London -- When I was in London last, the British, especially the
elites, were engaging in anti-American rhetoric the likes of which I had not
previously witnessed. President Bush's leadership in the war on terror and
his insistence that we rid Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction
were irritants to Her Majesty's people. And Tony Blair's cooperation with
the war on terror -- perceived by the striped-pants set as America's
problem -- made it all the more vexing.
Now, six months later, the situation is different. Recent
terrorist attacks on a French tanker and a Bali nightclub -- where 33
British tourists were killed and 27 injured -- have forced the Brits to
reconsider their once tepid support for the Bush/Blair war on terrorism. A
Guardian/ICM poll released last week showed that in the aftermath of the
Bali explosion, support for a military attack on Iraq increased 10 points to
42 percent of British voters. The British people are putting aside their
differences with Tony Blair to forge a united front against an evil that
threatens us all.
But for some in the United States, politics trumps patriotism.
For Hollywood residents, the Bali blast, which killed 188 and wounded over
300; the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, which killed 3,052 Americans; and
the evidence that Saddam Hussein is still amassing weapons of mass
destruction all pale in comparison to the atrocity that George W. Bush
committed when he dared to win the 2000 presidential election.
In London, I was reminded that their animosity has never
subsided and their vitriol is intensifying. Woody Harrelson, the man who
proudly portrayed pornographer Larry Flynt, is in London doing a stage show
and published a venomous diatribe in last week's Guardian newspaper. In it
he called himself "an American tired of American lies" and labeled President
Bush and his administration as "warmongers who stole the White House."
Apparently Harrelson's liberal logic leads him to conclude that the
terrorists are blameless while Bush has "hijacked a nation's grief and
turned it into a perpetual war on any non-white country they choose to
describe as terrorist."
When Bush was elected, more of Hollywood's enlightened elite
were supposed to join Harrelson abroad. Director Robert Altman and actor
Alec Baldwin promised to flee the United States if Bush beat Al Gore in
2000. Instead, they are still in Hollywood condemning the United States.
Altman has denounced the U.S. government as "disgusting" and charged the
Bush administration with starting a war "to protect their oil interests." He
also called the American flag -- the banner under which our soldiers,
sailors, airmen, Marines and guardsmen are now fighting -- a "joke."
Baldwin, a hard-line activist, equated Republican voters with
terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, telling a Florida A&M University
audience that "what happened in the 2000 (presidential election) did as much
damage to the pillars of democracy as terrorists did to the pillars of
commerce in New York City." When Democrat Barbara Lee became the only member
of Congress to oppose using military force to dislodge those responsible for
the Sept. 11 attacks, comedian Bill Cosby promptly rewarded her with a hefty
In spite of Lee and Cosby, our troops shipped off to the far
corners of the globe to protect and defend this nation only to be condemned
by ingrates like Harrelson, because, as he sees it, "America's war against
terrorism is terrorism." Well, there you have it. No wonder actress Jessica
Lange says she is "ashamed to come from the United States" and readily
admits she "hates" and "despises" President Bush.
Lange has no monopoly on Bush-hating. Actress Julia Roberts
contemptuously told reporters that she finds President Bush "embarrassing"
and added, "He's not my president, and he never will be, either." Actor Ed
Asner accused President Bush of "desecrating" America and creating an
"imperialist government." Danny Glover labeled the United States as one of
the "main purveyors of violence in this world."
Hollywood didn't always hate America. During World War II,
Tinseltown sent its stars overseas to entertain the troops on the front
lines. John Ford was at the Battle of Midway. Others, like Ronald Reagan,
who stayed behind, performed patriotic roles on screen and toured the
country for war bonds. During the Cold War, Marilyn Monroe visited with
frostbitten troops in Korea, and musicians like Louis Armstrong toured the
world promoting American culture and freedom.
But that all changed during Vietnam. While John Wayne faithfully
donned a green beret and opposed communism, Jane Fonda modeled Viet Cong
jungle gear and took a turn on an anti-aircraft gun aimed at American
pilots. By the 1980s and 1990s, anti-Americanism had become a mark of
Hollywood success, as leftist celebrities like Martin Sheen blasted American
foreign policy and Roseanne Barr deliberately butchered the national anthem
at a major league baseball game.
American citizens have always tolerated varying political
opinions, but the animosity Hollywood "celebrities" are displaying toward
America, her president, and her men and women in uniform today is more than
a national disgrace -- it's demoralizing to those we send to defend us. If
the Hollywood elites want the cash to keep on rolling in, they ought to
confine their criticisms to pool-side cocktail parties instead of inflicting
their juvenile tantrums on the wives and mothers of those fighting overseas
to keep America safe.