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Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children.

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Irish Elk
Friday, August 30, 2002  
Sadaamites: Queer Logic in the Fifth Column

Can't someone revoke this man's passport?

In Iraq, prostitutes have been beheaded by sword, their heads left on their doorsteps as grim warning. Slander of Sadaam is punished by cutting out the offending tongue. Defacing a poster of Sadaam brings a bullet. Chemical weapons have been used for practice on the Kurds.

How do members of the group Voices in the Wilderness propose to help these Iraqi civilians? By supporting US efforts to oust Sadaam?

No – by seeking to undermine US action against the despotic regime, through the sending of "peace teams" to Iraq to sing Kumbaya when the daisy-cutters begin to fall.

This is the same chorus that doggedly lamented the horrors visited by US bombers on Afghan civilians – even as the citizens of free Kabul threw off burqas, played music and sang the praises of the Americans who had liberated them. The same logic might have been used to protest the Allied Invasion of Europe, due to the potentially deleterious effects on the Belgian peasantry.

So how's this for a travel brochure for footsoldiers in the Ramsey Clark Fifth Column?

Voices in the Wilderness is looking for individuals who are interested in going to Iraq in the event of a major US assault…[A]pplicants should plan on an indefinite stay as there is no guarantee that roads leading in or out of the country will be easily navigated in the event of an assault or invasion.

We realize that we are asking a lot of people. Team members will be asked to clear their schedules indefinitely, potentially risk their lives in a war zone, pay their own way, and beforehand, inform us about your support network and send references!

Please understand that our most important task, presently, is to prevent a military attack against Iraq. The Iraq Peace Team is much more than a nonviolent presence inside Iraq. There is much work to be done here at home, before and if necessary, during a war. We are encouraging people to form affinity groups in their communities to work creatively and nonviolently against the pending war and to be prepared to act in solidarity with the group in Iraq if a war break out. This would mean distributing reports from the group to representatives and the media, holding vigils, fasts, and rallies. These are just a few of the possibilities. A “Pledge of Resistance” against a US assault against Iraq is being developed, and once it is finished, it will be posted on this site.

"Fifth Column," in this case, is not a term of exaggeration. (Neither is "lunatics." The urge to seek out an active war zone as a site for Berkeley-style leftist candlelight vigils calls to mind an acid comment of the late George Wallace: "Any anarchist scum who lies down in front of our car when we get to be president, it'll be the last car he'll ever lie down in front of." Same goes for an AC-130 gunship, only more so.)

Meantime, in Berkeley, the group Queers Undermining Israeli Tyranny, or QUIT!, protested the treatment of Palestinians by laying siege to Starbucks.

Their street theatrics would win points for creativity if parody were all:

Workers in the café were surprisingly unruffled as the Queer Defense Forces entered the café and announced over a loudspeaker that the land had been confiscated by the Queer National Fund and curfew for straights would begin in five minutes. Several “patrons” were forcibly ejected from the café by means of SuperSoakers (which were especially popular with a three-year-old settler). Many coffee drinkers quickly cleared out, but one group of chess players steadfastly ignored the group, who vow to set up more settlements in the coming months.

But when you consider the cause being advanced – a cause that lynches women, warps children and celebrates mass murder – the satire doesn't seem quite so funny.

And when you go on to consider the brutality with which Islamists actually treat gays, while Israel is the only country in the Middle East to uphold homosexuals' rights, the whole thing defies credulity.

By what bizarre moral calculus do bohemian eccentrics of the Left protest societies that protect and tolerate their dissent, in the name of strong-arm political movements that would silence them instantly by sword or Kalashnikov?


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