Absolutely nothing! At least, according to a government hack.
AntiWar.Com is an anti-war site, obviously, started by libertarian Justin Raimondo to oppose U.S. military intervention in Iraq, Bosnia, and elsewhere. The site does an excellent job of covering U.S. interventions.
For that, government-subsidized hack Mark Pitcavage includes AntiWar.Com among his list of militia-related groups on his Militia Watchdog site. Mixed in with groups like the Army of God, which calls for the murder of abortion doctors, and the white supremacist Delta Rebel’s Reb is AntiWar.Com.
Why was AntiWar.Com added to this list of right wing extremists? The description of AntiWar.Com describes the site as “An unusual site, essentially an isolationist right-wing/libertarian site consciously designed to appeal to anti-war activists from the left as well. Particularly against any foreign involvement in Kosovo.”
Apparently, advocating an isolationist foreign policy (and it is unclear that AntiWar.Com is isolationist), is enough to lump an organization into the same category with folks who weave conspiracy theories about the United Nations and want to blow up abortion clinics.
Should any of this matter, though? Does anyone really care whether Mark Pitcavage thinks AntiWar.Com is representative of right-wing extremism? It just might, according to the Left-ish CounterPunch. CounterPunch editor Alexander Cockburn is one of the few prominent individuals on the Left willing to meet the libertarian AntiWar.Com halfway to work against U.S. intervention.
Writing for CounterPunch, Cletus Nelson (Antiwar.Com Meets the New McCarthyism) notes that Pitcavage is more than just a private individual with a web site — he is in fact directly involved in U.S. law enforcement. According to Nelson, Pitcavage is employed full time as a senior associate researcher with the Institute for Intergovernmental Relations which provides training services to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Pitcavage head the Institute’s State/Local Anti-Terrorism Training Program. Since 1997, the U.S. Justice Department has given the SLATT program in the neighborhood of $4 million.
As Nelson puts it,
Piss of Pitcavage and you could find yourself denounced on CNN as a terrorist. … The relationship between Pitcavage’s public and private roles poses the question whether his recent posting of Antiwar.Com on his personal web site was done to please his federal paymasters.
Or it could be more of a personal dispute. Pitcavage was featured in an article for the New York Times last September defending the government’s actions at WACO — of course nowhere in the article did the reporter bother to mention that Pitcavage receives his funding from a Department of Justice grant. (In his interview, Pitcavage actually laments about the movie Waco: Rules of Evidence, “They [McNulty and Hardy] deserve a little bit of credit. But you wish that someone else had discovered this stuff instead. These guys have ulterior motives.” Bizarre considering in Pitcavage’s world view, people who don’t buy the government’s story about Waco are right wing extremists.)
A third option is more likely — what scares people like Pitcavage to death is something that Nelson over looks. AntiWar.Com, as Pitcavage puts it, “appeal[s] to anti-war activists from the left as well.” This is the real danger. AntiWar.Com may be run by libertarians, but it strikes a blow against U.S. military intervention that is shared people across a broad range of the political spectrum. There is still resistance to Right-Left cooperation on issues. Alexander Cockburn has discussed some of the negative comments directed his way for his willingness to work with folks like AntiWar.Com, and similar attitudes exist on the Right.
But web sites like AntiWar.Com are breaking down those barriers. The rise of libertarianism also creates a lot more opportunities, as libertarians and the Left tend find a lot of common agreement on issues such as the drug war, military intervention, etc.
If I were a minion of the state, as Pitcavage is, I’d probably worry too about the effect that more coordination between Left and Right might have on deterring future U.S. intervention in places like Kosovo. God forbid an organized, persuasive critique of state power should threaten the positions of people such as Pitcavage.