Jewish World Review Jan. 10, 2005 / 29 Teves, 5765
Limits of dissent
With the Iraqi election looming, the predictable violence by anti-democratic forces inside that chaotic country is causing angst among many loyal Americans. On the one hand, most of us want the USA to prevail in Iraq, to succeed in seeding democracy there. On the other, it is tough to watch young Americans get killed on a daily basis.
Opposition to the war in Iraq should, of course, be respected. But that opposition has to be responsible in order to deserve respect. Let's look at two examples.
First, former presidential candidate George McGovern, an ardent Vietnam War opponent, is continuing his dovish philosophy. Writing in The New York Times, McGovern states: "Once we left Vietnam and quit bombing its people, they became friends and trading partners. Iraq has been nestled along the Tigris and Euphrates for 6,000 years. It will be there 6,000 more whether we stay or leave ... "
With all due respect, Senator McGovern's view is naive at best, dangerous at worst. He conveniently forgets that according to an analysis by The Los Angeles Times, more than 900,000 South Vietnamese were sent to concentration camps after the North Vietnamese violated the U.S.-negotiated peace treaty and overran the South in 1975. McGovern also fails to mention that communists in neighboring Cambodia slaughtered two million human beings after the USA withdrew its forces from Vietnam. Trading partners indeed.
From the very beginning, Senator McGovern and many other Americans played down the evil that is communist totalitarianism, just as many anti-Iraq War people are diminishing the evil of the Saddam loyalists and Zarqawi terrorists inside Iraq today.
It is true that fighting evil in Iraq may not be feasible. To be successful in any war, you must choose your battles wisely. But to actually think the North Vietnamese and Iraqi "insurgents" are some kind of reasonable opposition is nuts.
Which brings us to the second example of war dissent, those Americans who actually want the USA to lose in Iraq. They are out there, and they are shameless.
On Dec. 17, I interviewed Professor Jeffrey Stone, who teaches law at the University of Chicago, on my television program. The topic was whether one could be a loyal American and want to see the USA defeated militarily in Iraq. Stone said yes:
O'Reilly: "I want to make sure you want to stand by your statement, that you can be a loyal American rooting for your country to lose militarily in Iraq. Do you stand by that?"
Stone: "I stand by that. One can be a loyal American and still root against the country."
Stone went on to say that wanting the USA to lose in Iraq could save lives in the long run. I said that any military loss would have to mean more casualties for the U.S. military, which is absolutely true. You don't lose militarily without taking casualties, so how could any loyal American want that to happen?
Subsequently, Professor Stone wrote an op-ed in The Chicago Tribune accusing me of, among other things, spewing "ugly invective" and "inflaming my audience."
Well, here's some more gas for the fire. Believing that the Iraq War is wrong is legitimate dissent, and you might even be right, this may be an unwinnable situation. But feeling any kind of joy or satisfaction when you hear of victories by the "insurgents" means you have crossed the line from dissent into disloyalty.
Rationalizations walk. If you are rooting for the insurgents you are one.
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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the
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