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Anti-war Activists Arrested Near White House

By Ken Poland
Opinion | March 21, 2011

antiwar-6.gifWASHINGTON - How many more protesters or how much resistance to arrest would it have taken for the confrontation to have escalated.

Were the police who made the arrests armed? Would there have been casualties if the crowd had reacted with physical or armed resistance?

Obviously the event didn't get that big or confrontational.

But, what if it had? We had a civil war because a significant number of people objected to Federal Policy.

I'm sure most all of us will say, "Don't let the situation get out of hand."

"Nip it in the bud before full scale mob protests get started."

At what point in time do we call out the National Guard or bring in full scale military presence?

We had National Guard involvement in the civil rights confrontations of the '60s. Some folks cheered and some cried foul. We call in the National Guard to keep the peace around national political conventions. We call the National Guard in to maintain order when major natural disasters cripple local authority or the need for control exceeds local law enforcement capacity.

What would you have to say about the U.N. or any outside nations stepping in to curtail the Federal Government's resistance to citizen protests? I'm sure we have readers and contributors to this sight that support the protestors and some who think immediate and convincing force should be employed to shut down the protestors. Should we tolerate foreign interference in our internal affairs?

How many countries and provinces around the world are plagued with despotic dictators and militia type war lords that rape and pillage at will? How do we determine which ones we will choose to bring in military force to intervene? Manned bombers or unmanned drones are military operations. History tells us that ground forces are very apt to be called in, eventually. Will slapping one despot cause all the others to disband? We slapped Saddam Hussein and it appears that didn't convince the despots in Egypt, Lybia, or any of the other little operators to run and hide.


This really feels like you were commenting on what I said about your last post. You're not entirely wrong. We would object fiercely to the international community getting involved in our affairs. There is a difference though. In the 1960's the government called in the National Guard. They didn't massacre people. We say we are about freedom and yet we ally ourselves with dictators if it is in our national interest. This is hypocrisy. In Libya, we saw a people rise on their own and fight. How can the international community not defend them. That is the difference to me. The international community prevented a massacre of people who desire the freedom we say we love. I think we had to act.

Yes, Matt my last post and this one are very closely related, and your comments to both are valid opinion.

What I am asking is when does our law enforcement or military actions become international business? And, what will our response be? Hopefully our system will never allow such violent treatment of our citizenry that we have to resort to such mass rebellion. We have extremist groups who now encourage thought that we are there now. They are in a minority, but, seldom do the majority participants in mob action really support the extreme measures the mobs take.

Fortunately, the leaders who incited the rebellion against the tyranny of the English government were able to organize and control the rag tag military regiments of the colonies. Then we had statesmen like leaders who were able to finally craft a constitution that has stood the challenges and threats thrown at us for these 200+ years. We came close to losing it with the rebellion that brought on the civil war. Brothers fought against brothers and both sides committed atrocities. But, in the end we were able to reconcile and with a few setbacks we established civil order for all. Could we have done this if outsiders had been involved?

I very much disliked Saddam Hussein and I think Quadafi, or however you spell his name, is not a good man. But does that entitle me to cross national borders and remove them from their positions? Will we write their new constitution and appoint their new leaders? Could France, Portugal, or Spain have written our constitution?

I stick with my opinion that we should carefully consider our involvement in other nations internal affairs.

I agree. Infringing on a sovereign nation is a dangerous move. I think I have been caught up in the optimism that freedom could sweep the Arab world. The rebellions in Egypt and Tunisia really affected my opinion. I even wrote about how I thought George Bush was right that democracy could sweep the region, but he was wrong that we could force it on them. To see a people rise up, fight and die for that kind of freedom was inspirational. When the international community took so long to get involved it was painful because it seemed the rebels only lacked technology and training. The biggest flaw in my argument, as I see it, is that the situation in the Ivory Coast is being completely ignored. It is not on the scale of Libya, but it is headed that way. I think in Libya I saw such a clear cut ability for the international community to provide something that tipped the balance.

I will not be surprised if I am proved wrong. I supported the war in Afghanistan as a method to capture Osama Bin Laden. I have come to regret that support and believe Bin Laden will only be killed or captured by Special Forces or some other commando type attack. Full scale military incursion never really had a chance.

We should carefully consider our involvement in other nations affairs. I heard Ron Paul on NPR today talk about how we basically ignored the genocides in Sudan, and Rwanda. He was right. I want us to learn from that though. I think that we could make Libya more like Bosnia than Iraq. I think our Air Force can provide the tipping point without significant risk to American forces. That and we aren't even leading the charge. France has gone so far as to recognize the rebels as the legitimate government of Libya. A good result is far from certain, but I think we have made the right choice to get involved.

I would also like to say that I really have enjoyed this discussion, and others I've had on this site. I recently wrote about honest disagreements and civil discussion. I just wish the debate we have here would expand to the greater population.

IndependentKansan, please tell others about your discussions here (send them links) and encourage them to participate with you. Think of a stone dropping itself on a calm pond. The ripples have no where to go but grow larger and outward.

Pamela- I will try to spread the word about this site. It is difficult to get people to pay attention. Unfortunately, people have other things to consider in their lives. I will try to spread the word. In the meantime, keep up the good work. I enjoy this site as well as other blogs I follow. We have the voice to really spread discussion, not just the angry rhetoric.

I'm just finding it hilarious how democrats and liberals were so down on Bush going into Iraq but now Obama does this and we get mostly silence?

Sometimes presidents have to do things that are unpopular or lead to war.

Whoa. This isn't the same thing. I didn't complain about Pres. Bush going into Afghanistan but Iraq was different. Yes Hussein was a tyrant but there wasn't a massive uprising against him. In Libya, we have had to do very little to prevent the massacre of citizens. In Iraq we had to do a lot. The Iraqi people never showed the desire to be free. I hate that we have to distinguish between the two, but we do. We are protecting freedom for those who want it in Libya. In Iraq, we were just assuming that they were willing to fight.

Brad, I am a democrat and by most peoples description I am liberal. You didn't know that did you. LOL

I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq as soon as Pres. Bush started rattling the sabers. I wrote letters to the editors and voiced my opposition in the coffee shops and where ever else the subject was raised. I'm still opposed to our involvement in Iraq. However, there seems to be no easy way to get out without loosing what little we gained. Little in terms of establishing a working democracy.

I voted for Pres. Obama and support him on most issues. BUT!! I am opposed to our becoming militarily involved in Libya and I can't support Pres. Obama's actions.

I am very fearful that we will find ourselves in a quagmire not unlike Vietnam and Iraq. We are miring down in Afghanistan now.

Actually the people of Iraq had a big desire to be free, only Saddam had tight control so they could not show it. The recent sudden outbursts for freedom we are seeing recently had not happened yet.

I still cannot get over the hypocrisy of the liberal community who were out demonstrating in the streets by the thousands when Bush started Iraq but now, barely a peep. Oh sure people like Ken SAY they oppose the war, but being that a democrat is doing it he and most others will keep their criticism muted for fear of looking like the tea party people.

Hey I understand. You think its been easy defending Bush? I look at it like buying a used car. I bought it and now I have to deal with it. You voted for Obama (even though you really wanted Hillary) and are stuck with your choice.

Politicians will always both disappoint and impress you.

Bad, "he and most others will keep their criticism muted for fear of looking like the tea party people."

How much louder must I shout it?


I cannot agree with the President sending our military troops (ground, air, or unmanned missle) into battle without congressional approval. I don't care whether it is Democrat or Republican. An emergency situation may be different, but this can't possibly be excused as an emergency response. And when the initial emergency has been dealt with, no further offense should be pressed without congressional approval.

I hope this issue continues to be discussed in this venue and in all media outlets. We need to hear from both side's opinion and hopefully all participants in the discussion will be pragmatic in justifying their position.

I'm a Democrat and a liberal, and I have been an anti-war activist since the Vietnam War. I too am opposed to our actions in Libya. It's a foolish thing for us to do. I opposed both invasions of Iraq and the invasion of Afghanistan. I've been opposed to war since I was a teenager and nothing has happened since to change my mind.

Question: If the enemy (Islamist extremist) came to your front door to do you and your family harm, or if a close family member was a 9/11 victim at the WTC, would it be at that point you would give up your anti-war passivism and fight back for your rights, or would continue with a Jane Fonda “we need to stop making them mad” game plan?

Jonathan, the Jane Fonda thing is not what this is about. Her position was not what most local protestors held. It was most unfortunate that our returning service personell had to go through the rejections and public outcry encouraged by the likes of Jane Fonda.

If Libya, Iraq, Afghanastan, etc. were activiely attacking our nation militarily, you can bet your bottom dollar, I would support defense against their aggression. The facts however are that none of those nations have attacked us. The terrorists who perpetrated 9-11 were not sponsored by any identifiable nation's authority. They may well have had sympathizers in those nations, but the only credible backing is limited to Alqueda (spelling ?) and radical elements of the Muslim religious community. We have radical elements in the Christian religious community, are we then as, a nation, to be blamed for those radical positions?

Why are liberals (progressives) always so quick to point out the radical factions of Christianity when discussing our enemy (Islamist extremists) who has declared war on the United States with violent jihad and dawa? Yes, there are those who want to burn Korans and abortion clinics, but they are nowhere near in the same league as those who want to kill as many infidels as possible and establish an Islamic Caliphate in the United States with Sharia Law.

The fact is, Ken, that Libya and Gaddafi has attacked us. Have you forgotten about Pan Am 103, the German nightclub bombing in 1986 that killed 20 U.S. soldiers, and the 1981 assassination plot against Ronald Reagan that was thwarted? Iraq and Afghanistan were dirty and in bed with Islamic terrorists – providing safe haven and support (much more than sympathy) for our sworn enemy. Have you forgotten about Saddam Hussein’s assassination attempt on Bush 41 after Clinton took office? Isn’t all this enough aggression to justify a military response?

Never forget that terrorism and violent jihad can be just as deadly as a military campaign (i.e.; the 9/11 attack killed more that the Pearl Harbor attack)!

Why are liberals (progressives) always so quick to point out the radical factions of Christianity?

Because there are radical Christians! Hitler professed Christianity. Martin Luther professed Christianity, but the Catholic church called him a radical and a heretic. The Phelps clan here in Kansas call themselves Christian. Are they radical? Some of the right to life individuals and groups are radical. No? What do you call someone who determines they are absolutely right and therefore have God's permission, or even God's commandment, to deliver punishment to those who don't agree with them? We had a Doctor murdered here in Kansas while in Church on a Sunday morning. Was the person, who took the law into his own hands and sentenced and executed, a radical?

There are certainly radical fundamental Islamists. There are radical anarchists who oppose any central government. There are radical pacifists. Jonathan, there are radical ideas in every category you can think of. Why do you continue to call anyone who doesn't agree with your economic theories or religious doctrine a radical unbeliever and dismiss their opinions on everything?

Using 'radical' as an adjective, I'm a radical on some issues. So is Jonathan. Does that make us both radicals that nobody should give our opinions or positions on anything a chance to be discussed?

And, by the way, Saddam Hussein's assassination threat on Bush 41 wasn't physical or military aggression on the United States, and it wasn't the country of Iraq that made the threat. Ten or twelve years after somone threatens violence against you takes away the urgency of your justification for violently attacking them. Especially if you have no credible evidence that an actual attempt was made to carrry out that threat.

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