Lex Alexander, proprietor of Blog on the Run, sent me an email observing that:
Re the DC protests: Granted, I have found no particular reason to doubt that the event was organized by people inimical to U.S. interests and perhaps even puppets of Iraq.
Could such a group, in and of itself, have mobilized between 100,000 and 200,000 protestors from as far away as Nebraska and Florida?
Whatever the motives of the organizers, I think a lot of people showed up who were sincere, if misguided. The alternative is to believe ANSWER has a lot more power than anyone ever suspected, and there's just no evidence for that.
He’s quite right. I’m reminded of the well-meaning people who were drawn into peace movements led by Soviet front groups like the U.S. Peace Council. Front groups use their superior organization to latch onto dissatisfaction and to use it. There’s never been a shortage of useful idiots.
UPDATE: The Mother Jones website asks their readers:
Millions of Americans from all points of the ideological compass have expressed deep ambivalence about the Bush administration's rush to preemptive war. Now, a popular antiwar movement is stirring. Can the current leadership of that movement -- and the message they carry -- attract the support of those millions of quiet antiwarriors?
I agree with much of this reply, especially the observation about a segment of the left cutting "loose from the 'national dialogue.'":
Yeah. I'm aware of some of the people behind the current anti-war movement. I find it disturbing. Sadly, I see no possibility for an anti-war movement that does not include these people.
There is a segment of the left that seems to have permanently taken leave of reality. They live in a closed world, an insular world in which only supporting theories are tolerated, and the mental distance between their mindset and that of the rest of society has been growing even more rapidly since September 11th. They've cut loose from the "national narrative", or whatever you want to call it, and are now off in some other bizarre wonderland filled with assumptions strange and bizarre to the rest of society.
Think about the kind of conspiracy theories circulating. Heck, Gore Vidal is now bizarrely asserting that the Bush administration knew about Al Queda's plans and deliberately took no action to stop it. What universe does he live in???? He sounds like a freaking lunatic!
Seriously, these people look like raving psychos to the rest of us, ranting about imperialist plots and capitalist conspiracies and spouting wierd sounding marxist rhetoric.
It would be depressing if it wasn't so scary.
The foam at their mouths is so thick that I'm almost frightened into supporting the war.