Monday, October 22, 2007

Neocons Surge Against Antiwar Movement
Mon, 2007-10-22

By Tom Hayden,

As thousands of Americans take to the streets this week, they will face a rising right-wing offensive to discredit and derail the antiwar movement. The cry of "troops home now" will echo in 11 cities as an intense year-long battle begins to sharpen. Not since 2002 will the antiwar movement – and dovish Democrats – face as virulent and lavishly funded a backlash as this one.

Consider the gathering storm:

A powerful and persistent faction of hawks, centered in Vice President Cheney's office, is pushing for a military strike against Iran in the coming year.
The orchestrated campaign for continuing the "surge" in Iraq, led by Gen. Petraeus, succeeded in restoring the nerve of the Republican Party and defeating the Democratic strategy of seeking Republican defections.
The well-coordinated attacks on were designed to destroy the group's proven ability to raise millions of dollars for antiwar messages and, in general, Democratic candidates. Seventy-five senators, including the likes of Barbara Boxer, rushed to denounce MoveOn, thus helping the effort to de-legitimize the organization.
Ari Fleischer, the former Bush spokesman who warned Americans to "watch what you say," now heads an organization that spent $15 million to promote the war as patriotic.
Pro-Israel and Christian Right groups are attempting to raise $200 million for a campaign calling for war with Iran.
Rudy Giuliani, currently the Republican front-runner, has selected neocon godfather Norman Podhoretz as his national security adviser.
David Horowitz is spending millions of dollars to demonize pro-peace professors and organize on campuses against what the neocons call "Islamofascism."
The neocons and hawks of all stripes are fighting back. They already have succeeded in gaining political traction for the escalation in Baghdad, counter-punching the Democratic critics into a corner, planting major stories of "success" in the media, and gaining top positions in Giuliani's presidential campaign. Their campaign for war in Iran (Podhoretz says he "prays" for it everyday, an apparent message to the Christian Right) is on track.

Their top priority is to isolate the antiwar movement and its Democratic allies as "too extreme." In 2002, when most of the American people were frozen by the 9/11 experience, it was a matter of trying to prevent the development of antiwar sentiment. In 2007, however, the neocons face a more daunting challenge: how to undermine the American majority favoring rapid withdrawal from Iraq?...[Open in new window]


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