Remember when opponents of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq used to hold massive rallies with lots of media attention, and newspapers like the New York Times warned that the 1960s may be returning? That turned out to be a short decade. Reason TV’s Ted Balaker and Zach Weissmueller look at the sudden dissipation of the anti-war movement, which in reality was a proxy fight in a much different battle:
Most of us presumed that the protests were more about Bush than the wars when they took place, but even the skeptics have to be a little surprised just how uncool the anti-war movement has become since Barack Obama took place. The neo-Stalinist International ANSWER, one of the groups featured in this film, must have thought they were achieving some sort of mainstream penetration into politics when Democrats started flooding into their rallies. Now they’re back to street-corner protests and “Honk If You <3 Peace” rallies and wondering why it suddenly got so lonely.
To be fair, though, the driving force of the earlier anti-war rallies was the war in Iraq, not Afghanistan. While the Af-Pak fight has lost considerable public support, the first war had broader support, as it targeted the actual 9/11 villains and their cohorts. The protests against the wars got fueled mainly by our presence in Iraq, and peaked when Bush put the surge strategy into place. The success of that strategy and the Status of Forces Agreement that moved American troops out of the cities and into support roles has removed most of the objections to Iraq, and for good reason — why protest a war that’s all but over? Obama promised to have troops out in 16 months during the presidential campaign, but as Reason TV notes, he stuck with the Bush SOFA policy — and after 24 months, we’re still there and likely will be for years to come.