(This is Part I of Restoration Weekend's symposium on the anti-war demonstrations and the Democrats’ position on Iraq. Part II will run in tomorrow's edition. In earlier versions of this piece, a transcription error led to attributing remarks made by David Horowitz to Norman Podhoretz who was not on the panel. We are sorry for this error and for any adverse effects that may have resulted from this confusion.)
David Horowitz: This year there was a remarkable event. There was a demonstration against a war or against the prospective war in Iraq which had been ratified by the idea of regime change, the idea that the U.N. resolutions had to be enforced had been endorsed by President Clinton, by both parties in Congress in 1998, and endorsed by President Bush and by both parties in Congress in November, 2002 to enforce Resolution 1441, which was the 17th U.N. resolution that Saddam Hussein disregarded, and to take down one of the most oppressive regimes of the 20th century. And there were 10 million people worldwide out in the streets; I think a million in this country. And the demonstrations in this country were particularly hard to understand in that the President of the United States, George Bush, was compared to Adolph Hitler, and the United States was denounced as the greatest terror regime in the world. I set up this panel to take a look at this phenomenon.
I know we also have the case, which is really unprecedented in American history, that I know of, of a tremendous fracture of the bipartisan foreign policy coalition. As you know, in 1947, Arthur Vandenberg, who was a Republican -- the Republican Party was an isolationist party -- broke that tradition to support Harry Truman's Cold War policies against the Soviet empire. And that bipartisanship lasted pretty well throughout the Cold War, up until 1972, including Vietnam since two Democratic Presidents brought about the tremendous involvement of American troops.
But this war, even though the Democratic Party seemed to endorse the war, or they voted for it, I think it's been pretty clear since the liberation of Baghdad that the Democratic Party has been 90-percent, certainly in its leadership, opposed to American policy. This is, in my view, very disturbing because this war on terrorism continues because of our will and resolve. The morale factor is the really most profound factor affecting the outcomes of war, so that if America has a divided will, it's going to lose. So I convened this panel to look at these issues, to look at the Left in the streets and also to look at the Left in the Democratic Party on the war issue.
We have four really interesting panelists here.
Greg Yardley is on my staff and is doing a new website, which I'll have up in the spring for me called followthenetwork.org, which will be about the Left. Greg was a Russian history major at Stanford in Graduate History and didn't see much future in an academy that's so dominated by the Left, but the really interesting thing about Greg is that five or six years ago, he was a member of the Canadian Communist Youth League, so he has an interesting perspective on this.
Michelle Goldberg is a reporter for Salon.com, which is a magazine of the Left opposed to the war, but it's also been opposed to what I call the anti-American left, the left that is led by organizations like International ANSWER, which was the biggest organizer of the peace demonstrations and as run by the Workers Road Party, which aligns with North Korea as the Bolshevik party. Michelle has written and done very good reporting for Salon on the so-called peace movement, and I've invited her because I'm really interested to hear her views on this. One of the really profound issues for a democracy is since we are built on the idea of diversity of viewpoints and protecting free speech and having a pluralist community is where you draw the line from people who pass over from vigorous dissent even to a war policy to what I would call anti-Americanism.
John Fonte is with the Hudson Institute and has written really interesting and important articles on multiculturalism and on what he calls transnational progressivism or what I would call neo-communism. It's very difficult to talk about the Left when John says, "Don't call yourselves conservatives;" well, in some sense, we are called conservatives or neo-conservatives by the liberal culture, because it is a liberal culture. Norman Podhoretz, who is now a neo-conservative, fought that label for five or six years. It was pinned on him and other so-called conservatives like him. They were "Scoop" Jackson Democrats, and Norman was even to the left of that, and it stuck because the New York Times and the Washington Post refer to you as neo-conservative. That's what you are. You don't really get to choose.
And finally, Pat Caddell is here with us. Pat actually began in Florida when he was 16 doing elections and was a key figure in the McGovern campaign, a pollster for McGovern, Hart, Kennedy, and Jimmy Carter. If you watched him on television, you’ve seen that he's been, in my view, a really vigorous voice for integrity. He feels that his party has been stolen.
So I think we're going to have a really interesting discussion, and, therefore, I’m going to stop right now and introduce Greg.
Greg Yardley: I'd like to start by thanking everyone for having me. It's been a wonderful weekend, and it's a very rare opportunity for me to speak in front of such a knowledgeable and experienced audience. I'm truly humbled.
I'd like to start with an anecdote about what I was doing yesterday afternoon. A friend of mine from Miami came up to the Breakers to show me some footage that he's taken. He's one of these new conservative activists. In the last two years, he's been going around the country videotaping antiwar protests, antiwar on terrorism protests. So this was a good opportunity to see some of his new footage.
One of the most interesting parts of this footage, which was of a recent demonstration, October 25 in Washington, D.C., he shows a book table, a book table with a couple of signs on it. One says, “Bring the troops home now.” One says, “Fight imperialism at home and abroad.” He walks up to the book table with a camera, and he scans it, and there's a number of books there, and some by Marx and Engels, a few classics by Lenin, many interesting magazines and pamphlets.
There are a couple of people behind the table selling a newspaper, and this particular newspaper was called The Militant. My friend is a bit mischievous. He walks up to those guys and he says, “Hey, are you guys Democrats?” They were appalled. First thing they said, “Ugh, no Democrats and Republicans are the twin parties of big business.” He said, “Well, what kind of people are you?” And they said, “Well, we're a revolutionary workers' party.” “Well, what is that exactly?” They said, “Well, we believe that a revolution is necessary to bring about a classless society and to transform society into a dictatorship of the proletariat.” He said, “Oh, I understand now. You guys are communists.” And the older of the two, who had finally figured out that the person on the other side of the camera was not necessarily a friend looking at him said, “You say that like it's a bad thing.”
There are communists at the antiwar on terrorism protests. In fact, those sorts of tables are present and have been present at every antiwar-on-terrorism protest since 9/11. Now, the question that we have to ask is are these people at all important. And common sense would say no, the Cold War is thankfully over, and communism has been in retreat around the world.
However, that's not the case. In fact, as ludicrous as it sounds, small communist organizations have led most of the antiwar-on-terrorism protests in America since 9/11. The primary coalition that's done this, I'm sure many of you have seen it mentioned in the news reports, is called International ANSWER. ANSWER is an acronym. It stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism. This is actually controlled, as David mentioned, by the Workers World Party.
The Workers World Party is actually a splinter group from the Socialist Workers Party, which, in turn, split long ago from the Communist Party USA. And the Workers World Party has inherited most of the politics of its predecessors.
Now, they really are a nasty bunch. The reason why the party was founded is because they thought in 1956 that the Socialist Workers Party was not being supportive enough of the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Since then, they've supported the Cuban revolution, the Vietcong, the overthrow of the Shah in Iran. They had a fair amount to do with the Attica prison riots. They applauded the killing of students in Tieneman Square. They supported Slobodan Milosevich's Serbia, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and like David mentioned, they are frequently -- they are frequent flyers between here and North Korea. A truly nasty bunch.
While in these countries, while in places like Iraq, Workers World Party leaders would participate publicly in anti-American protests in Baghdad. We have news reports of this. It's been in their own newspapers. It was in the Pathis Press. They were probably the only people at these protests who were there voluntarily. It's no wonder that in 1999 in an FBI report the Workers World Party was called a potential security threat.
How do I know the Workers World Party is behind International ANSWER? You have to read their weekly paper. You compare the leaders of the Workers World Party with the leaders of International ANSWER. You find that they have the same phone numbers. They share the same addresses. You don't need to be the greatest detective in the world to put two and two together. This, however, is often underreported.
Another big antiwar coalition that operates similarly is actually run by the Revolutionary Communist Party, a Maoist group that was formed out of the new Left in the 1960s. This group is known for staging a number of dramatic publicity stunts. In the 1970s, I think they stormed the Alamo. I don't know why. I still don't quite understand that one. Their leader lives in self-imposed exile in, of all places, France because he feels the American government is going to persecute him. I do know a bit about the etiology and the way these groups operate because, as David mentioned, I was in one for a short period. But I’m feeling much better now.
First of all, they really do believe that the revolution is coming. Like Marx said in the middle of the 19th century, it's coming any minute now.
Next, they've learned a bit from Lenin that success in a revolution requires a revolutionary party. There's going to be a revolutionary opportunity, but it's only going to succeed if their party is strong enough to lead the workers to the revolution.
I'm telling you all this because I want to stress that a primary goal of all these groups is to build their organizations. You might think that the primary goal of all these groups is to oppose American foreign policy. That's important to them. That's very important to them. They are anti-American. But the primary goal is always to recruit new members. And that's why when you go to one of these antiwar protests, you will be asked to sign a petition or buy a newspaper, and if you do that and they get your name, they will put you on a contact list, and you will be called about fascinating educational opportunities or perhaps offered to buy some books or perhaps volunteer opportunities in the future.
If you show up, you'll meet many new interesting friends. All the people around you will take a wonderful interest in you, and they'll talk politics with you. And you may find yourself enjoying this very much, and if you come back, they'll be ready to talk to you again. What you don't know is that they've had internal meetings about you, and they've been discussing the best way to slowly change your politics over time. We did this. We would talk about our contacts saying, "How can we get this person close to the communism?" "Well, he still thinks that labor unions are the best way to change society. Let's talk to him about the union bureaucracy, that sort of thing." And eventually, very much in a cult-like manner, they draw people from the periphery of these protests into their groups.
That's why they always hold protests. A lot of the liberal groups, a lot of the groups that claim to be moderate, they held their protests, and now they've stopped. They realize that there isn't much point, and they've mostly become lobby groups for the Democratic Party. Now, they realize that this president is a leader and he's not going to be swayed by a left-wing protest on the Washington Mall no matter how many people show up. The Communist organizations that run these groups really don't care if the president listens to them. They're there to recruit new members. That's the most important thing. Since their goal is to recruit, they are always trying to draw new people in, and they always will be holding protests.
The question is how many people will show up for these things and how they manage to get allies and why on earth did they manage to take such a leadership position in the protests against the War on Terrorism. And this is a serious question because many liberals, many leftists, find these little communist groups repulsive, repugnant, and they've said so publicly. Yet, time and time again, these groups still manage to take the leadership of these events. Why does this happen? There are a few reasons.
First thing, they've got a time advantage over everyone else. When the government does something, most of us stop, and we mull, and we think it over, and we try to see if it's going to work. Liberals, too, but the Workers World Party asks itself one question: "Was this initiative started by a Republican or a Democrat? If it is, we're against it." And, therefore, they begin organizing immediately.
After 9/11, the Workers World Party started organizing protests against the War on Terrorism literally before the dust was out of the sky over New York City. In the first week they were organizing, planning events, trying to get people out to protest. By the time liberals decided that they wanted to join in these protests, the Workers World Party was already in the dominant position.
Secondly, they have the manpower advantage, not so much in numbers but in the amount that they work. These groups are very small. I'm going to guess and say a few hundred at tops. But they work very, very hard. Everyone in this room works very, very hard, but these parties work even harder. They're the ones that believe, after all, that the revolution is coming and it's their hard work that will make it succeed. Some of them work 16 hours a day. In fact, most of them work 16 hours a day, and it's a simple matter of mathematics. A hundred people concentrated in one area all working 24-7 on organizing a protest are more effective than 3,000 spread out and they're both working, volunteering their time for a couple of hours a week. That's just the way it is. Because of the cult-like intensity of these groups, they literally outwork the rest of the Left.
Finally, they've got good cover. All of the really, really successful groups, the ones that have become influential, hide behind innocuous-sounding front groups. They claim to be separate from their founders, but when you take a look at the leaders of these groups, you realize that it is groups like the Workers World Party, which are pulling the strings. And if you don’t do a thorough investigation, you might be fooled by the cover. "No communists here. We're just good liberals. Don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain." That's how these groups operate, and reporters often fall for that.
And, finally, they've got the ghost of McCarthy on their side, I'm afraid. Anyone who mentions them in the press as communists gets denounced as someone who's a conspiracy theorist, as someone who's trying to stifle good old American dissent by demonizing it with a false label. In reality, their beliefs demonize themselves. But as long as calling a communist a communist conjures up images of Cold War blacklists, many people who would normally criticize groups like International ANSWER will remain silent. That's part of the reason why the Workers World Party and other small extremists run the show.
There is one final note of good news. These groups are increasingly being opposed, not so much by liberals. There are some liberals like Michelle Goldberg who has done very good work. But, in general, young conservative activists are opposing these groups. My documentary-making friend is a case in point. He wants to give campus conservatives a movie so that they can all use to help organize so they can show what the anti-War on Terrorism protests really are. Other young conservatives have started attending protests to challenge the participants and then they go and they report to others what they really saw. This is exciting stuff because you have no idea how hard it is to get a conservative student to come to a protest. It's not in their culture. But now they are starting to get involved in activism, and slowly, the truth about these groups is coming out.
Personally, I hope in the year to come, perhaps during the question period, you can ask about future protests because there are some planned. People of all political stripes, some liberals, too, will increasingly step up to denounce and disassociate themselves from the small number of American Stalinists in the antiwar movement. After all, these communists are no friends of the Democratic Party either. They despise everyone equally, all of America, both left and right. But these extremists can no longer hide behind the false front of moderation and are revealed for what they are. Thank you.
Michelle Goldberg: Hi, there. Greg, thank you for covering all the background about these organizations and saving me time. Everything he said about ANSWER is true. And while I’m flattered that he singled me out as someone who's written extensively about them, they've actually been denounced in most of the liberal press -- the Nation, Mother Jones, Slate, The Atlantic. If they're regularly referred to as peace groups in some of the mainstream media, people on the left know exactly who they are, and I think most of the intellectual leadership has opposed them at one time or another, people like Todd Gitlin, George Packer, Michael Barrybay. I can go on and on.
ANSWER has been about more for me ever since I started covering the antiwar movements in the initial stages of the organizing against the war in Iraq. And let me say that I don't think it's quite honest to call them the anti-Iraq war movement and anti-War on Terrorism movement. You all know that there's plenty of people who oppose the war in Iraq who very much want to see America pursue and defeat Al-Qaida, and some of those people are conservatives, some of them are realists, like John Meershimer at the University of Chicago. Some of them are Reagan veterans, like Lawrence Corbett, the Counsel on Foreign Relations. Some of them are people like James Baker. There are plenty of patriotic Americans who thought this war in Iraq was a terrible idea.
Anyway, Salon readers are sick of me harping on ANSWER, as I've been doing for over a year now. I think they suppose because doing so plays into the hands of people like those in this room.
There are two reasons, though, why I haven't been able to shut about ANSWER. And one of them is just a moral reason. You know, despite what conservatives might like to think, these groups oppose everything that liberals stand for. Their values are anathema to most of us.
And, secondly, there's a strategic reason. These groups allow those who support this war to dismiss its opponents as lunatic communists and ensure that their views don't have to be taken seriously. They do nothing for those of us who want an internationalist foreign policy.
There are millions of Americans who believe this war was sold dishonestly, and I'm sure that there's people in this room that if you looked in your heart know that there's something to that. If some of them had been listened to, we might not be in quite the catastrophic situation that I think we're in in Iraq right now.
Anyway, I'll start with the moral argument about why I hate ANSWER so much. You know, Greg did a good job of outlining their etiology. And as I said, they represent the opposite of liberal belief. For example, they celebrate the Chinese annexation of Tibet and the slaughter of the students in Tianenman Square. Like a good bleeding-heart liberal, I spent 2001 working as a volunteer in a community of Tibetan refugees in Northern India. After that, I spent a month traveling deep inside Tibet delivering letters to the exiles from their family and letters to the exiles' families because otherwise they have no way of communicating. And, you know, I would hate to tell my Tibetan friends that I marched under the banner of people who celebrated the Chinese attempt to destroy their heritage and essentially eradicate them as people.
Like Congressman Roger Wicker yesterday, I've been to Cambodia's killing fields, and as the RCP, the Revolutionary Communist Party, essentially denies Pol Pot's atrocities, which strikes me as morally analogous to denying the holocaust.
Now, I'm sure all of you remember that it was the great senator George McGovern who urged the United States to intervene to stop the slaughter of people in Cambodia. He begged the military to go in and end what he called Pol Pot's murderous, slaughtering regime, and he did so at a time when no one else had the courage to suggest that America return to Southeast Asia. And that's the spirit that makes me proud to be a liberal, an apologist for the Khmer Rouge desecrated.
And Saddam, of course, was as much of a murderer as Pol Pot, though most of his mass slaughters happened long ago under the watch of the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations. Many conservatives told their opponents that that alone justified the war and then scorned liberals as hypocrites for not acquiescing. But who here would've supported the war for humanitarian reasons alone? I suspect that if most of you backed the war, it was because you believed it would make America safer or maybe because you thought it would remake the Middle East.
Millions of Americans were convinced that this rationale was untrue. In fact, many liberals would've supported a United Nations-backed war waged to free the Iraqi people. United Nations' support would've ensured there were enough troops in Iraq to keep the peace and allow Iraqis to rebuild their eviscerated nation.
Few liberals doubted the righteousness of ridding the world of Saddam. They doubted the competence of the Bush administration not to make a mess of things. Can you look at what's happening in Iraq and say that we were wrong?
Okay, you know, as Greg said, one reason ANSWER's been able to dominate the antiwar movement is because they know what they think before the rest of us have even quite wrapped their mind around the policy. You know, no sooner has a president of either party opened his mouth than ANSWER's out in D.C. buying protest permits.
Iraq was a complicated issue for a lot of liberals, and, you know, ambivalence doesn't spur one to organize, which gave ANSWER a head start. Now, I really hope that you'll believe me that many of us took Saddam's genocidal sadism very seriously. Liberal human rights activists pleaded with the Reagan administration to pressure Saddam to stop massacring the Kurds. Many of us sympathized with the pleas of exiles, like Kinon McKea, who I interviewed for Salon shortly before the war. They were manipulating the U.S. government, but they were doing so to save their people from one of the most rapacious regimes on the planet.
Those who protested also believed that the administration's case for war was dishonest and its plan for occupation dangerous. It now appears, and I think it now looks like they were right, that Saddam was less of a threat than any of us previously thought. Meanwhile, hatred towards the United States is growing. From Germany to South Korea, politicians get ahead. They get the votes of their people by promising to oppose the interests of the United States, and whatever you think about the merit of that opposition, it's not good for any of us.
Many governments only cooperate with the United States now, can only cooperate by defying their own people, which does little to convince the rest of the world of our interest in democracy. Now, I agree with the Wasonian rhetoric of the President's recent speech to the National Endowment for Democracy. He said, "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty. As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment, and violence ready for export."
Those words are inspiring, but as Michael Kinsley wrote in Slate, "The eloquence would be more impressive if there were any reason to suppose that Bush thinks words have meaning." One test of meaning is the future, what the words lead to.
What is it leading to in Iraq? I'm always amazed by conservatives' faith in the power of Bush's convictions. At a panel yesterday, I heard Congressmen express confidence that Bush's fabled steadfastness made victory assured. In fact, though, the latest news from the White House looks to me a lot like cutting and running. Under attack from insurgence, the administration has announced plans to end the occupation in June. The security situation has rattled the best military in the world, but somehow the administration expects rapidly trained Iraqis to take over from drawn-down American forces.
Meanwhile, I've heard some conservatives here say that building a better Iraq for the Iraqi people isn't our responsibility. Yesterday, Daniel Pipes told a crowd, "We owed the Iraqis nothing," and he was applauded. Now, people like me suspected that that's how conservatives felt all along and that now there's some evidence that the Republican Party's newfound humanitarian internationalism is already dissipating.
It was fear of a situation like this, not hatred of America, that drove hundreds of thousands of Americans, not very different from the people in this room, into the streets last year.
My aging Jewish mother-in-law did not march up Fifth Avenue on her bad ankle because she loves Osama bin Laden or wants to see a dictatorship of the proletariat. She went because she doesn't trust Bush, she fears what he's doing to this country, and believes the war in Iraq makes her and her family less safe. There were Republicans, though not many, at these protests, many veterans, and some parents of soldiers serving in the Middle East. Groups like ANSWER may let you dismiss them all as loonies. But the people at these demonstrations have as much claim to Americanness as anyone at this conference, and they're afraid of where you want to lead this country. That probably delights a lot of you. Maybe you're thrilled to stick it to liberals after enduring eight years of Clinton. But ask yourself if it's good for any of us when half the country feels that the President has treated them, their ideals, their hopes and aspirations for America and the world with complete contempt. It's certainly not good for the people of Iraq.
I had grave doubts about this war, but I believe that now that we're there, we owe it to Iraq and the world to create a stable country that preserves the liberty of Sunni, Shiia, and Kurd and that doesn't impose apartheid on women.
But doing that, especially without allies to help, will require huge outlays of troops and money. Many liberals scorned as traders for opposing a war they thought was bad for America aren't enthusiastic about this project. But even more alarming, I think, are all the conservatives who were reluctant to pay for a war they championed and an administration that now wants to get out in time for election season.
In the latest CNN poll, 51 percent of Americans said the war in Iraq wasn't worth the price. Within that 51 percent are citizens whose concern should've been taken more seriously before the country became irrevocably embroiled in Iraq. Their support will be necessary if the United States is going to stay in Iraq long enough to keep its promises to the Iraqi people. And if the American people, feeling betrayed, forced this country to betray the Iraqis, this war will have won us nothing.
John Fonte: The ultimate goal of the antiwar movement is not to oppose the war, the Iraq war or any other war; it's to transform America, the American political system, the American way of life, the American regime. I'm using regime here meaning government and civil society, the institutions and the culture, and the way of life. So regime transformation is the goal of the Western Left, and the goal of the American Left and the Western Left. This is really the end game of global politics, which will go into the mid-, late 21st century. I'm going to talk a little bit about the antiwar movement as an organized movement, not individuals who oppose the war. And Michelle is right; there are many patriotic Americans who oppose the war, including former Reagan officials and retired military officials. But for the antiwar movement, antiwar is really a means, propaganda and agitation toward the end, and the end is transforming the American system.
Now, I see two impulses within the antiwar movement, or the American Left, the Western Left. The first has been described, as exemplified by ANSWER, described by Greg and Michelle. I'm not going to spend too much time on ANSWER. I think you've heard enough about them.
I'm more concerned with the second impulse. ANSWER is anti-American. What I'm concerned about is folks who are post-American, and I'll explain what I mean by that in a minute. ANSWER exemplifies anti-Americanism; the ACLU exemplifies post-Americanism. Just a word or two about anti-Americanism, just a few reports from the reaction to 9/11, two months afterward from the campus. These are what I call the Anti-American impulse.
Professor Barbara Foley, Rutgers University, said talking about 9/11, said, "We should be aware that whatever its proximate cause, the cause of 9/11, its ultimate cause is the fascism of U.S. foreign policy over the past many decades."
Many school administrators that acted cowardly.
An administrator at Central Michigan University told student to remove American flags from their dorms on the grounds that they were offensive.
At Lehigh University, a vice provost banned the American flag on the university bus on the grounds it's insensitive to foreign students after a public outcry of university-retracted policy.
Here's how one observer described an antiwar forum at the University of New York: "There was an anti-American hardcore America-bashing festival. The terrorist attack in the Trade Center was referred to by faculty as “the incident.” Terrorists were described as freedom fighters. One anthropology professor framed the atrocity as “an understandable Islamic response to Western imperialism.” The head of the student government said African-Americans should be suspicious of rallying around the flag and becoming tools of the ruling class."
In a letter to the editor by the former Campus Relations Committee, University of Wisconsin professor said, “Before you preach to us about the evils of terrorists of 9/11, why don't you face up to the reality that our leaders are war criminals, just as much monsters as people like Hitler or Stalin and the other monsters of the 20th century.”
Okay, I think those are the anti-American impulses; we can more or less dismiss them. Let's look at what I'm talking about, this second impulse termed post-American. What does that mean? It means, people, that it's also a root-and-branch attack on the American Constitutional system but it's much more subtle.
A way of understanding this is looking back at the Durbin Conference. Remember it happened right before 9/11. Let's go back a year before the September 11 attacks.
The wire services reported this story, that in preparation for the Durbin conference against racism, about 50 American so-called non-NGOs, non-governmental organizations, sent a formal letter to the U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson. In the letter, they called on the United Nations to, "to hold the United States accountable for the intractable and persistent problem of discrimination that men and women of color face at the hands of the U.S. criminal justice system. These groups included the American Civil Liberties Union. I'm a lot more worried about them than I am about ANSWER, Amnesty International, USA, Human Rights Watch, the Era of the American Institute from whom we had a speaker yesterday, the National Council of Churches, the NAACP, the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, and many other groups.
Their spokesman, Wade Henderson, of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights stated their demands, and this is what he said. "We have repeatedly raised these issues, our issues, with federal and state officials in the United States but to little avail. In frustration, we now turn to the United Nations." In other words, these groups, unable to enact the policies they favor through the normal processes of American democracy, American Constitutional democracy, the Congress of the United States, state government, state courts, the federal executive branch, and even the federal courts, felt it necessary to appeal to authority beyond American democracy, beyond the Constitution. This is what I call post-American, post-Constitutional, and post-democratic political activity.
As Jean Kirkpatrick put it, "There are many foreign governments and their leaders who would like to hem us in," you know, the Gulliver that we heard Senator Sessions talk about last night. "But more than a few activists here at home seek to constraint and control American power by means of elaborate multilateral processes, global arrangements, U.N. treaties, that limit both our capacity to govern ourselves and act abroad.
And President Bush stated that the key issue in the 21st century, the issue for our grandchildren, is that we're going to fight the Islamacists and we're going to defeat them.
I'm more concerned with post-Democratic arrangements. That'll be the real issue of the 21st century. I think President Bush laid it out in a State of the Union address January 28, 2003 when he said, "The course of this nation does not depend upon the decisions of others," and that is the key. Now, if these folks like the ACLU are against the war, fine. Let Congressmen elect Howard Dean president. That's operating within the process. Appealing to the United Nations, saying that we can't do things without international law, is taking yourself outside the democratic process, and that's why I use this term post-democratic, as opposed to ANSWER, which is anti-democratic. And I would list the ACLU as the poster child because they're involved in the antiwar movement. They're not out demonstrating, but they're waging, what would you call, warfare or lawfare against the American Constitutional regime. "Lawfare" is a takeoff on the word "warfare," lawfare -- l-a-w-f-a-r-e -- used by military intellectuals to mean a legal warfare against the Constitutional regime, and I'll give you one example here in Florida.
The ACLU defended the right of a Moslem-American woman to be covered from head to foot in a veil with only her eyes showing for a driver's license, for a photo, for purpose of identification, so it totally renders the whole purpose of the identification completely worthless. They argued this on religious freedom grounds. But, fortunately, the judge in this case ruled against it and threw it out. It turned out the woman had been convicted of battery against a three-year-old girl. But the fact that the ACLU would initiate this legislation shows that it's not a privileged organization but a dangerous one and one that is acting -- is much more serious in this action.
I was going to talk a little bit about the Patriot Act, which I think, though, the best thing in the Patriot Act, the best article was Heather McDonald's article in the City Journal, in which she demolishes some of these arguments by the ACLU.
So what is going on then is that post-Americanism is going to be the major issue of the 21st century after we defeat Al-Qaida and the Islamacists. It's an ideological assault really upon the American system. It's a challenge to our concept of citizenship, to a liberal democracy. If our citizen is based not on individual rights but on group rights, not on the American Constitution but an international law and transnational law, then we're moving to a different type of system. It will be the development of a new type of regime, essentially a hybrid, one that is party under the control of government, global governance, partly -- you know, there'll still be a Congress. We'll still elect people. But instead of judicial activism from American courts, they can come from international courts, from various international arrangements. So I would call this new regime, which is a threat, I think, in the 21st century, post-Constitutional, post-liberal, post-democratic, and post-American.
Pat Caddell: I'd call it the WTO, if you want an organization that runs American sovereignty. You know, sometimes I wonder why I'm here. Actually, I usually enjoyed myself. This year I enjoyed it because I finally get a platform, having been kicked off television by conservatives for apparently being too liberal, which is nothing that Bill or Hillary Clinton would say when I was tearing them up one side and down the other. So I'm not going to hesitate and I am going to try and tell with some integrity, I hope, the truth about this, first of all.
The thing that terrifies me today about this country is the split that's going on. Right now, splitting this country on the basis of you're evil and I’m good and you're evil and you're bad or whatever it is, that's going on this country. Just as I despise Hillary Clinton, I despite Tom DeLay.
Let me just say this about the Patriot Act. My thing about the Patriot Act is with the Patriot Act, 600-and-some pages of it was written or whatever number of pages, and the story of it, if you read Steve Brill's book was that James Sensenbrenner, the Chairman of the House Committee of the Judiciary, had not even seen the bill when the Attorney General was promoting it on television. No one had seen the bill. He got the bill and went crazy. He said, "Call the White House. You can't pass this bill." And so what happened is you had this interesting coalition between apparently the anti-American ACLU and people like other anti-Americans, like Bob Barn and Dick Armey and Morton and several other people, people my people would never normally get in a room with, who actually are libertarians, who actually care about personal freedom. They got in a room and tried to scale it back, and they did, which upset the Attorney General horrifically that they'd scaled it back.
And guess what happened? It went over to the Senate -- now this is the way politics really works. It went over to the United States Senate, then being run by Democrats. And Tom Daschle gave John Ashcroft back everything he wanted, so Democrats could look tough. This is a bill that came out of the Judiciary Committee 37 to nothing on the House. That's the kind of politics that aren't discussed in this country.
Now, I've got a problem with the Patriot Act. I'll tell you. This guy called Mr. Boyd. We have a little problem. Some of us are worried about anthrax in this country and some of the potential leases that could be unleashed that we're warned about. Meanwhile, down in Texas, Texas A&M, we have a professor there named Boyd, is one of the leaders of -- leading expert in the world on the plague. Not something if you grew up like I did, went to Harvard, used to listen to Firesign Theater. I don't know if any of you are young enough or old enough to remember Firesign Theater, but if you giggle, you'll remember. And about the plague, it was about a show. But, anyway, I won't get into that. But anyway, the plague; this guy spent years helping people in Asia. So anyway, he's a professor and he is recruited to help work on antidotes to the plague. We don't have any in this country because we don't have enough plague to study. So he gets on a plane, goes over, gets plague from some other part of the world over in Asia, brings it back the way we always do. He's now facing 69 years in jail for life because the Justice Department, which can't catch the anthrax killer, much less if you'd hunt down terrorists, has now decided to take this leading guy because he was "sloppy," as they call it, being an absent-minded professor, with how he handled these diseases, which he brought to them. Came in the country, brought it in, took it over to the labs in the federal government to study, and he's now facing a 69-count indictment for being a terrorist, though he was in actually fact helping the government.
So you know what the reaction's been to the rest of the biochemical scientific community? They want nothing to do with helping the United States government deal with finding antidotes because they say these regulations are so tough, the first thing that gets done is it gets turned on them. Now, how insane can you be? That's my problem with the Patriot Act, among other things, that we're managing to get the people we need to save us who aren't even helping us now because they're likely to be prosecuted whenever some FBI agent decides it's in his interest.
I never meant to get off on this. Maybe it's because I’ve been sick for two days. But I'll tell you that it bothers me greatly because in this country, the war, I was a great supporter of the '91 war. For those of you who don't know, I was on the board at West Point for three years. I started the Army War College, the National War College. I happen to love the Army very much. My father was in the Coast Guard, which I also love. But I happen to believe in our troops very much. I was for taking Saddam Hussein out in 1991. I would've taken him out in 1993, 1995, '99. I'd take him out any time on the right grounds.
But I think going to war on the basis of the wings of a lie is a terrible mistake. I think switching -- going after, for any of you heard me the other night, I was like some Americans who think that 3,000 Americans who died, I'd want Osama bin Laden's head on a platter, and I think most Americans do, not a bait-and-switch for a bunch of neo-cons.
You want to talk about dangerous people, people that have an agenda that I don't understand exactly. I think conservatives are legitimate people, and this is where I disagree with David. I think there's a pathology with neo-conservatives. Any time anyone wants to hear me, they'll ask, for which no one should want to, but I'm going to tell you, and I think that they basically believe that their agenda was to go after Iraq and create what they wanted to in the Middle East without regard to what happened on 9/11. And, you know, I resent deeply what happened because they were lies.
And I was knocked off the air for three weeks during the war because I wasn't considered pro-American to be on television. That scares the hell out of me worse than anything. I was told flat to my face. And I support the troops. I support the troops so much that I thought sending the Marines up on the right flank, up the Euphrates Valley was insane when the fact that they didn't have the heavy armor to protect them the way the third division did because all they had were those things, the landing vehicles that are not armored that they were going up in where the third divisions, the heavy division going up with tanks, and that's why we had three times as many Marine casualties on the way to Baghdad as we had Army casualties. And I thought somebody ought to say something about that. I don't consider losing young American lives, as brave as those people are. As I like to say, they don't come from Hollywood, and they don't come from the places where the people in politics are. They come from places like Palestine, West Virginia and East L.A., Los Angeles, and that's where the troops are.
So I guess maybe we can say we're for them, but we really don't have to be worried about it. Well, I do, and I want to tell you something. There's a lot wrong with this country, but there's a lot right with it. I'm worried about my own party because it has this evil or this psychosis about the President being the devil incarnate. And as I said the other day, no, that's in the Vice President's office.
And I worry about it very much because it colors their thinking, just like I find it on the right, which is to go on the other side and criticize anybody on the left. They find conspiracies everywhere as though I was back in the 1960s in my Harvard dorm room listening to people. I believe in an America where people can still talk to each other. And I was glad that I thought these things -- I listened to Lindsey Graham's comments, which I thought was fantastic, about social security and how it failed black males in this country. I'd never heard that before. I thought that was terrific. And I thought, my God, somebody ought to be talking about that on the Left, too. I mean that is wholesale robbery. We're not allowed to do that. We're not allowed to [process what I've always liked] about these groups, but I'll tell you, in this country what's scaring me is we'll stop having this or stop doing this. We're starting to have this thing where everyone's got to wear a uniform and you're good or bad on that basis, and I don't like it. I don't approve of it. So thank you.
David Horowitz: As somebody who has often been called a neo-conservative, I'm going to take a privilege here. My position is that the entire antiwar movement, not just the major part of it led by ANSWER, is led by anti-American communists. I will show you why in a second. While there are very loyal and intelligent dissenters in the Left, we're the liberals in this country. The intelligent dissenters, like the editors of Salon, like Michael Barobay and Todd Gitlin are irrelevant; intellectually, they're interesting, and I like to listen to what they have to say, but they are irrelevant.
In December,2002, which is four months before the war, there was a meeting of leftists who were concerned about International ANSWER and Ramsey Clark and these North Korean wackos leading a movement. I actually enjoyed it when International ANSWER was the only game in town because that clarifies things even though I understand that there were plenty of people on the left who disagree with them.
This meeting was convened -- and the New York Times supported this meeting under their story, "The peace movement becomes moderate." It was held in the offices of People for the American Way. And they created in those offices a new organization called United for Peace and Justice. And as somebody who grew up in the communist universe, when I hear an organization that's for peace and justice, all my antennas go out. The person they picked to head United for Peace and Justice did hold maybe those February demonstrations, maybe January. They are the only significant competing umbrella group for the antiwar demonstrators.
The head of that is Leslie Kagan, a Stalinist in the 1960s, when we were all new Leftists and anti-Stalinists, a lifelong communist who was a member of the communist party after the fall of the Berlin wall, and very well known, by the way, head of the communist public radio network, and I'm using these words with considerable thought. Leslie Kagan has been in everything from Palestinian causes, but her heart is with Fidel Castro, and she had a propaganda organization for Fidel, and that is what she's known for.
Another key organizer of this group, the Medea Benjamin, whom some of you may have seen on television and organized the San Francisco demonstrations, lived in Cuba for five or six years. I've been on the radio with her. She's a communist. You ask them a direct question, and they always go to their propaganda line and never answer it.
What I’m going to say here is the way you judge people is what they do on the ground, the actual political acts, not their rhetoric. After the liberation of Iraq, after the prisons for the 4- to 12-year-olds were open, when the American forces were under attack by Al-Qaida and by Saddam's Sunni base, she, Medea Benjamin, and Leslie Kagan, tried to organize the group to get American soldiers to defect. This is anti-American. I don't want to dress this up as post-American, and forgive me, John, on this. This is anti-American, and this is what is leading the peace movement.
Christopher Hitchens wrote a really good piece, and actually, Michelle has been denounced by these people for writing honest pieces about the war even though Michelle and I will agree on what I’m saying and what I've just said.
Christopher Hitchens laid into the people for marching under the banners of anti-American, pro-Saddam, pro-North Korean, pro-Castro communists. Alexander Coburn, who George Will once said should be put in the Smithsonian as the last Stalinist, attacked Christopher by saying, "This is exactly the way the same people ran the Vietnam antiwar demonstrations," which is true.
There were two groups. One was led by the Trotskyites; the other was led by the Communist Party U.S.A. The third, a really important group are Maoists. The slogan was, "Bring the troops home." And if you think about it, when you were on the field of battle and you bring the troops home immediately, what you're doing is losing the battle, and you're letting the enemy win. A lot of people wanted the troops home for good reasons. George McGovern, for instance is and has been all his life an incredibly confused man, but he was a pilot and a heroic one in World War II, and I think he did whatever he did with the best intentions.
I remember Pat Buchanan say when I was on Crossfire with Joe Kline. It was in the antiwar movement. And Joe was saying the same thing that Michelle is saying and that Pat is saying. You know, we disagree. We weren't for the communists winning, and Pat said, "You know, I saw the demonstrations. There were all those Vietcong flags there." That's the flag of the communists. "Why didn't you tear them down or not march with those people?" which is a really good question that Joe couldn't answer and none of us could've.
What was the result of this? "Bring the troops home." Teddy Kennedy led a political coup called Watergate, which took Nixon out after we signed a truce in 1973. Our troops were withdrawn. The Soviets and the Chinese continued to supply the North Korean armies. After Watergate, the Democrats came in, a radical group of Democrats, and they immediately voted to cut off the aid, which pulled the plug on the regimes in Cambodia and South Vietnam, and the result was two-and-a-half million people were slaughtered.
Fast forward to now, to me, the parallels are clear and frightening. There could be no U.N. security counsel reason. We know why because France and Russia were supplying Saddam; they are Saddam's allies. They supplied his poison gas factories, his bunkers, his nuclear reactor. They had billions of dollars in contracts with him, and they would never vote to go to war.
If the United States had not gone to war on the deadline set, two things would've happened. First of all, what do we have? Two hundred thousand troops sitting in the desert heat abroad for a year anyway. What would've happened was that Saddam would've been enormously strengthened. We know he has these programs, chemical biological nuclear programs. He would've supplied Al-Qaida. We never wondered if Fidel Castro was a threat the minute he began putting communists in the government. When did these guys start doing the Islamic things, slogans of radical Islam, talking about Jihad, supplying suicide bombers to the Al-Qaida, the supporting terrorists, and the West Bank? Because Yasser Arafat is Saddam's chief ally. Why the first George Bush and Jim Baker ever got behind him after the war when he opposed us, I don't know. What we would've done if we had stopped there would be to have empowered our enemies, and we would've paid here. It's exactly the analogy.
When Michelle brings up George McGovern’s call for intervention in Cambodia, how can you intervene after Watergate, after the whole antiwar movement has created an entire syndrome in America where America's the bad guy, and any intervention we do is bad? We couldn't put an army in the field for more than four days as late as 1990. Why do you think Saddam is in power? Why do you think George Bush is trying to get out by June? Yes, I agree, we should not, but you've got a whole Democratic Party who has done nothing since the day of the liberation of attack but attack the credibility of the President of the United States, which means our ability to wage the war. This is sabotage. This is not dissent. Sabotage is not dissent, and these are your political acts.
If we lose here, there will be tens of thousands of casualties, and they will not just be in Iraq. They will be in New York and Washington. I guarantee it. If you've read the Bush National Security Strategy, the point is if you have terrorist regimes, and General Macinary was pointing this out, like North Korea and Iran, which can build nuclear weapons, and Saddam, who was trying to and could build biological and chemical weapons, they are going to give them to terrorists who will use them in the United States. We do not have a choice. We have to win the war or suffer tremendous casualties.
Part II continued in tomorrow's edition.