---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 14:50:03 -0700
From: radtimes <email@example.com>
Subject: Saddam's Little Helpers
Saddam's Little Helpers
By Ronald Radosh
The New York Post | September 16, 2002
MOST Americans readily understand, after experiencing the horror of the
9/11 attack on
our nation last year, that evil exists, and that those seeking to destroy
what we hold dear
are indeed the epitome of evildoers. But not the radical academics and
celebrities, who are trying their best to resurrect from its coffin the old
Thus, coming to the ad pages of The New York Times will be what they call "A
Statement of Conscience," calling on the "people of the U.S. to resist"
which they claim shows "grave dangers to the people of the world," who want
us to join
them in resisting "the war and repression that has been loosed on the world
by the Bush
What leads these '60s relics to make the most preposterous of arguments? To
in effect argue that we face no danger from any nation or any group of
terrorists, that the danger stems from our own imperial overreach?
The names on the petition provide an answer. Most are recognizable Old and
protesters from the early 1960s; some in fact are elderly pro-Communists
life began back in the 1930s.
They have been groomed on the belief that the United States is an
imperialist power bent on oppressing the poor people of the world. They see
Iraq as Vietnam, with the United States once again trying to destroy a
people seeking only independence and a people's revolution.
THE reality of our new situation makes not one dent in their ingrained
world view. The
petition-signers seem unaware of the dangers posed by radical Islam, al
Hussein and other powers which form what our president has rightfully
called "an axis
of evil." Indeed, they mock the view that a simple contest exists between
"good v. evil,"
when the real issue is the effort to wage "war abroad and repression at home."
Included in their list of such horrible acts of aggression are what they
call the "attack" on Afghanistan, the "trail of death and destruction"
caused by - Israel - and the blank check the U.S. government wants to kill
and bomb whomever it wants.
Their description of America today: a country under the thumb of
"repression over society," with free speech "suppressed," groups falsely
called "terrorist," a nation they hint sits on the edge of totalitarianism.
Their answer: Refuse orders, resist a draft if instituted and support all
"resisters." The "machinery of war" has to be stopped.
This old heated rhetoric and '60s-redux arguments can easily be ignored -
that is, if one does not pause to look at the luminaries in our
intellectual life and the entertainment community that have signed on to
They include directors Robert Altman and Oliver Stone; actors Ed Asner,
Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover; singers Ani DiFranco and Pete Seeger;
Vonnegut and Gore Vidal; radical cop killer Mumia Abu-Jumal, and scores of
others - a
virtual Who's Who of the leftover Old and New Left activists, writers and
It is a true Popular Front. Playwright and actor Wallace Shawn is on the
list, alongside ex-Weather Underground leaders Bernardine Dohrn and C.
COINCIDING with this effort is the Historian's Petition to Congress,
instituted by Joyce
Appleby, a past president of our country's two major historical
associations, and feminist historian Ellen Carol DuBois of UCLA.
Their petition has a more limited goal: They purport only to ask the
Congress for a
debate and vote on "whether or not to declare war on Iraq," although it is
clear from the
introduction to the petition that their real goal is to "stop war with
Iraq," which they wistfully hope will not occur if there is a "full-fledged
congressional vote." If this does not happen, they plan to be in our
nation's capital on Sept. 25 to present the petition to Senate Majority
Leader Tom Daschle and House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
The signers compose a great majority of our professional historians,
including some of
the most distinguished members of the profession. As Joyce Appleby
explained in an
open letter to the profession, she and DuBois started the petition because
the president at his Crawford ranch left them frustrated, since they know
"feel agitated by the drumbeat of remarks about possible military action."
Should we go to war, Appleby thinks that it would amount to an "unprovoked
another country." Any threat from Iraq and Saddam Hussein disappears from
her field of
Appleby is furious that the president says he will soon make up his mind,
"as though he
were a king." This, she pines, "is not what the Founding Fathers intended."
In a forum in Newsweek's issue on 9/11, Appleby fears Bush is "returning us
to a Cold War mentality," one in which the United States fought "quasiwars
and proxy wars and [ran] covert operations and [used] spies and [practiced]
Now, she complains, we seem to be "moving right back into that Cold War
mindset, in which we will have a black and white world of good versus evil,
and we'll be a part of suppressing dissent around the world," as well as
invading "American rights at home."
Appleby and her colleagues are, it seems, living in a dream world - one in
which the evil
United States is oppressing every nation, and those resisting its grasp are
simply opponents of a new imperialism.
Sorry, Ms Appleby. This historian does not buy your arguments. As Larry
Miller wrote in The Weekly Standard last Jan. 14, "No matter what your
daughter's political science professor says, we didn't start this." Change
that to your son or daughter's historian.
WITH all its imperfections, America stands for freedom and democracy -
values held in
short shrift in those areas of the world where radical Islamic
fundamentalists plot to destroy us. Perhaps you can't be a historian to
understand this basic truth, or maybe George Orwell was right when he said
that there are some things so stupid that only an intellectual can believe
Ronald Radosh is author of Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New
Left and the Leftover Left, (Encounter Books,2001,) and is a columnist for
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