I spent the evening with a friend who knows how I trashed my career in '73, and how I've been upset that the nations that so blithely overthrew a democratically elected government in Chile now arrogantly use Saddam's cruelty for their own purposes. I have resolved my own temptations to despair this way: there were a substantial few who were radicalised back then (most may have sold out, but not all); if we have been ignored and marginalised, those in the fore today are asking the same questions, objecting to the same outrages, pointing to the same contradictions ... and their numbers are legion. The historic project of emancipation is inescapable in its implications.
[...] "It's all about oil," opponents of a military attack have chanted, a tad simplistically, from the very beginning. The claim was dismissed as paranoid nonsense, but it obviously stung just enough to make both London and Washington keen to deflect it. Why else have both moved swiftly to announce that Iraq's oil wealth will be held in a UN trust, to be spent only on the Iraqi people themselves? The peace movement made it impossible for the US, in particular, to do anything else.
Critics have railed against Washington for its gunslinging unilateralism, lambasting the US for playing the lone ranger. So the first sentence of George Bush's TV address on Wednesday night referred to "coalition forces". Of course he spoiled the multilateralist feel of the phrase by preceding it with "on my orders" - suggesting he is in charge even of the British army - but the thought was there.
And perhaps the clearest proof of the anti-war camp's efforts came from our own prime minister: "I know this course of action has produced deep divisions of opinion in our country," he said, just seconds into his own TV message to the nation. No leader wants to go into a war admitting such a thing. But Blair had no choice. As with much else, the peace movement has changed the landscape for this conflict - and the men of war are having to deal with it.
Three very rich resource sites:
* Americans Against World Empire, Against Bombing
* Transnational News Navigator