A Pernicious Peace Movement

“I believe the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

presents the greatest threat that the world has ever known.”

Bill Cohen, at his 1997 confirmation hearings to be

Clinton’s Defense Department Secretary

Like that long-ago ride on the back of her home-town bad boy’s motorcycle, I can imagine how Susan Sarandon may have gotten a little nostalgic thrill out of getting up close and personal with the bad boys at the World Workers Party and the United For Peace and Justice group, who hide behind a front organization called ANSWER but are groups of unreconstructed Stalinists whose websites openly support regimes like North Korea and Cuba and are underwriters of her star-studded “Not In Our Name” petition. Susan’s movie-industry anti-war comrade, Allen Michaan (subsequently referred to here as Al), is the owner of Oakland’s landmark, Grand Lake Theater, where his marquee’s message, No War for Oil, in effect, made the accusation that President Bush is a plunderer, bent on waging this war, not to take the battle to our enemies who conspire to kill us, but presumably to enrich a cabal of his oil company cronies. After our interview, I still support Al’s right to post his hardball message. And I trust he would support my right to respond in kind, that is with the verbal gloves off, by stating my view that his message serves little but to disparage the country and thereby further undermines Oakland’s rapidly fraying social fabric where the youth are rushing to a different war, tragically killing one another at an alarming rate.

Grand Lake

A call to arms…for the other side

Given his marquee’s prominent visibility, I suspected that the author of the message would likely be a representative spokesman for the anti-Bush wing of the peace movement, the four main factions of which, as I see it, are (1) the hard-core, anti-American Communists like ANSWER, (2) the quasi socialists and the duped who live in a collectivist fantasy land and who, like Jimmy Carter, think we can negotiate with genocidal thuggish dictators (3) the congenital pacifists who think freedom is free and (4) the Bush haters and visceral opponents of all things conservative, like Al). Thinking that Al’s thoughts and words might well discredit him, I walked into the theater, got the owner’s name and phone number, called, and, because I sold Al on the idea that my objective was to do a story about the history of his theater, secured an appointment. This was subterfuge, I admit. And I allow that I do carry some considerable right-wing baggage so much so that shortly after 9/11, I actually felt pride and patriotism, not to mention the feeling that my friends and family were a good deal safer, as I watched the real-time satellite feed of smart munitions raining down on the Taliban positions sending them scurrying from their shattered medieval strongholds to their stone age mountain redoubts.

Allan Michaan
Allan Michaan, Grand Lake Theater owner and shill for the
 worldwide terror network

The following day, when I arrived at my appointment, I noted a small irony, in that Al’s offices are located in one of the buildings that comprised the former Naval Air Station on Alameda, buildings once used by a military that continues to guarantee his freedom. Once seated and pleasantries exchanged, I asked about his background, the theater’s history, etc. and learned that it was built in 1920, in the grand style of the movie palaces popular in the period. He bought it after owning a theater somewhere in Berkeley and has done a very nice job restoring it to its original grandeur. Okay, now that that’s out of the way, what follows is the abbreviated recap of our interview, the portion of which gives us a window into Al’s worldview that has at its center, the illegitimate president, George Bush the Plunderer. Most of my responses to his points are shown below in parenthesis and are those that I left unvoiced but they are intended to show how Al’s partisan rage has rendered him blind to easily established facts as well as to the reality that he is also a tool of both our adversaries like France and Syria as well as our mortal enemies. I’m summarizing because Al repeated himself a lot.

RW (Right Winger): “ Regarding your marquee’s message – “No War for Oil,” can you elaborate on the message you’re trying to communicate to the residents of Oakland? And why do you feel that the entertainment industry is, to such a large degree, against this war?”

AL: After a pause and then with deliberation, “The first message I posted to my marquee was one I put up on the day after the Supreme Court stopped the counting of votes. You might remember, back in early 2000 it read, This is America, Every Vote Should be Counted. I was so outraged. My wife told me I had to do something. And as far as the movie industry is concerned, although I can’t speak for others, I think there is a very strong feeling within the entertainment community that this is a an illegitimate Bush Administration…I don’t believe it was honestly elected. I don’t believe the Supreme Court had the constitutional authority to do what it did.”


(Oh come on, Al. As to who tried to steal the election, wasn’t it Gore who appealed to the Florida Supreme Court the recount that he had already lost and in a breathtaking display of disgraceful symmetry, hired as his consigliore, the son of Mayor Richard Daley, the late dean of Democrat election fraud? By the way, in what world is it lawful to change the election laws after the election, in this case, so that the counters in Democrat districts could continue to mishandle and disqualify ballots? And you do remember that it was a Gore operative, Mark Herron, who sent the memo instructing the Democrat districts how to throw out the military ballots?)…

RW: “Well, getting back to the oil, how is this going to be a war for oil?”

AL: “Let’s put it this way, this is an administration run by the corporate interests that put them in power”… (Boy, what an original thesis) “From the very start, they were never interested in the arguments, what the U.N. said, what the world community said. They were going to take Hussein out.”…(Wrong, Al. Regime change in Iraq became the plan several months after 9/11.)…

RW: “But consider that we caused the collapse of Soviet Union and freed Kuwait, both at considerable cost, both with large oil reserves, and yet we didn’t take their oil from them. How, in your mind, will oil be confiscated from Iraq this time?”

AL: “I think we have a very different administration. They’ve been emboldened by fixing the election. That was just the start. And now look where we’ve gone from there. There was a wonderful editorial in the paper this morning…(Al was referring to a Molly Ivans editorial entitled, W’s Double Speak)…where the writer brings up all the things Bush promised in his campaign and has done just the opposite, like education and variety of other things. He basically came in and everything he’s done has been a lie.”

Al then went into a rather incoherent rant which I didn’t listen to entirely, but that was about all the Bush Homeland Security giveaways to companies that “they were sleeping with” like Haliburton and that were setting up shop in the Cayman islands with p.o. boxes so as to avoid taxes.

RW: I dropped on his desk a large front-page photo that had appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, run on November 14, 2001, depicting an overjoyed throng of Afghan boys and men streaming out of the primitive earthwork buildings of Kabul to greet the Northern Alliance liberators, and asked, “Were you surprised at the reaction to…”

AL: “No I wasn’t,” he said, interrupting me with a dismissive petulant air while handing back my newspaper. “But what about the follow-up? That very same article I was telling you about, the writer talks about how we’ve not lived up to our promise to help create a structured government, an education system, a better life for the people and that basically Kabul now is an armed camp and warlords outside have split up the country…(Here Al, like so many of his ilk, is giving voice to the to the belief that the U.S. taxpayer is a limitless resource to be tapped. No domestic or international outlays will ever be enough, certainly not in a Republican administration. And further, if you follow this line of reasoning to its logical end, the best way for the third world nations to get the U.S. to modernize their entire infrastructures, including I suppose, the installation of indoor plumbing in each household, is to attack the U.S. and kill a lot more than just a token amount of people, two or three thousand at least.)…

He went on, “And the article I was just mentioning quotes many Afghan women who say that life was better under the Taliban!”…(Ah right, Al. Did you hear about or see the snuff film that was spirited out of Kabul? It was shot in what was formerly a soccer stadium but instead was being used for mock trials and summary executions of women accused of infidelity. The veiled women kneels, all men in the stands jeer, poof, her brains are spattered on the dusty ground.)…

RW: “In the paper was a letter endorsing President Bush’s mission to disarm Iraq by force if necessary that was signed by the prime ministers of Spain, England, Poland, Portugal, Denmark, Czech Republic and eight other east European countries. Why would you say that they don’t see this as war to capture oil for U.S. corporate interests?”

AL: “I won’t even comment on that,” he said after a longer pause. But then quickly added, “They could be making these statements for oil promises, OKAY!”…(In addition to the 35 nations who are openly supporting the war, George Will points out that nine, mostly Arab nations have secretly agreed to provide bases while publicly voicing opposition.)

RW: “You’re familiar with Todd Beamer whose family is from Pleasanton and whose last words (before he and others took back control of the airplane from the terrorists) were Let’s Roll! What would you say to someone whose son or brother might be in Iraq now and who would read your message and think that it says to the world’s terrorists – “Let’s Roll Over?”

AL: “After a very long pause and without anger but with a palpable fear rising in his voice, “ I’m saying the risk is the creation of more terrorists, more attacks, more death, all over the world, by acting unilaterally, by ignoring world opinion and invoking, over and over, God which is such a slap in the face to the Muslim World what we will see is a tit-for-tat terrorism all over the world…Too many world leaders are against us including the rest of the Arab nations. What if you create a problem 100 times worse? I question the Bush administration’s motives and it’s wisdom…I don’t know what the right approach is. I’m not the president.”

…(Al, thank God neither you nor Al Gore are president. What if FDR had looked at the world map in 1942 and, seeing the newly conquered empires in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Far East then controlled by the Axis powers, and decided he’d better make his separate peace? Cowardly isolation, Al, won’t protect us anyway. Bin Laden has told Al Jazeera interviewers that our retreat from Somalia was proof that we would cave and was the thing that emboldened him and his followers.

Of course we can’t know what a President Al Gore would have done in the wake of 9/11 or in the face of French, German and U.N. perfidy but we can look to his past stated positions and shudder. In his book, Earth in the balance, he actually wrote that, unlike nuclear weapons proliferation, the combustion engine was the greatest threat to mankind. But examples abound…President Clinton signed, in his final days, the International Criminal Court treaty. Bush rescinded it before Congress could even vote on it. This moved Gore to attack “our new cowboy unilateralism.” Bush went a step further and signed the American Service-members Protection Act that shields our troops from the ICC. Can you imagine the absurdity of our empowering some group of pro U.N., anti-Americans in The Hague that could indict President Bush for war crimes? Unfortunately for the “middle-way” Tony Blair, Britain is a signatory and Kofi Anan has made subtle threats.)…

Shortly before the outbreak of war, Al changed his message on his marquee to read Honor our troops, bring them home – PEACE IS PATRIOTIC. I’m only speculating, but perhaps because his previous message was having a negative impact on ticket sales, Al now feels the need to convince us of his patriotism. But based on our interview, I’d say it’s obvious his antiwar stance has nothing to do with love of country and certainly not the security of the country. From high level defectors and other intelligence sources, we know Hussein still has Chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs. The incessant mantra we’ve heard from the various antiwar factions and Democrat party luminaries, that maintains that there is no hard evidence that he supports terrorists is utterly false because we already know that Hussein is one of its prime patrons and has two massive facilities, Salman Pak and Lake Tharthar, where terrorists from around the world come to train. The consummate hypocrite, Al posted no antiwar messages on his marquee when Clinton ordered the bombing of Serbia, killing 2,000 innocent Serbians or when he launched hundreds of cruise missiles at Baghdad.

What we’re watching is not just a war but is a gigantic rescue mission. Human Rights Watch has estimated that 250,000 Iraqi’s have been arrested by this regime and are missing and it officially registers Hussein guilty of genocide. Generated by partisan hatred, Al’s message, callously disregards the horrific ongoing loss of Iraqi life, is a pernicious attack on the current occupant of the White House, and finally is seditious because it results in turning at-risk young minds against the country and provides aid and comfort to a genocidal tyrant, as well as other assorted enemies, foreign and domestic.

By | 2017-02-28T07:31:35-08:00 March 31st, 2003|Islam and the West|Comments Off on A Pernicious Peace Movement

About the Author:

Larry Kelley’s life was utterly changed by 9/11. On the day after the attacks, on his way to work, he was struck by the sudden realization that World War III had commenced. Like most Americans he desperately wanted to find out who were these people who attacked us, what could ordinary citizens do to join the battle and how can those plotting to kill us in future attacks be defeated. Mr. Kelley has written scores of columns on the dangers of western complacency.