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Jewish World Review Oct. 29, 2001 / 12 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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Give war a chance -- IT is too fitting that anti-war types choose to protest U.S. military actions as they carry signs declaring themselves to be "Hate-Free Zones.''

After all, their focus is not on the 5,000-plus dead civilians killed by al Qaeda thugs, or the chilling prospect of militant extremists spreading a swath of death across the globe in a jihad against "infidels.'' It's all about their feelings. Their superior feelings.

All bow because they experience doubt, sadness, revulsion toward the "haters'' -- then manage to throw in a kind word about the Afghan civilians for whom they claim to be champions.

Because they are so special, others should not rain on their orgy of self-congratulation. As columnist Bob Scheer writes, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., the Berkeley City Council and other peaceniks "should be congratulated, not vilified.''

So, when Berkeley criticizes American policies, it is being patriotic. When others criticize Berkeley, they are -- and I am, according to some e-mailers -- acting in a manner "unAmerican.''

Instead of criticizing the breathtaking idiocy of people who believe you can fight genocidal brutes in a court, right-minded people are supposed to be bowled over by the "courage'' of anti-war types. Scheer writes of the need for dissenters to "gather the courage'' to criticize U.S. policies.

Imagine, 343 New York firefighters and 23 New York cops died in a steel and cement inferno desperately trying to save other lives. Across America, soldiers are suiting up for battle in a faraway place. Their parents, spouses and children are steeling themselves as their reluctant and beloved warriors venture toward battle in order to keep this land free and brave.

Yet, the peaceniks dare call themselves courageous -- for being anti-war in Berkeley.

Shall we have a moment of silence?

The other big crock is the peacenik claim that their protests make America stronger.

Wrong. America is free be cause it protects dissent. Dissent doesn't create freedom, but it is an essential byproduct of freedom.

Today, dissent doesn't make America more free, it only proves something we already knew -- that people are free to express dissenting opinions. And while I defend the free-speech rights of peaceniks to dissent against the war effort, I do so knowing that protests, if anything, may make America seem less inclined to fight back as needed. That only bolsters al Qaeda.

Right now, there are thugs skulking in Afghan mosques and hiding behind women and children. They are united. They are organized. They are not hobbled by protests against killing civilians. To the contrary, it is their mission to kill civilians.

You don't defeat these thugs with more hand-wringing about civilian casualties -- especially when Pentagon brass already tries to avoid killing innocents. You don't defeat these thugs by calling for measures that may hamper the ability of U.S. troops to protect themselves. You don't defeat Terror by telling an already cautious Pentagon to do less damage.

If America wins this war, it will be because of unity and resolve. If we win, it will be thanks to citizens who put aside their sensibilities and their differences to fight a common foe.

Of course, the peaceniks are free to say otherwise, but they should know that theirs is a cheap thrill. While they're on their pedestals, others are doing the dirty work needed to protect their democracy. Safe in the bosom of Berkeley or San Francisco, they can protest, secure in the knowledge that other people -- most likely less educated than they are, if wiser -- will march off to battle and perhaps forfeit their lives to protect this great nation from homicidal fanatics who don't squelch dissenters -- they kill them.

Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.


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© 2000, Creators Syndicate