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How the Post-9/11 Antiwar Movement Was Erased From History


How the Post-9/11 Antiwar Movement Was Erased From History

Tom Engelhardt

Who even remembers the moment in mid-February 2003, almost 13 years ago, when millions of people across this country and the planet turned out in an antiwar moment unique in history? It was aimed at stopping a conflict that had yet to begin. Those demonstrators, myself included, were trying to put pressure on the administration of George W. Bush not to do what its top officials so visibly, desperately wanted to do: invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, garrison it for decades to come, and turn that country into an American gas station. None of us were seers.


Note to all writers:

Please quit referring to perverted US corporate execs as leaders. They may tell cowardly murdering politicians and generals what to do but they are not leaders.

Thank you,



The antiwar movement has been erased from history because there is a Democrat in the WH. Antiwar demonstrators should be more consistent. There were so many demonstrations against the Iraq War when Bush was POTUS. Now that Obama is POTUS, there were hardly any demonstrations against the war in Libya, the war against ISIS & the Continuation of Bush's war in Afghanistan.


Just remember folks, Bernie Sanders has promised to continue the insidious drone-killing program and to smash ISIS. He supports the Bible-based Israeli Aparteid State. These things, and others, tell us that we should expect Sanders to continue the War on Terror full throttle.

It is a systemic failure of the so-called progressive media that no one is calling him out on this, and it is shameful that so many so-called progressives are willing to hold their nose and support yet another imperialist war-monger on the basis of his lovey-dovey faux-socialist message.

Obama was the 3rd & 4th terms of the Bush Administration. Sanders will the be the 3rd & 4th terms of the Obama Administration.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.


Lot of people in the US remember the protest, and remember the New York Times massively shrinking the NYC total turnout--Fox skipped reporting on it entirely.

Hillary's clearly forgotten, it's part of that "It was a mistake, [my vote for the Iraq war]" excuse. Here's a good list of lies used to justify Hillary's "mistake", but the lies sure apply to others too:



The genius of Obama is that he & his administration made Permanent War sexy for liberals and progressives. They normalized war and brutality to the point where this year's sparkle-pony, Bernie Sanders, doesn't even have to pretend that he might try to scale back the War on Terror, so he promises to smash ISIS & to keep the drones killing.


But with Sanders the Imperfect at least we get half a loaf. Some action on climate change, better regulation of Wall Street and the banking system, improved taxation of the super rich and so on. With the Repugnants and Clinton, we get none of the loaf.


No, one I know thinks Libya, Syria, drone strikes, Yemen, etc "sexy"--or even a good idea.

Now, I really don't spend a lot of time talking to corporatist democrats like Hillary Clinton.


Do you really expect Sanders to say "Israel doesn't have a right to exist"?

There are several ways of "smashing ISIS" that don't really involve arms.

The problem is that you look to be saying "just vote Hillary".

Of those who could win election, Obama was still the better choice in 2008 and 2012, and not voting in a swing state, I voted against him both times. Obama was also a better choice for the nomination than Hillary.


When me and millions of other people like me protested the bogus invasion of Iraq in 2003 and it did no good to even delay the shocking, awful, illegal invasion of Iraq because of a pack of lies that Saddam had WMD's, that was when I realized America was a military dictatorship.

Bush, Cheney and the rest of the cabal of war criminals were right about one thing though; Saddam had WMD's but they were not bombs, they were that he was not our thug anymore and was a perceived threat to the hegemony and hubris of the .01%


Did flapdoodle call for Sanders to say "Israel doesn't have a right to exist"? I don't see that anywhere. I find flapdoodle's dismissal of any positive movement in Sanders to be mistaken, but I also find your characterization of hir (flap's preferred pronoun is unknown to me) criticism of Sanders' support for, in flap's words, "the Bible-based Israeli Apart[h]eid State" (is that not a fair characterization of current Israeli government policy?) to implicitly argue against a U.S. presidential candidate's daring to question Israel for its Apartheid-like policies. Is there any good reason for the U.S. presidential contest to contain basically no debate about the U.S.'s number one military aid dependent--a nation that explicitly discriminates on the basis of religion and that has engaged in illegal military occupation for decades? Is it right for U.S. people to try to silence any debate about such policy on the grounds that it would threaten a politician's electoral prospects? Is that what U.S. "democracy" has come to--a necessity, in order to even enter the game, to be silent about the tremendous suffering experienced by some people (Palestinians, in this case) in order to potentially relieve other people's suffering (those who would likely benefit from Sanders' economic policies, for example)? I want to support reducing the suffering of all people, and I know one must start somewhere, and this is the task of many lifetimes. But I think we should never actively try to silence debate that can relieve suffering--no matter what political calculations such a strategy of silence might supposedly support. Just because Sanders' words and position on Israel are deadly wrong in significant ways, in my view, doesn't mean I have to not vote for him--but it also means I will not let that stop me from criticizing his wrong positions, and, in fact, I call for all "progressives" to liberate yourselves from any self-imposed silence about suffering.


If we want an antiwar movement, the media will first have to release to the FOX News public the facts of 9/11.
Since that is not going to happen, the antiwar movement is almost completely ineffective, and will remain so until the whole country knows the truth of that day.
Then there will be an antiwar outcry with some potency, but not before.


Yours is the best post yet. You are 100% correct, sir.


Do you have a point to this? I mean if we don't vote for Sanders then who should we vote for? Hillary and any of the repubs are far more aggressive and militaristic. There are only those candidates and saying vote for Stein or someone else is a cop out and defacto support for one of the mainstream candidates so don't pretend that it is somehow more principled because it doesn't accomplish anything in the real world.

Sanders wants to get us out of the middle east. He advocates peace and a two state solution for Palestine whereas Hillary rubber stamps anything and everything including settlements. A big difference there.

Sanders opposes the war machine oligarchy that profits from war. He wants to reduce the military budget and I believe will reduce the size and bloat of our military. I believe Sanders offers more than simplistic wishful thinking in the middle east and hope that he will have the chance to change the things that republican neocon cynicism and savagery set into motion.

Peace is the endgame and it takes time to make happen.


True. Sadly, 14 1/2 years later, most Americans still don't realize it.


The PTB knew a black guy in the Oval Office would defuse the (so-called) Left, and they were right.


The cause of the collapse and obliteration of the anti-war movement is pretty easy to discern - and fully predicted by many of us in the 2008-2009 "community of the banned" :sunglasses: right here. It was the election of Obama (any Democrat, black or white, would have done) and with it the total disappearance of the liberals from the anti war movement. Liberals are only opposed to US imperialism and barbarism when it is led by a Republican president, you see.

The most disgusting and egregious case of this was the "United for Peace and Justice" (UFPJ) which, presumably on order of the Democrat Party apparatchiks, closed their doors on January 21, 2009.

The Trots Maoists at International ANSWER, to their credit at least held a couple demonstrations the year after Obama's swearing-in. Attendance was poor. There were also a couple well-attended DC demonstrations against Israel's Gaza barbarism. But these demonstrations were 90% middle easterners and Muslims - almost no white liberals to be seen at them. Our local, white, liberal "Peace and Justice Center" initially refused to organize a bus or vans to the last Gaza demonstration - only doing so belatedly if their name was not associated with it.

As someone who poured my passions into anti-war activities starting in afternoon of September 11, 2001, and culminating on that bitter cold day in New York on February 15, 2003, and the Pittsburgh evening of March 20, 2003. The whole thing has left me pretty bitter. UFPJ and all the other useless liberals can go to hell.


I agree that the fairy tale of 9/11 is the elephant in the room and until the people behind this heinous act that murdered in cold blood, 3,000 of our fellow citizens, are indicted for this egregious crime..nothing will ever change. What is needed is a massive anti 9/11 movement where the perpetrators and traitors are brought to justice.


Hi Shantiananda,
I also was one of those protesters--in Chicago at the time. We closed down Lake Shore Drive with a march that grew so quickly it surprised me. More than 5,000, yet the news said it was somewhere between 1500 and 2000. At first, I thought all the cops at the scene were there to "escort" us safely. I still had hope that our country was on our side. I believed that the police were for the people. Ha! That was the day my hope was crushed. It shocked me. It happened in stages. First, cops on horesback started herding the protesters into the park by the old water tower. Then buses began showing up, then cops in full riot gear began marching toward us--shields raised and batons out. The sudden shift to violence against protesters was heart-crushing to me. I watched leaders of the protest get cuffed with those nasty white plastic things....a couple of them got hit with police batons, and I almost ended up getting arrested and put on one of those buses, except for a weird fluke of circumstance.

That day, my spirit was crushed. I lost belief in our democracy. I too, realized that we lived in a police state. The corporatized government was in bed with the military industrial complex, and we were the losers. From then on, I have watched as we slip further into fascism.

The Obama presidency held a small glimmer of hope, but when he started appointing neo-cons to his cabinet--that did it for me. Now, I'm watching Sanders. He sounds a lot like Dennis Kucinich did, except that Sanders doesn't speak out against war. Is this just another PR glitz--to keep the people placated? I don't know. And I for one, do believe that 9-11 was an inside job. Of course it was! How could it not be? It led right to all the outcomes that the neo-con cabal wanted. We have been duped. We are living in the fumes of democracy and fight, constantly, against our own best interests, over dumb issues.

Hope? Do we dare still have it?


Yes. Because after the crimes of Israel, the US bases in land of the Holy Shrine (Saudi Arabia), and a low-level war and sanctions that killed half a million Iraqi Children from since 1991, Arab Muslims would not have possibly had any bitterness toward the USA such that some of the more violent-minded of them organized an action against it on Sept. 11, 2001.

No. It HAD to have instead been "The Government" itself that through a weird overly-complex to the point of impossibility plot to destroy it own key facilities and symbols of its own economic and military might.