The antiwar group Not in Our Name placed a full-page ad in The San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday denouncing the U.S. war on terrorism as "unjust, immoral and illegitimate." The ad contained "a statement of conscience." Conscience? One of the celebrity lefty signatories is unrepentant convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.
You got it. These folks are so just and moral that of the 30,000-plus people who signed the statement, they advertise the support of a man who in 1981 shot a police officer in the back.
The statement denounced "the repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration" and that the Bush administration "attacked Afghanistan." (Not in Our Name doesn't chide Congress, which supported Bush on Iraq and Afghanistan. Just Bush.)
Yes, we're guilty. U.S. troops were so repressive that they ousted the Taliban from power. Today, Afghan girls can go to school. Afghan women need not fear being dragged to a field and shot in the head through a burqa. If only Bush had listened to the peaceniks, who warned that fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan would be as bloodthirsty an act as the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Their consistency is admirable," said Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. "No matter how many times they're wrong, their views never change an iota. They're like a doomsday group that becomes more committed to their cult every time the world doesn't end as they predicted."
Noting that more than 1,000 immigrants were detained, and hundreds were deported after Sept. 11, the "statement of conscience" charged, "This smacks of the infamous concentration camps for Japanese Americans in World War II."
Do they understand that this comparison trivializes the horror of the Japanese-American internment camps? The shame of those camps is that the U.S. government rounded up and took the property of U.S. citizens, not because they were guilty of a wrongdoing, but simply because they were ethnically Japanese. It was an unconscionable violation of their civil rights.
Post Sept. 11, U.S. authorities questioned noncitizens and deported those who had violated immigration rules. That smacks of enforcing immigration laws.
The statement added, "For the first time in decades, immigration procedures single out certain nationalities for unequal treatment."
That's simply not true. Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, noted, "We've repeatedly made these kinds of distinctions, in the law as well as in practice." For example, a 1989 law made it easier for religious refugees from the former Soviet Union to claim asylum.
A good chunk of the copy was about how brave and noble the Not in Our Name people are, and how mean their critics are. They complain that Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer once said people need to "watch what they say" -- when in this age of political correctness, everybody has to watch what they say.
"Dissident artists, intellectuals and professors find their views distorted, attacked and suppressed." Suppressed? Ha. In Iraq, Saddam Hussein's critics don't run full-page ads in newspapers. Attacked? Ha, again. That's their term for verbal criticism. They don't know what it is to be attacked.
Officer Daniel Faulkner was attacked. His widow Maureen Faulkner noted, "The others on that ad may pretend otherwise, but the simple and irrefutable fact is that Mumia Abu-Jamal is a convicted murderer, who should never be permitted to publicly express his opinions about anything."
Actually, the system allows him to speak out from prison. And they cry about suppression.
Distorted? They are distorted. "They disregard the fact that he's a murderer," said Paul Palkovic, head of Justice for Daniel Faulkner. "It's irrelevant to them."