Anyone sick of seeing peace protesters in NYC?

So I’m walking around Manhattan today and I stumble into this peace protest marching up 17th street from Union Square.

Here’s my position on the subject:

  1. They certainly have a right to voice their opinion, but that does not mean they should.

  2. From the conversations I had with a few of them, their view of the world is ignorant, naive and simplistic. Of the few I spoke with, none had any ideas on how the current situation should be handled. IMO, one should provide alternatives instead of mere criticism.

  3. They are an insult to New Yorkers, especially the NYPD who must protect their right to free speech.

  4. If we are at war, their actions should be considered treasonous. Their protest marches provide footage for pro-Taliban/Osama propiganda that falsely portray America as being divided and only serve to attempt to weaken our efforts.

That’s about all I have so far.

msmith537 wrote:

Um … I’d hardly think a bunch of people saying, “We shouldn’t be dropping bombs on Afghanistan!” would qualify as giving Aid and Comfort to the Enemy, even if we were at war with them.

If these people are going to voice their disapproval for war, then IMO they have an obligation to tell us what we sould be doing instead.

If they can’t think of a feasible nonviolent solution, then they shouldn’t be surprised if America ignores their whining.

mssmith, sorry if this sounds rude, but what I’m really tired of is explaining again, and again, and again, and again, to Straight Dope posters such as yourself that many people who oppose war do have thoughts on what should be done in lieu of military action.

Isn’t there something in the Geneva convention against this sort of thing? :wink:

Seriously, I regret very much that the protesters you approached were unable to fill you in. But surely the same cannot be said for posters here.

(I apologize if you’ve been away for several weeks and haven’t noticed the 15 or so threads that have already been argued to the full on this very subject.)

Here is a very intelligent analysis of “A Just Response.” It is not precisely a purely pacifist position (as mine is not); but I think it represents part of what at least some peace protesters are thinking.

If they see what they consider an injustice, then not only should they voice their opinion, they have moral obligation to do so. Even if they are wrong.

I disagree with them, but I think it’s important that people speak up for their convictions, and not only when they happen to share the opinion of the majority.

How is it that so many people forget that this ability to protest is a big part of what makes America great?


Ok, let’s remember you said this.


Well I think I agree. On the other hand I really haven’t heard all that much from the peace camp. I know they’re out there but nobody seems to be paying them any mind.


Well, ok. I guess that’s a personal thing but I don’t think many of them are actually out to insult anyone. I suppose some of them are.


Treason? In #1 you said they had a right to voice their opinion. So why would you want them to go to jail for voicing their opinions? And you know they might use this as propaganda. But they also get to see that people in this country are allowed to disagree with the government.



Of course we are talking about a Constitutional liberty, which may be restated as people have every right to make damn fools of them selves.

That said, you would think that these people would at least have the common sense to set up someplace out of sight of very real evidence of the destruction of the WTC. I imagine that the NYPD may be having the devil’s own time keeping these people safe. There are two rational reactions to this sort of thing in this time and this place. One is to ignore them. The other is to throw rocks. You would hope that the police and the “ignore it” faction can keep the rock throwers under control.

The ones I saw and heard (not many but a few) have no ideas of their own to propose and seem very short sighted.
The reasons I’ve gotton is that killing is wrong, war is wrong - nothing relating to this issue, nothing related to the fact that we were attacked and suffered losses and are defending ourselves.

My WAG is that they just want to make a statement, any statement so they will get attention. Some really beleive that war is wrong no matter what.

Some day they will wake up, hit themselves on the head and say what the F#$@ was I thinking.

I’ve never really understood this. Why must it be so? To use a mundane example–you can think a movie’s poorly written without being able to write a better movie yourself, can’t you? Aren’t criticizing and providing alternatives two different things?

No, Gadarene. There is an implicit piece of advice in criticizing a bad movie: the reader (or viewer) is urged to see another movie instead of the one being reviewed.

In this case, the peace protestors mentioned in the OP apparently are saying “don’t do anything violent” without explicitly mentioning what we should do. The only inference we can draw from them is to do nothing, which is a course fraught with peril, as we’ve already seen.

While I am in favor of armed, forcible response, I second the comment made above by Mandelstam - not all peace protestors are merely mouthing “peace, peace” without substantive suggestions. Many people marching for peace wish only to avoid indiscriminate attacks; others believe economic and diplomatic sanctions will accomplish our goals as well - or better - than bombing, and still others eschew violence at any price – even at the price of their own lives.

I don’t share the latter two positions, but they are not without arguable merit.

  • Rick

I think that too many people have the self-serving opinion that you cannot voice that something is wrong without having better advice. Fuck that, if you think something is wrong you should say so, even if you don’t know what to do that would be a better response. For me personally, I would rather not see civilians killed in Afghanistan and the only solution to that that I have for you is “Don’t bomb civilians please”, I don’t have a ready solution on how to accomplish the goal without killing civilians, that doesn’t mean that someone better equipped and educated about the situation wouldn’t be able to come up with one.


I am so sick of seeing protestors in the streets disagreeing with me. It’s an embarassment to the police that have to protect their right to disagree with me.

A better example would be to berate a football coach from your armchair. You have the luxary of instant replay and hindsight while the coach has to make the decision with the pressure of 50000 people watching. The point is that it is always easy to criticize someone elses decision(like saying war is wrong). It’s much harder to suggest a course of action.

I agree. I was also under the impression that many of them were communists, anarchists, anti-Bush, anti-America, or had some other agenda. In any event, it seemed like most New Yorkers simply ignored them or muttered angry words under their breath.
MGibson - To address your comments. I don’t think government should be the ones to shut them up. And jailing people just for holding a minority viewpoint is also a bad idea. Maybe treason was too strong a word, but I do feel that such protests only serve to weaken our efforts. When I see video of a couple thousand Pakistanis or Afghans protesting America, I am left with an impression that they don’t want us there. I have no idea if they represent a majority or minority view. The same holds true for people who view Americans protesting in NYC. It gives our allies pause and gives our enemies the impression that we are a weak and divided nation.

The question is, what to do about it? At risk of criticizing without offering alternatives, I have to say that I don’t know. Maybe organizing a march in order to show support is the answer, as long as it can refrain from looking like a giant lynch mob out for justice.

…at the Gotham History Festival, right across the street from the Empire State Building. I was there for four hours after I knew what was happening and was scared but stayed right there.

The people who are protesting have every right to do it, I guess, and I have every right to ignore them and call them for the children they are. No, I take that back–children have a certain cold practicality when needed that these folks lack. But they’re so damn ill-informed, most of them, that they drive me nuts! Yeah, “Stop the racist war!” OK, who’s the race? Arabs? Afghans? Dark-skinned caucausians like bin Laden? Muslims? And there’s only gonna be lily-white soldiers and sailors on our ships and planes?

You have to wonder if these kids have ever seen soldiers or know anybody who is a soldier–they have the weirdest ideas about our armed forces and how they work. They seem to envision carpet bombings and My Lai’s everywhere our guys and gals in uniform intersect with the world.

And look, nobody’s saying America’s perfect. We have helped create some of these situations but we can’t control everything. You would think that the mujahadeen who came out from all over to drive out the Soviets would, after they drove out the Soviets, go home, you know, like soldiers do? But they stayed and kept fighting with each other. Sheesh, even General Lee retired.

But hey, let’s be consistent. I’m Irish-American so the UK can go screw itself if they take out Big Ben. Sierra Leoneans do nasty things to girls’ genitals and so do the Egyptians, so forget economic and food aid. Russia? Hey, when I was a little girl I was taught to hide under my desk if I heard a certain kind of alarm because you were trying to kill us all! And so forth.

Did you see Osama’s statement released today? This guy makes Milosevic look level-headed. Even if we do “get him to trial”, he won’t acknowledge the court’s jurisdiction because it isn’t Islamic. And even if it is he’ll say it isn’t Islamic enough.

What I see when I walk by Union Square Park is that, when I turn away from it, I can see the grave of five thousand or so people, and when I turn back towards the park, I see people who seem to have interest in getting justice for them. And that I can’t understand.

That should read:

I see people who seem to have no interest in getting justice for them.


Or some day you will wake up, hit yourself on the head and say what the fuck was I thinking killing my fellow man.

msmith537, I think your first 3 points nailed it. Free speech should vbe protected, but we have an equal free spech right to object. And, we have a moral obligation to raise our voices in opposition to messages that we disagree with.

I agree with your your point #4 if you mean their actions could be considered treasonous in conversation. There’s no problem using that term to describe their actions in those terms. OTOH if you meant that the actions are legally treasonous – deserving of a death penalty, then I would disagree.

I have trouble believing the sincerity of those who argue that free expression should be valued no matter how distasteful the message. Would you be equally supportive of a demonstration whose message was “kill the faggots and niggers!” I don’t think so. I sure wouldn’t.

Gee, do you really think that Osama will do that? And are you willing to gamble your city’s safety on it?

If you do, then just look at this lovely item I have for you! It was originally built in 1883 and connected two great cities…

How are they an insult to New Yorkers?

If you had a kid killed by a drunk driver and people were picketing for the cops to go easy on him because of his rights. You wouldn’t only be insulted, you would be outraged. Probably a poor analogy but I am still stunned that someone would have to ask that question.