Nothing is more wrenching than to see antiwar activists going back to Vietnam who now say they won’t protest Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians because their only duty is to protest the involvement of their own governments.
That is a profound betrayal of antiwar traditions with analogs going back to WWI when international antiwar forces first decisively ruptured over supporting their own governments in a war fought over the colonial division of the world among European powers & the US.
The anti-Vietnam War movement involved millions around the world in protest actions coordinated for the same day. Activists outside the US never considered it of no concern to them because their own countries weren’t bombing Vietnam. The same was true of Iraq & several other wars.
By such provincial logic as these veterans now so pitifully express, all solidarity with Palestine, Kashmir, the Rohingya, Bhopal, the Guarani & other indigenous peoples, Standing Rock Sioux, Roma, Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Dalits & other oppressed castes is now politically none of our business. They’re of no concern to us if they live somewhere else. The oppressed are on their own. If they’re being deported, shot at, occupied, bombed, disappeared, jailed, murdered, ethnically cleansed, what’s it to us if our government is not involved? They’re probably all “jihadists” anyway & we have bigger fish to fry. With that kind of thinking the war-makers have us just where they want us: with our heads stuck up their ass.
The oldest traditions of human civilization are based on social solidarity, on honoring the humanity of others. It’s expressed in religion, music, art, progressive political traditions. But now when they want to support Assad’s dictatorship & Syrian & Russian bombing of civilians, veteran antiwar activists are turning their backs on all that & talking provincial drivel.
Solidarity as the iron law of social transformation has not changed; the activists have gone sour or been confused by propagandists. They have time to come to their senses before they edge seamlessly into political affinity with the Kremlin & then eventually with the US Pentagon. There’s a long tradition to political degeneration too.