Fifth Column General: Tom Hayden's Plan to Defeat America in Iraq
By: John Seward
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, December 06, 2004
"To hold a pen is to be at war." -- Voltaire.
If Abraham Lincoln were president today, CBS and the New York Times might be boarded up, with Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, and even John Kerry rotting in jail. I'm not saying that would be a good thing. The point is simply that the line between treason and free speech in America has moved a considerable distance in the last 142 years.
In 1862, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus on his own authority as a way of dealing with the Peace Democrats, better known as copperheads. The copperheads were advocating letting the Confederacy go its own way, rather than going to war. They actively interfered with enlistments in the Union army. Many copperheads were congressmen and other elected officials. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton decreed that anyone "engaged, by act, speech, or writing, in discouraging volunteer enlistments, or in any way giving aid and comfort to the enemy, or in any other disloyal practice against the United States" was subject to arrest and trial "before a military commission." Some 13,000 people were arrested and held without charges as a result of Lincoln and Stanton's edicts, and they were prosecuted by military tribunals instead of civil courts. Historians generally view this as something of a blot on Lincoln's otherwise exemplary record, and that may be so. On the other hand, had the Peace Democrats prevailed, there would have been no end to slavery -- and no United States of America.
One famous arrest was that of a former Ohio Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham, who opposed the emancipation of Negroes and argued that the war was needless. Vallandigham spoke out against the draft law without going so far as to encourage young men to disobey it. His hyperbolic speeches may sound familiar to today's Americans. "The men in power are attempting to establish a despotism in this country, more cruel and more oppressive than ever existed before," cried Vallandigham. He predicted a bleak future for the nation: "I see nothing before us but universal political and social revolution, anarchy and bloodshed, compared with which the Reign of Terror in France was a merciful visitation." For these and other statements, Vallandigham was arrested, locked in military barracks, held incommunicado without charges, and brought before eight army officers who put him on trial for making disloyal speeches against the government.
Today we see political leaders and activists speaking out against the war in Iraq and even, though you don't hear it much anymore, against the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Some, like Michael Moore and Tom Hayden, openly advocate American defeat in Iraq -- rhetoric that goes far beyond anything Vallandigham ever said. Others, including Al Gore and Ted Kennedy, rail against the war, the president, the Secretary of Defense, and others with over-the-top hyperbole similar to Vallandigham's. But they do not advocate American defeat, nor, I am sure, do they desire it.
Vallandigham might have been Al Gore's speechwriter when the former vice president raged against the country's leadership. "How dare the incompetent and willful members of this Bush/Cheney administration humiliate our nation and our people in the eyes of the world and in the conscience of our own people? How dare they subject us to such dishonor and disgrace? How dare they drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud of Saddam Hussein's torture prison?" Gore declared that President Bush "exposed Americans abroad and Americans in every U.S. town and city to a greater danger of attack by terrorists because of his arrogance, willfulness, and bungling at stirring up hornet's nests that pose no threat whatsoever to us. And by then insulting the religion and culture and tradition of people in other countries. And by pursuing policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children, all of it done in our name." At a rally in Nashville, Gore shouted, "He [Bush] betrayed this country! He played on our fears. He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place." This is political overkill, slanderous defamation that probably would have resulted in arrest in Lincoln's day. But no reasonable listener today would consider Gore's acts remotely akin to treason.
Ted Kennedy, a longtime senator, actually bested Gore with some of his grand pronouncements. "There was no imminent threat," said Kennedy. "This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud." More from Kennedy: "On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, 'Who would prefer that Saddam's torture chambers still be open?' Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management - U.S. management." The senator's charges go well beyond Vallandigham's, but nobody nowadays would consider them to be illegal. In fact, Gore and Kennedy all but accuse the President of treason, whereas the Bush administration has made no such counter-accusations.
Michael Moore and Tom Hayden fall into a different category. These radicals, who have consistently cheered for America's enemies, now root for those who kill U.S. troops in Iraq. "The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not 'insurgents' or 'terrorists' or 'The Enemy,'" said Michael Moore. "They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?" Moore believes that American soldiers killed in Iraq get what they deserve: "The majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end."
Tom Hayden has become respectable since his days as the founder of Students for a Democratic Society (decades ago, I was a member of that radical group). Hayden served as a Democrat the California state legislature for sixteen years. He received the Medal of Freedom from Jimmy Carter (the former president who sat with Michael Moore at the Democratic National Convention). Tom Hayden and John Kerry were two of the most prominent anti-Vietnam war activists during the '60s. Hayden traveled to Hanoi to meet with the Communist leadership to plan and coordinate the antiwar movement, which was a centerpiece of Hanoi's strategy to win the war. Kerry, while a reserve officer in the U.S. Navy, traveled to Paris to meet with the same Communist leadership with the effect of helping them in their negotiations with the U.S. The efforts of these young radicals were instrumental in bringing about the American defeat in Vietnam -- and the subsequent horror of the boat people and the millions tortured and murdered in Vietnam and Cambodia. Neither man has ever apologized for his actions or shown any regret for their consequences.
Today's anti-war movement models itself on the Vietnam protesters, and the movement's leaders include familiar faces. Tom Hayden has written an article, "How to End the War in Iraq," that outlines how to organize an effort to ensure that the United States is defeated in Iraq. The opening sentence: "The anti-war movement can force the Bush administration to leave Iraq by denying it the funding, troops, and alliances necessary to its strategy for dominance." Hayden next lauds the success of the anti-war movement within the Democratic Party and gives proof of its effectiveness. "The pressure of anti-war voices and the Kerry campaign led Bush to delay the request for a supplemental $75 billion appropriation, the assault on Falluja, and the U.S.-sponsored Iraqi elections until after Nov. 2." In other words, giving the enemy breathing room to regroup, delaying democracy for the Iraqi people, and denying our troops the funding they need are all triumphs for the protesters. But it's not enough. More must be done to make sure that American forces are defeated and forced to withdraw. Why? Because, "Once the election was over, the Bush administration turned Fallujah into a slaughterhouse." Here is enemy propaganda, pure and simple, breathtaking in its utter disregard for the truth about the gangsters who controlled Falluja and videotaped the beheadings of innocent people.
Hayden details his plan for Vietnam-like withdrawal from Iraq. "The first step is to build pressure at congressional district levels to oppose any further funding or additional troops for war. If members of Congress balk at cutting off all assistance and want to propose 'conditions' for further aid, it is a small step toward threatening funding. If only 75 members of Congress go on record against any further funding, that's a step in the right direction towards the exit." To accomplish this, the Democratic Party must be pushed into becoming the anti-war party. "The progressive activists of the party should refuse to contribute any more resources, volunteers, money, etc. to candidates or incumbents who act as collaborators." Note the use of the word "collaborators" -- meaning, of course, those who collaborate with the duly elected government of the United States.
OK, persuasion and activism are democratic means, but what are the ends? "Instead of assuming that the Bush administration has an 'exit strategy', the movement needs to force our government to exit." Hayden intends for the U.S. not only to exit, but to lose -- in no uncertain terms. "Ending this bloodbath is the most honorable task Americans can perform to restore progressive priorities and our respect in the world. We have passed the point for graceful exit strategies." Hayden's article is scattered with references to Vietnam and Cambodia. Though the wars in Iraq and Vietnam involved different circumstances, the similarities in the anti-war movements are striking. The desired result is identical. As Hayden points out, "Though most discourse on Vietnam ignores or underplays the factor of dissent within the American armed forces, it was absolutely pivotal to bringing the ground war to an end." In other words, one important tactic is to foster dissent, disobedience, and -- hopefully -- desertion in the American military. "The movement will need to start opening another underground railroad to havens in Canada for those who refuse to serve," writes Hayden, "but for now even the most moderate grievances should be supported."
Hayden has a six-point plan for forcing the U.S. to leave Iraq. He summarizes: "In short: pinch the funding arteries, push the Democrats to become an opposition party, ally with anti-war Republicans, support dissenting soldiers, make 'Iraqization' more difficult, and build a peace coalition against the war coalition. If the politicians are too frightened or ideologically incapable of implementing an exit strategy, the only alternative is for the people to pull the plug." Hayden seems to regard "the people" and the politicians they democratically elected as two unrelated entities. At its core, his plan rests on de-funding our soldiers in a combat zone, encouraging mutiny in the armed forces, and preventing the Iraqis from taking democratic control of their own country. All of this is to be accomplished by building a "peace" coalition.
Are these statements and intentions treasonous? Disloyal? Should habeas corpus be suspended so that Michael Moore, Tom Hayden, et al., might be arrested by the dozens and tried by a military tribunal? Of course not, and it's a far-off prospect in a country where Michael Moore is a multi-millionaire academy award winner, Tom Hayden has been honored with the Medal of Freedom, and John Kerry came within three percentage points of being the next president.
Treason and disloyalty have gone out of fashion as political concepts. More and more, people prefer feeling loyalty to humanity as a whole, rather than to obsolete nation-states. Those who work to undermine the war effort, providing aid and comfort to America's enemies, do not actually support the establishment of an Islamic caliphate. Rather, they envision a world where states have withered away and we are all citizens of the world, ruled presumably by Kofi Annan and the UN Security Council. The United States, by virtue of being the most powerful and prosperous nation on earth, presents the greatest obstacle to this utopian vision. In reality, though, democratic (and dare I say it, capitalist) nation-states in general -- and the United States in particular -- are the only guarantors of peace and freedom that we have at present.
Charitable historians may argue that President Lincoln faced circumstances more dire than today's war on terror. The Confederate army was on the outskirts of Washington, and the North was riddled with Confederate sympathizers. Our enemies today are not primarily or even secondarily a military threat. By far the most potent weapon the enemy has is its ability to affect our political psychology and military will. American and Iraqi soldiers fight and die the battlefield in Iraq, but the purpose of the enemy is not to win an impossible military victory. Our opponents fight not for land or capital but for territory in the American and European mind and heart. Those Americans who knowingly or unknowingly enhance the enemy's potency advance a campaign to kill or subjugate all who disagree with Islamist fanaticism.
What is to be done? Mass arrests cannot be the answer; we must not destroy a nation founded on individual liberty in order to save it. Instead, we must rejuvenate the meaning of words like patriotism, loyalty, and treason. Those who believe in national self-defense have every right to use these forgotten words in public speech -- and to apply them to those for whom the shoe fits. If Tom Hayden and Michael Moore speak freely in support of America's destruction, their fellow citizens must have equal freedom to call them what they are.
Visit John Seward's blog Just Opinions.
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