Phyllis Bennis and the Post-Modern Anti-War Movement

It’s official. Phyllis Bennis, the spokesperson of the US peace movement, stated, “the U.S. peace movement doesn’t embrace the Iraqi resistance. Right.”

Bennis wrote,

“I never supported Saddam Hussein, who was ‘resisting’ the U.S. during the sanctions years, and I didn’t — and don’t — support what is called ‘the Iraqi resistance’ today.”

Note that “what is called.” One could try stop for a second and reflect why so many people use that “what is called” when addressing what is called the anti-war movement Bennis now has become the official spokesperson for.

The US peace movement’s spokesperson explains why “the U.S. peace movement doesn’t embrace the Iraqi resistance”:

[W]hat is understood to be “the Iraqi resistance” against the U.S. occupation is a disaggregated and diverse set of largely unconnected factions, in which the various often-antagonistic armed movements (including some who attack Iraqi civilians as much as they do occupation troops) hold pride of place. There is no unified leadership that can speak for “the resistance,” there is no NLF or ANC or FMLN that can claim real leadership and is accountable to the Iraqi population as a whole. There is no unified program, either of what the fight is against or what it is for. We know virtually nothing of what most of the factions stand for beyond opposition to the U.S. occupation — and from my own personal vantage point, of the little beyond that that we do know, I don’t like so much.

The Western post-modern anti-war movement got to the point to decide which resistance movement we like and which one we “don’t like so much.”

So now you know!

You, the resistance movements around the world that are resisting this rapacious Empire whose fat belly we live so comfortably in, you must be approved to have our respect, sympathy and intellectual support.

Approved by whom?

We shall create a special office for this task. We may call it the Empire’s anti-war movement’s department for the right to exist of the indigenous peoples. If you have a better name, please, send your suggestions. We are tolerant and encourage politically correctness to make you feel at home.

But please remember. We have become a little fussy, you know. Try to look a little more like those resistance movements we so much admire in those romantic Hollywood movies. And since you are at it, shave and get a shower.

Let’s go back to the peace movement’s spokesperson.

On another point, she writes,

As to our movement. Cockburn is wrong when he claims the peace movement is dead. How does he think that 70% anti-war opinion he notes was created? Certainly spontaneous opposition has played a part, based on rising casualty figures from Iraq (unfortunately only U.S. casualties seem to have this effect, not the enormously larger Iraqi casualties) and the lengthening litany of Bush administration outrages. But the peace movement’s work has been critical as well.

Unfortunately indeed! Especially when it’s that anti-war movement to conceal the real extent of the horror the Anglo-American invasion, [read: our leaders, our troops, our money, our will and our indifference] brought into Iraq.

But the post-modern anti-war movement doesn’t do resistance.

Bennis is even more explicit, I would say honest, in her realpolitik approach:

“I don’t think we gain strength by making sympathy with resistance fighters a demand of our movement.”

Indeed. To know why, please read my two pre-emptive replies:

Once upon a time in Iraq… Money makes the world go around

Once upon a time in Iraq… A Nobel Peace Prize for the Anglo-American Peacekeepers?

Gabriele Zamparini is editor of The Cat's Blog, and can be reached at: Read other articles by Gabriele, or visit Gabriele's website.

8 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Dave Silver said on August 1st, 2007 at 4:21pm #

    Bravo Gabrielle

  2. Dave Silver said on August 1st, 2007 at 4:27pm #

    Bravo Gabriele

    Bennis ahs long been the ideological authority for United for Peace and Justice as well as past “Socialist Scholars Conference” –neomarxist, new Left, anarchistic, Social Democratic and virulently anticommunist in a
    Left disguise using code words like democratisation and on the cutting edge-Stalinism. Of course UFPJ and their ilk has become part of the problem in the church of any body but a Republican, which I said over 2 years ago.
    Your article is a contribution to the broad people’s struggles.

  3. Virginia Simson said on August 2nd, 2007 at 4:24am #

    Someone forwarded to me some stuff off your blog.

    I gotta tell you .. that was one good day!

    You are so right on! Sometimes I think it is just me who “gets” it, but I was wrong. YOU do get it . this is just further confirmation.

    I think these new wars – and they psychosis that goes with them – have made everybody really daft and dissociated from very REAL pain. Rather than selling out to build a less impassioned “movement”, people like Ms. Bennis should be growing ever MORE strident about waking people up. They must be ever pointing out how resistance deaths are just MORE evidence of how wrongheaded/bad hearted the ruling class/powers that be really are.

    Great commentary.

  4. ron said on August 2nd, 2007 at 5:17am #

    Bennis is a carrerist liberal. She no more represents the US peace movement than Lindsy Lohan represents Alcoholics Anonymous.

  5. Binh said on August 2nd, 2007 at 11:45am #

    At least the Iraqi resistance is effective. The American “peace movement ” hasn’t effected shit since the war started. 100 car bombs have done more to stop the U.S. from rolling over Iraq and into Tehran than all the votes, letters, and days of lobbying Pelosi that Bennis has organized put together.

  6. rosemarie jackowski said on August 2nd, 2007 at 4:04pm #

    I guess it all depends on how “anti” anti war a person is. From what I have seen, there is no real anti- war movement in the USA. Maybe the anti-war movement was killed by the “anybody-but-Bush” movement. Most who claim to be anti war support Capitalism – which needs war to sustain itself.

  7. Eddie said on August 3rd, 2007 at 12:18pm #

    Enjoyed reading this and the comments. Ron’s is LOL.

  8. Deadbeat said on August 3rd, 2007 at 11:47pm #

    Great comments. UFPJ always got nervous whenever anyone brought up the role Zionism (and manifested by the U.S. support for Israel) plays in MidEast policy. Clearly it seems Bennis’s role is to obscure this issue with slogan such as “War For Oil” or “U.S. Imperialism”