Jewish World Review June 19, 2002 / 9 Tamuz, 5762
Debra J. Saunders
Delusions of suppression
The headline for a statement by activists opposed
to the U.S. war on terror is "Not in Our Name," but it
more accurately should read: "We're better than you
The signers include C-list celebrities such as Ed
Asner and Casey Kasem, and perennial lefties Alice
Walker, Noam Chomsky and Gloria Steinem. They
"call on all Americans to resist the war and
repression that has been loosed on the world by the
Bush administration. It is unjust, immoral and
illegitimate. We choose to make common cause with
the people of the world."
Then of course, the biggies leave the common people
and return to their favorite topic: themselves, and how
truly great they are to question the U.S. government.
The statement explains that after Sept. 11, America's
leaders "told us that asking why these terrible events
had happened verged on treason. There was to be no
Note the dishonest implication that anti-Bush critics
were just asking questions. Wrong. Many legitimized
the attacks by referring to their "root causes" (bad
America). To ask what were the root causes of the
Sept. 11 attacks is analogous to asking what the
Jews did to invite the Holocaust.
Who said it was treasonous to ask questions?
"That's a very good paraphrase of things said by
(White House spokesman) Ari Fleischer and the
president," said Not in our Name spokesman Clark
Kissinger. "That's not a verbatim quote."
Translation: No one in the White House said it was
treason to oppose the Bush war effort.
The Not in Our Name Web site carries another
statement that protests America's "destruction of
civil, legal and political rights, including the very right
Destruction of dissent? In Afghanistan, that meant
the Taliban shot critics in the back of the head. In
America, that means appearing on cable TV news in
a panel stacked against you, 3 to 1.
When I asked for examples of the suppression of
dissent, Kissinger mentioned a University of South
Florida professor who was suspended with pay after
a videotape was shown of him shouting "Death to
Israel." In 1995 the feds had raided a unversity-based
think-tank run by the prof, Sami Al-Arian, and froze
its assets, after alleging it was a fund-raising front for
Kissinger also cited the indictment of attorney Lynne
Stewart, who was charged with passing messages
for her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was
convicted of plotting to bomb five New York
landmarks. Kissinger found it irrelevant that Stewart
had violated a signed agreement not to act as the
Kissinger also repeated Dan Rather's memorable
quote to the BBC, that, "In some ways the fear is
that you will be necklaced here, you will have a
flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your
By the Not-names' definition, it's suppression if
someone (a liberal) feels uncomfortable or fears
criticism about expressing an opinion.
The "Not in Our Name" signers complain that
"dissident artists, intellectuals and professors" are
"attacked." Witness the conceit that theirs is a battle
of big brains -- oooooh, they're "intellectuals" --
versus boneheads. The statement dismisses "the
simplistic script of 'good v evil' " --
because only rubes and flag wavers believe in evil.
The shame of it is: There will be times when the left
is right, when the feds push too far, when innocent
people are harassed and detained, or when
academics lose their jobs because of their politics.
Too bad, the political center won't listen to them. In
their hysteria and self-aggrandizement, they shred
The statement even compares petition signers to
volunteers in the Underground Railroad and Vietnam
War draft resisters. Yes, the Ed Asners of America
think they're patriots with "conscience."
What do they risk? Not their lives, but not getting a
guest spot on a game show.
They proclaim "not in our name," apparently
unmindful of the fact that they can say that freely
largely because of the nameless military recruits,
demoralized FBI agents and intelligence workers who
put their lives on the line to keep America free.
Anonymous people protect their lives and freedoms --
and in their delusions of moral grandeur, they return
the gift with ingratitude.
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