Enter the Peace Party
At first it looked as though everything really had changed. Here, after all, was a President of the United States sending many thousands of troops halfway around the world to Saudi Arabia, and yet for more than two months there was nary a peep out of the old antiwar movement. In fact, the only protests that amounted to anything materialized not in the movement’s favorite venues, the campuses and the streets, but rather on the op-ed pages and the television talk shows, and these, to everyone’s amazement, emanated not from the Left but almost entirely from a number of born-again isolationists on the Right. Yet the new conservative isolationists were themselves isolated. Thus, even while the most strident of them, Patrick J. Buchanan, went on asserting in his syndicated column and on television that the American people were against George Bush’s decision to threaten force, let alone actually to use it, in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the polls were showing overwhelming popular support for the President.
Similarly with Congress, where opposition to the President, among Democrats no less than among Republicans, was so faint as to be inaudible. It was these extraordinary levels of support that explained what some commentators found so mysterious: that with nearly 200,000 American troops having just been dispatched to the Saudi Arabian desert where they were poised for battle against an even larger Iraqi army, scarcely a word was uttered against the President’s policy by any candidate running for office in the midterm election campaigns of 1990. Obviously politicians of both parties were convinced that the voters would turn against anyone who had anything critical to say about this wholly unexpected American intervention.
About the Author
Norman Podhoretz has been writing for COMMENTARY for 56 years.