus, even though I think this action is unjustified--I don't care if Republicans or the Pope or anybody in particular endorses it--I can understand why somebody against the Iraq War might be okay with Obama's current air campaign. I can even understand why supporters on the Left use the same bullshit propaganda.
Whatever hope I had in January 09 that we might be able to mitigate military misadventures during Obama's tenure has long since evaporated, as it did for many of us. So we're still working on the same issues as before, despite a bit of Protest Fatigue after 10 years in Afghanistan, 8 years in Iraq and 1 week over Libya.
Let's keep in mind that it takes a lot of effort to build resistance. Yes, millions of people around the world protested before Iraq, but of course there was plenty of time to organize. We've had little opportunity to do so with this conflict as yet.
All the same, Dennis Kucinich has already mentioned the I-word. He hasn't introduced Articles of Impeachment yet, but he didn't do that until 2008 for Bush anyway, so I'm not sure it's reasonable to object that nobody is calling for it the same way we did with the previous president just because a Dem is in office. For the record, by 2007 I was agitating for impeachment. Not solely because Bush went to war since that was certainly his prerogative, but rather for many of the reasons Kucinich stipulated later, and similarly I see no argument for impeachment at this point.
That political process aside, many of us have still been in the streets marking the start of the Iraq War since Obama took office, even escalating demands and action. We're still doing counter-recruitment at mililarty locations and schools. We're still engaged in war tax resistance. And speaking out against Libya again and again.
Personally, I don't care if you supported the Iraq War and are now against the Libyan intervention. I welcome everybody who has discovered a distaste for military action and look forward to your help bringing all our troops home from all our wars.