Modern Peacenicks Despise America, Not War



Originally published in the Jasper Herald

They are upon us again like a contagion, permanently engraved in American society since the Vietnam war: The appeasers, the pacifists, the hand-wringers, the root-causers, and mainly, those that in general just despise the. United States - the remnant of the hard-core left, borne of the Sixties, that only further discredits itself with this latest round. We have seen them of late, since Seattle, appearing at any WTO, IMF, or G-7 meeting they can find, eager to disrupt the forces of "globalization," or "capitalism" (interpret as "American"), but now presented with even better material - as the U.S. goes to war....

Consider the enigma: More than 6,000 Americans lay dead beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center, the innocent victims of a terrorist attack, victims of an enemy that have pursued us now in a series of deadly assaults for more than two decades - in Lebanon, in Saudi Arabia, in Somalia, in Kenya, in Tanzania, in Yemen (the USS Cole), and now in New York. More Americans died-in a single day on American soil in this latest atrocity than have died in any battle since the Civil War, far more than the 2,400 who perished at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Yet, in the face of mass murder, there are those who would vehemently oppose U.S. efforts to protect itself. One wonders precisely. what would be sufficient to arouse the sympathies of the anti-war class? When enemy tanks are rumbling down Fifth Avenue? A death count of 60,000? Or 600,000?

We have always had our pacifists and anti-war types. There were Tories during the Revolution, Copperheads in the Civil War, even in World War n, there may have been an occasional pacifist. But since Vietnam, we have seen a different breed of protester. Former pacifists, and perhaps some today, may have been prompted by a moral or religious conviction against war. Some may have even served their country in the armed services in non-military vocations, believing in the justice of her cause, but unable to take up arms. Their animus, however,, was not directed against the United States.

Today's protesters, though, are different.. They draw their inspiration from the jinti-Americanism spawned in the Sixties, and what stirs their animal spirits may or may not be an aversion to war (it depends who's waging it), but a deep and abiding hatred of the United States. They despise American capitalism and prosperity, deplore American pre-eminence. They particularly loathe American patriotism (in fairly short supply before Sept. 11, but now flourishing), for in their view such sentiments are inconceivable, a sure sign of moral and intellectual inferiority They hold America accountable for the world's ills, view the United States as the ultimate source of evil. In the face of an unprecedented terrorist attack, they perceive evidence of American"' perniciousness - summed up in the words, of one Rutgers professor: "...whatever its proximate cause, its ultimate cause is the fascism of U.S. policy over the past many decades...."

No, they are a different sort, these "Americans" who see'America as the enemy They dwell in their Utopian fantasies of worker paradises, and behold goodness and purity everywhere but here, including in any number of Third World dictatorships.

But it is their continued delusional propensity to blame the U.S. for this latest atrocity that exposes finally and irrevocably the bankruptcy of their ideologj', their demented and vile knack of discerning moral equivalency between the terrorist attack and Bush's declaration of war that erases what little credibility they may have had, even among those of the liberal-left coalition. Yet, in spite of themselves, the nation they scorn will protect them. They can still proclaim their rancorous beliefs on the TV talk shows and in the halls of the Academy, publish their unapologetic diatribes in the pages of the Nation, Schedule field trips to Havana, and, of course, their forte, organize demonstrations on the streets of Amerika.

True pacifists, possessed of a bonafide love of. peace and a moral impetus against war - and not animated by blind hatred of the United States - although well inten-tioned, are also misguided.... For there is such a thing as a just war. The war against Hitler and Tojo was such a war, as was the war against communist aggression. And, as President Bush has said, we are at war now - and it, too, is just. A nation must defend itself, protect its citizens, and retaliate when attacked; to destroy, in this case, the operatives and networks who would launch so hideous an assault against innocents, and to confront the countries that would harbor them.

Peace-lovers may feel they occupy the moral high ground, since they imagine themselves enamored of peace and engaged in its active pursuit, but their actions can have the reverse effect and delay the peaceful outcomes-they covet,, perhaps permanently. Their stance may invite further risk taking and deadly adventures by the enemy. Paradoxical as it may seem, under the right circumstances, the determination to go to war is ethical, is, in fact, a force for good and for peace. As in critical periods of this last .century, to wage war now is the moral choice.... And it is the only choice if we are to know a greater peace. May we and our leaders remain resolute.


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