Up in arms

Letters to the Boston editor, April 6, 2007

Adam Reilly’s article “Self-Inflicted Wounds” was one of the best I’ve read in a while regarding the anti-war movement.

When you mix a bunch of baby-boomer hippies with punks wearing gas masks and flipping the bird, it reveals a fundamental clash of ideology. This creates a schism within the “unified front” and paints the generations of the Vietnam and Iraq wars in stark contrast. It’s Woodstock tears and rain meets Woodstock ’99 tear gas and fire, and the result is a diluted and unclear message.

After witnessing a rally in New York last year, I was left feeling utterly confused by the lack of a centralized message. The cry against the war was diluted by small factions among the protesters lobbying for what they perceived as related causes. Whether it was Puerto Ricans yearning for statehood, FREE HAITI signs, or a cleverly Photoshopped picture of the Bushes in Nazi uniforms, it seemed as if the masses were using the protest as an opportunity to express whatever cry for liberation or anger at government officials they desired.

The cops don’t care, the White House doesn’t care, and parents aren’t telling their children to support the war, because they’ve been here before in the ’60s. To top it all off, the lack of resistance at the government and police levels makes the movement un-cool.

I have friends that after a couple of beers will yap against the war until the sun comes up, but would never set foot in a protest, and not because they are afraid to wear their cause on their sleeves. They don’t need to strap on a pair of camo shorts and hold a NO BLOOD FOR OIL sign to make their point. This is a new America in which communicating your message, whatever it is that you’re selling, can be done so easily that such extreme acts come off as silly, over-zealous cries for individual attention.

Tom Jewett

Reporter Adam Reilly missed the forest for the trees in his memo to the anti-war movement. The crucial issue at the March 24 anti-war rally was the vote in the House that continued to fund the war.

The mainstream media covered the House vote as if the politicians had done something to stand up to Bush-administration priorities. In fact, the legislation allows Bush waivers for “certifications of progress,” among other flaws. Mr. Reilly omitted this issue entirely in his coverage of the anti-war movement.

Mr. Reilly also omitted the voices of Veterans for Peace. Many VFP members are Vietnam veterans. You don’t need Jane Fonda to make the link between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War peace movements; just talk to the vets.

A lot of people are getting killed in Iraq while our politicians dither or hold their fingers up to determine the prevailing wind. Tens of thousands of US soldiers and millions of Indochinese died during the years between the shift in the public’s opinion against the war in Vietnam and the actual end of the war. It’s a cautionary tale that today’s anti-war movement is very aware of.

Thea Paneth
Member, United For Justice With Peace

‘Hot Dots’ goes cold
Dear Clif Garboden,

It was with great dismay I read that you will no longer be dazzling us with your “Hot Dots.” I could always count on you/them for some hoots and chuckles (your warnings about the PBS “Viewer Favorites” especially made me laugh, although bitterly), and have always valued your pointing me in the right direction — to programming either to avoid at all costs or to view if at all possible. Thank you for your years of TV guidance. I’m sure I echo multitudes when I say I’ll miss you very much.

A Sorrowful Victoria Macy

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