From marchers in Washington, D.C., chanting, "Bush, Cheney,
Rumsfeld -- the Real Axis of Evil," to Teddy Kennedy offering his
warmed-over appeasement to the National Press Club, the past couple of weeks
have offered a telling snapshot of American liberalism.
A group called ANSWER --Act Now to Stop War and End Racism --
organized the antiwar march, as columnist Michael Kelly pointed out. Few
reports on the event traced the group's origins, so the curious may want to
refer to Byron York's piece in The National Review ("Reds Still"), which
supplies the missing details.
ANSWER is an outgrowth of the International Action Center, a San
Francisco group showcasing the work of former attorney general and
all-around America-loather Ramsey Clark. As York tells it: "Both Answer and
the International Action Center are closely allied with a small but
energetic Marxist-Leninist organization known as the Workers World Party,
which ... supported the Soviet interventions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia,
the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Chinese government's crackdown in
Tienanmen Square. Today, the WWP devotes much of its energy to supporting
the regimes in Iraq and North Korea."
The march was shrill, incoherent (what does war with Iraq have
to do with racism?) and extreme, as one might expect from a rally organized
by die-hard communists. The denunciations of America were broad-ranging and
vulgar. But liberal organs like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and
"NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" were not honest about the demonstration's
message. The Lehrer program featured a discussion about whether antiwar
protests do much good and offered a number of college professors the
opportunity to reminisce and rhapsodize about their youthful anti-Vietnam
War protests. The New York Times was struck by "the obvious mainstream roots
of the marchers," who, the editorialists were certain, "represented ... a
large segment of the American public."
Nothing has changed. Sept. 11, 2001, did not represent a Pearl
Harbor moment for the United States. Dec. 7, 1941, completely obliterated
the antiwar America First movement. No one who had been associated with it
was willing to be antiwar on Dec. 8, and even its most vociferous spokesmen
promptly lined up at induction offices.
But the terror attacks on the United States have not killed the
anti-American fervor that animates the left today. And liberals continue, as
they did throughout the Cold War, to look benevolently on enemies of the
United States and particularly upon anyone who styles himself a left-wing
"activist." Columnist Mary McGrory wrote an elegy to the Washington
marchers, calling them a "river of peaceful people." She proudly recounts
the story of a 19-year-old student whose hero is Paul Robeson. How nice,
except that Robeson was a Stalinist who urged black Americans not to fight
for this country. When prize fighter Sugar Ray Robinson learned of Robeson's
comment, he said, "I don't know the man, but if I ever see him on the
street, I will punch him in the nose."
McGrory dismisses talk of radicalism by pointing to the
participation of the Catholic Bishops and the National Council of Churches.
More blasts from the past. Those two groups -- along with many other
religious organizations -- were highly visible in the anti-Vietnam War
rallies of the late '60s and early '70s, as well. And then, just as now,
they were willing to ally themselves with people whose hatred for America
was their defining motive. Recall that the last public outing for the NCC
was to support sending Elian Gonzalez back to Castro's loving arms. Neither
group speaks for the people it purports to represent.
Kennedy speaks for many, of course. That icon of American
liberalism declared that taking on Iraq is the "wrong war at the wrong time.
The threat from Iraq is not imminent and it would distract American from the
two more immediate threats to our security ... terrorism and the crisis with
North Korea." He can dress it up as strategic caution, but anyone who has
watched the American left for the past several decades can be sure that
Kennedy would always find reasons not to fight. Besides, the war against