As the bombardment of Kosovo continued, the Internet hummed with anti-war activity. E-mails flew far and wide. And, like guerrilla soldiers, Web sites of varying quality emerged from the undergrowth.
Antiwar.com, a thoughtful, well-organized site, has been around for awhile, but, according to the site's creators, it is "fast evolving into what is in effect an online magazine and research tool designed to keep the American people informed about the U.S.-NATO military onslaught against the people of Serbia."
One morning a few days ago, I caught up with the site's webmaster, Eric Garris, 45, at his home in Sunnyvale, Calif. He was getting ready to go to his day job at NurseWeek magazine, a biweekly publication for nurses. "What we've found," Garris said by phone, "is that even though there are so many anti-war information sources, much of it is not comprehensive. Major media is not covering a lot of viewpoints."
He said his site (www.antiwar.com) has been successful at disseminating dissenting information. "We've gotten letters from people who say we've changed their minds," Garris said.
Other things have shifted, too, Garris said. "The anti-war movement has now changed shapes. I was a draft resister during the Vietnam war. I was obviously a leftist." Now he sees much of the left abandoning its anti-military stance and being in favor of this war. "And I see many people on the right sounding like the anti-war activists of the '60s and '70s. I'm now a Republican."
Asked if he's against all wars, Garris replied that he's against U.S. intervention. "We have enough concerns at home to take care of."
Less than a year old, the unwieldy Protest.Net (www.protest.net) already has its hands full keeping track of more than 2,500 "leftist and progressive" protests, meetings and conferences around the globe. The site hopes to provide calendars of all events so organizers won't be tripping all over each other. The result is a hodgepodge of notices about a dog-track protest at the Daytona Speedway, an anti-nuclear rally in Australia and the controversial case of journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal who has been sentenced to death in Pennsylvania for killing a police officer in 1981. Oh yeah, there is also some news about protests of the U.S. policy in the Balkans and in Iraq.
The Nonviolence Web (www.nonviolence.org), which is updated a couple of times a month, handles its many issues, including a stalwart anti-war stance, with aplomb. This is a gathering spot for a passel of peace groups -- religious and secular. In a series of issues pages, the creators of the Web site explain their stances on military activity (it is unnecessary), wealth (not all bad) and taxes (some may be resistible).
One page is devoted to the demands of the New York-based Fellowship for Reconciliation. The group wants Europe to open its borders "to refugees, war victims and deserters, and to offer them shelter and political protection." It also demands, among other things, "immediate cessation of military and paramilitary activities in Kosovo and Yugoslavia." Nowhere, however, does it mention the three American soldiers being held by the Serbian government.