"The good news is that an independent current of the peace movement, in reaction to the embarrassing antics of the leftists, is apparently growing up, especially on campuses, and has raised the slogan 'Peace with Justice' - meaning justice on behalf of 6,000-plus dead Americans. This is the way to go. It is the only way that can reach the overwhelming majority. Americans are a people justifiably angry at what has been done to them: they rightfully seek not only justice but vengeance - not against innocent civilians, but against the perpetrators of a heinous act. Americans don't want a Mideast war: what they want is to be rid of the incubus of terrorism.
"What is remarkable about the Left is its incredible thick-headedness, its dogmatic insistence on imposing its own countercultural ethos on movements it dominates. At the conclusion of the Town Hall teach-in, I was up on the stage talking to Alexander Cockburn, and Medea Benjamin, local leftie media starlet whose antics make her almost a regular on Bay Area television news programs. 'Hey,' I said, 'where were the American flags?' I saw plenty of banners with leftist slogans emblazoned all over them, but not a single representation of Old Glory. Ms. Benjamin didn't even bother to answer, but just sneered, as if the thought were so alien that I was probably making a joke. Cockburn, however, nodded agreement, and said 'I'm for it,' adding that he had always been in favor of reclaiming true patriotism from the War Party. Alas, I'm afraid his advice fell on deaf ears. As a result of that night, I began to think that, except, perhaps, in the case of people like Cockburn - who is really an anarchist, I suspect, and even had kind words in his speech for Bob Barr for standing up for civil liberties - the anti-Americanism cannot be taken out of the Left.
"But, who knows? Perhaps a few more terrorist attacks - a few dozen, or even hundreds, of new anthrax cases - may shake these dogmatists out of their sectarian slumber. Then, perhaps, they will realize that they were patriots, after all, and that they really did love their country - right before it ceased to exist. For unless the peace movement begins to face up to the real issues and offers some real arguments against a wider war, the free and open society that was the United States of America may soon be only a fond memory. Racial victimology and America-hating just will not cut it: indeed, they will create a backlash against any possible upsurge of antiwar feeling, and set the movement up for accusations of collaborating with terrorism.
"Furthermore, the tendency of the organized antiwar movement to go parading about, shouting slogans and carrying placards is an indulgence that serves only to give the most marginal groups maximum publicity: it is a throwback to an unusable past. This is not yet a quagmire: the idea is to prevent us from becoming bogged down in such a war before it even starts. But in order to do so it will be necessary to face an entirely new set of circumstances with tactical creativity, organizational openness, strategic wisdom, and above all honesty - or else be consigned to utter irrelevance."
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