Self-criticism is very important if a political movement is not to become mired in some inaccurate dogma. Timothy Burke has an excellent post about the very weak political analysis that dominates much of the thought in the anti-war movement. This needs to be countered if the movement is not to become irrelevant. The “it’s all about oil” refrain is but the beginning: Burke gets at a much deeper problem: the simplistic conception of power held by many war opponants:

What really worries me … is that at least some antiwar activists I encounter seem to believe wholeheartedly in a conspiratorial interpretation of how the White House actually works on a day-to-day basis. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and other officials are depicted as always knowing what they want to have happen and always doing what exactly what they need to get what they want. Everything is a plan, everything is instrumental, everything goes according to script, and there is perfect unanimity between all parts of the administration. It all locks perfectly in place.

In a more scholarly context, I tend to characterize this view as “power always knows what it needs, and always does exactly what it should to satisfy its needs,” with the usual corollary being that if the powerful do not get what they want, it is because they were opposed. If you want a tremendously sophisticated and often interesting example of this way of thinking, Perry Anderson’s essay in the London Review of Books is a pretty good read. For Anderson, everything that is happening now is part of the same seamless design, even much of the opposition to the war. …

This is simply wrong as an empirical depiction of the ethnographic reality of power. …</blockquote>

Justin Raimondo’s discussion of protestor narcissim is also worth a read.