[sixties-l] Saddam's Little Helpers (fwd)

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Date: Thu Sep 19 2002 - 23:04:13 EDT

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    Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 14:50:03 -0700
    From: radtimes <resist@best.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
    ^A'60s anti-Vietnam
    War coalition.
    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"
    American policy,
    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
    New Left
    protesters from the early 1960s; some in fact are elderly pro-Communists
    whose political
    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
    Qaeda, Saddam
    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
    the campaign.
    They include directors Robert Altman and Oliver Stone; actors Ed Asner,
    Ossie Davis,
    Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover; singers Ani DiFranco and Pete Seeger;
    writers Kurt
    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.
    Clark Kissinger.
    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
    listening to
    the president at his Crawford ranch left them frustrated, since they know
    that Americans
    "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
    attack on
    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]
    domestic intimidation."
    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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