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No More Protests: 'Invisible' Wars Sap Dissent

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No More Protests: 'Invisible' Wars Sap Dissent
MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

What happened to the anti-war movement? As Todd Gitlin, writing at Salon, reminds, George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq drew millions of marchers to the streets of New York, London, Rome and other cities in 2003, in some of the biggest popular demonstrations in history. Then they disappeared. Today, even as the United States has launched new wars, no movement has risen in opposition. How come? Because our new wars are barely visible, says Gitlin, the fighting carried out by elite forces or drone commanders.(Where the combatants are rank-and-file enlisted men, they're probably from rural America, far from the country's centers of influence.) Also, a lot of yesterday's protestors are today more focused on finding (or keeping) a job. And then there's the widely-shared sense that the adversaries in our current wars (the Taliban, jihadists, Gaddhafi) aren't of a sort to raise moral qualms; they're bad guys, period. All in all, "any revulsion by well-informed citizens [against military operations] is counterbalanced by popular satisfaction at their successes, by their virtual invisibility, and the unpleasantness of their intended targets," Gitlin writes. "These are not recipes for popular commotion – let alone opposition."

'Where have all the war protesters gone?' [Todd Gitlin, Salon]

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