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Lying in protest
By Trevor Bothwell
The current antiwar movement in the U.S. can only be described as a confluence of propaganda and lies.
That anti-American protesters gather in the streets of Bern, Bonn, and Cairo should come as no surprise. To foreigners, rich and powerful America, not provincial despotic tyrants, is the demonizing force that subjugates the weak and powerless across the globe. But how is it that some Americans, with unlimited access to a free media and to instantaneous information, can conceivably emit the blatant deception that fuels the current antiwar sentiment?
I'm not necessarily talking about people who oppose this war for what can be argued to be reasonable reasons. Some folks become unduly distraught (don't we all?) at the concept of willingly sending fresh high school graduates onto a battlefield when a percentage is sure to die; others genuinely believe that appeasement through U.N. accords is enough to contain Saddam Hussein; still more are convinced that extending weapons inspections in Iraq will yield results that vindicate this brutal regime. Futile as these alternatives to war may be to a majority of Americans, we can at least concede that their proponents are more than likely sincere in their beliefs.
But these are not the "pacifists" we usually see flocking to the town square -- or to an open microphone at the Oscars or at a concert -- to protest this war. What we so often observe is a radical fringe of dissidents who liken President Bush to Hitler, who accuse America of having imperialistic tendencies, of intentional baby killing, and of waging war not out of necessity and national defense but for purely economic gain. This form of dissent is not humane, and it is certainly not peaceful. It is vile and cruel, and it is born of hatred of not only our president and his policies, but often of America itself. Indeed, it is intended to exacerbate tension by promoting insincerity, hypocrisy, and myths.
For starters, the antiwar crowd accuses the U.S. of invading a country that has no connection to 9/11, and purports that we will be killing Iraqis who have never killed us. This may certainly be true. But given the fact that Saddam Hussein subsidizes terrorism, coupled with the well-documented threats that he poses not only to his own people and direct neighbors but to us as well, military action becomes increasingly justified. Besides, we have repeatedly demonstrated -- already at the cost of American and coalition lives through our reluctance to carpet bomb small regimes and by encouraging the enemy to surrender before shooting first -- that we are not targeting Iraqi civilians but loyalists to Saddam.
The mainstream media, which have so vociferously denied any liberal slant in reporting in recent months, seems ready to pounce on any "missteps" by coalition forces. CNN.com proudly shows still photos of our military men and women on its pages, yet in addition it can't resist including a shot of a young Iraqi girl with a bandage on her face. Not to be outdone, ABC's Ted Koppel rolls through the desert, "imbedded" with our troops, snidely reminding viewers that we're attacking forces that have never visited aggression on us here at home. It's a testament to our military's discipline that none of our Marines have visited any aggression on Mr. Koppel yet.
People like Michael Moore commandeer the national spotlight to raunchily suggest that President Bush is a greater threat to humanity than Saddam Hussein. Interestingly, I don't recall reading lately in the New York Times that Mr. Bush rounds up those who disagree with him to run them through industrial strength plastic shredders. Take a minute to even try to think what that might be like, and then attempt intelligently to justify comparing the leader of the free world to a licentious murderer.
Current war protesters insist that their only motive is to advocate "peace," even if certain pockets command the restraint of local police forces to control insidious and destructive behavior. And when have you ever heard any of these beacons for freedom speak ill of the tyranny (synonymous with "lack of peace," by the way) caused by Saddam and his regime through the utilization of torture chambers and rape camps against innocent Iraqis? Oh, you haven't?
One of the more galling statements uttered by the Coalition of Love is the one where they maintain that they support our noble forces despite the fact that they oppose this war. This exercise in deviousness almost undermines their compulsion for artificiality. While protesters claim that the U.S. and the world at large are against the president, the most current polls show American support for the invasion of Iraq hovering around 72%. With this in mind, it's hard to imagine dissenters campaigning against the war and its troops while attempting to be taken seriously simultaneously. But using brave service men and women as a political shield from public criticism to me seems even more contemptuous than the disrespect their ilk showed to our soldiers returning home from Vietnam three decades ago.
In an apparent attempt to tug at our heartstrings, Democrats who oppose war in Iraq complain that "our children and our children's children" will have to pay for this campaign. To paraphrase Ann Coulter, it's funny how liberals suddenly become fiscal conservatives as soon as they're expected to pay for defending America. How can we put a price tag on something that will actually allow our children and grandchildren to live in a safer world? Democrats are at least right about one thing. Our grandchildren might have to pay for this war -- if we don't fight it.
Ironically, the federal government was not originally designed or intended to subsidize programs like nationalized health care, midnight basketball, or sex education curriculums in our middle schools. Its fundamental responsibility, plain and simple, is to defend America. Perhaps that's what these rabid protesters resent so much.
The right to dissent is one of the greatest privileges that come with being an American. But another decidedly honorable American trait is the one that is right now being displayed by scores of thousands of brave Americans half a world away; and that is the willingness to die to protect not only the United States itself, but also the rights of those in the antiwar camp to continue to taunt our president and their country without fear of reprisal (the kind of which Iraqi citizens now face for doing that exact same thing).
Maybe it's unfair to accuse all of our selfish and sanctimonious antiwar demonstrators of being anti-American. But I can nonetheless rest easy at night knowing one thing is certain -- our heroes soaring and marching through Baghdad this very minute are simply better Americans than they.
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