Preparing the Next Vietnam

Scripps-Howard News Service 9.26.01
Balint Vazsonyi

If you want to see the current state of the anti-American protest movement, log on to http://www.9 11peace.org/petition.php3. That is how the protest against the Vietnam war might have begun, had the Internet existed at the time.

I first received news of the campaign from Germany, where a producer of the 2nd German Television Network (ZDF) is leading the charge. It is in the form of a petition to the U.S. Government to cease and desist from taking action, and is already posted in six languages. Arabic is not one of them.

There are about half a million participants - many of the usual suspects with the communist staples "social justice" and "economic justice" on their banners. But it was not difficult to contact point persons Eli Pariser in the U.S. and Olivia Martin in Switzerland, working for "More than Money" near Boston, MA, and the "Hague Appeal for Peace" respectively. They insist their organizations are not the sponsors, that various other foundations provide the money - but they refused to name these.

In 1949, the Soviet Union launched use of the word "peace" to mean "Down with America." The present campaign is no exception. Just as no other country's possession or use of arms ever bothered the "peace" movement, once again no other country or group has been addressed with the demand, "Stand down!" Ms. Martin says, they might send a similar message to the United Kingdom, but to no country in the Middle East.

Incidentally, the Hague Appeal for Peace (Geneva, Switzerland, and New York) never tried to stop an actual war. Its first-ever statement is the warning addressed to the U.S. government.

I asked the (visible) principals to explain what would lead them to wake up on the Thursday after The Tuesday and decide to lean on the representatives of the victims, rather than the perpetrators. Mr. Pariser was refreshingly frank: "It would not carry a lot of weight with them." You bet. Asked why he teams up with the whole world to exercise his - peculiarly American - constitutional right of petitioning the government, he thought the U.S. government was putting together the wrong coalition.

As for his grievance under the Constitution, he spoke of the poverty in the world and that "those poor Afghan people could be expected to lash out." When reminded that the highjacker/mass-murderers had mostly Saudi passports and hundreds of millions of dollars behind them, he suggested that the rest of the Afghan people were poor. The $43 million in humanitarian aid the U.S. had sent to Afghans just this year? That was insufficient, he said. Asked if it was the poor people of Afghanistan, then, who used human missiles on September 11, he lost his train of thought.

Where he was quite certain, however, was the goal to duplicate the anti-war movement of the 1960s. Ms. Martin in Geneva also assured me the youth of the world stood ready, and getting readier every minute. "We are discussing a number of steps," she said. She wouldn't tell me who was meant by "we."

Who? At last count, 110 American colleges and universities had responded with action. (Perhaps we could double financial aid to their students as they begin to demonstrate against America.)

"It's the progressive forces around the world," Mr. Pariser explained. Progressive? "Well, it's kind of the Left," he obliged again with his candor. Because a substantial group in the U.S. House of Representatives calls itself the "Progressive Caucus," we close our eyes to the fact that "progressive" is code for those who subscribe to the agenda of the Socialist International. Having recently detached themselves from the socialist web site, members of the House Caucus may find it timely to rethink its designation and agenda.

The president has issued a call to governments of the world: Stand up and be counted. Are you with us, or with our enemies? A similar question may be asked of those who live here. Relatively few would take an open position against America. But oh-so-many would deliver lengthy regurgitations about the need to redistribute wealth, CIA breaches of etiquette, global warming.

As our government prepares to deal with the external threat to this country, we must resolve to address the anti-American sentiments that permeate most of our educational institutions. They are neither the product of academic freedom, nor an exercise in first-amendment rights. They are the result of our failure to explain the facts of life to our young in the 1960s.

Let us not fail this time.