First things first: I opposed the bombing of Afghanistan and am against the planned attack on Iraq. I think President Bush and Prime Minister Blair should stop interfering in other states' affairs. And I'd like to see an end to war.
So why do I want nothing whatsoever to do with the modern antiwar movement?
Not a day passes without American or European newspaper coverage of an antiwar demonstration - whether it be mothers against war (Washington), or witches against war (London), or an actor sleeping in a cage with a pig for three days to better understand "why humans fight" (Belgium). Forget the antiwar lobby's complaints that the media are ignoring their protests: The coverage they get is disproportionate to their relatively small numbers.
But what is the antiwar movement actually saying?
Most of the new antiwar groups express an entirely personal opposition to war, one based more on moral revulsion than effective political opposition. Protesters voice a personal distaste for violent conflict, rather than organizing a collective stand against it. And when opposing war is about making pompous moral statements about me, myself, and I, you can count me out.
There is a distinctly personal bent to many of the antiwar groups that have emerged in the past year. Mothers Against War, founded in Washington in August, comprises worried moms who don't want their sons to be drafted into fighting a war. Gulf Veterans Against War wants to stop young American men going through what they experienced in 1991. Some of the relatives of the Sept. 11 victims have set up an antiwar campaign to express their personal disapproval of the war on terror.
Here in Britain, there are Lawyers Against War, Women Against War, Media Workers Against War - all of whom express a narrow, specific opposition to aspects of the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. These campaigns share an antiwar stance based more on personal experience and fear than on principle. Even the traditional, left-wing antiwar brigade has put the personal over the political, adopting the "Not In My Name" slogan as its cri de coeur against invading Iraq.