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Today’s Lesson: Peace at Any Price By: Joseph J. Sabia
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 24, 2002


Cornell University's Anti-War Coalition has begun a series of "teach-ins" designed to whip up campus opposition to the war in Iraq. The appeasement crowd is following the instructions of former Cornell University Trustee Dan Lifton, who, after the September 11 attacks, proclaimed:

"Historically, a focus of the '60s teach-ins at Cornell and elsewhere was to gather and disseminate facts that advocated a then very unpopular position: a call to stop the Vietnam war. Those in the majority did not need teach-ins to defend that war. Today, the unpopular position that needs the support of teach-in expertise is to oppose the use of military force…A more traditional teach-in would help us understand both the futility and immorality of a military response. A violent U.S. reaction that kills innocent lives will only convert more victims of past American oppression to extremism while simultaneously killing uniformed American youth for naught. A more traditional teach-in would help inform us with arguments to slow the drumbeats of war."

As Lifton freely admits, academic teach-ins have nothing to do with teaching and everything to do with indoctrination. The veil of objectivity is dropped as professors peddle their wacky anti-American conspiracy theories to a bunch of ill-informed teenagers. The "Why War?" teach-in, held on October 22, was no different.

Dozens of fliers adorned the entrance to the teach-in, including a large poster stating "How Would You Spend $200 billion: provide 85.4 million children with healthcare or go to war with Iraq?" Why does it never occur to these people that their big government dreams will never materialize if we permit our enemies to destroy us?

Another poster at the entrance was entitled "U.S. v. Iraq: A Primer" and contained the following table:

  U.S. Iraq
Possesses nuclear capabilities Yes No
Has used chemical weapons against own citizens Yes Yes
Percentage of nation's GDP spent on military 2.8% 2.2%
Largest single exporter Canada U.S.
Number of foreign regimes toppled by nation last year 1 0
Number of foreign governments attacked by nation in past decade at least 4 0

The flier closed with the statement "Maybe it's not Iraqi Militarism we should be worried about." First, what chemical weapons has America used on its citizens? Tobacco? Or is this about arsenic in the water? Second, the regime that America toppled last year was the Taliban, which sponsored the September 11 attacks. Given that the above table is supposed to highlight nefarious actions by the United States, we can only conclude that the anti-war coalition has some sort of sympathy with the Taliban regime. Finally, the idea that the United States, a free republic, is somehow morally equivalent to a brutal, savage, oppressive, totalitarian state like Iraq is obscene. Let these people try to hold anti-war teach-ins at Baghdad University and see how long they remain alive.

The anti-war protesters also highlighted the quotes of America's prominent useful idiots on the political right. Pat Buchanan's statement that "For America, the logic of the Bush Doctrine of Pre-emptive War points to war without end" was displayed on a flier entitled "Peace: It's not just for liberals!" That's true - peace isn't just for liberals. It's also for delusional isolationists who believe that America has crossed the line from republic to empire.

The "Why War?" event began with a speech by Kenneth Clarke, a black radical who works as the Director of Cornell United Religious (Atheist) Work. Sounding like a southern preacher, Clarke wailed about the immorality of war and demanded that UN weapons inspectors resume their work. Apparently, Clarke is suffering from battered wife's syndrome -- he just can't get enough of Saddam Hussein slapping America around.

Dr. John Weiss, an associate professor of history at Cornell, stated that as a veteran, he understands that "unilateral pre-emptive wars don't work." He further argued that the U.S. military secretly opposes its commander-in-chief:

"Generals are very worried about this war crisis [in Iraq], very worried. They don't want to take this on."

Our military will do whatever our civilian leaders tell it to do. In the United States, the military is not an autonomous branch of government. And the idea that the leaders of our Armed Forces are cowering in a corner, scared to death about the possibility of overthrowing Hussein is a joke. As anyone who has visited a military base since September 11 will tell you, our men in uniform are just itching for action.

Dr. Matt Evangelista, a professor of government and Director of Peace (Appeasement) Studies at Cornell, expressed anger at the Bush Administration for lumping terrorists together with terrorist sympathizers, saying:

"We should separate those who sympathize with some of the same concerns of terrorists from those who are actually willing to carry it out…We should be relying on international law and the United Nations because it's the best system we have. [By taking unilateral action] the U.S. could wreck the framework for international law."

First, if the UN is the best system we have to preserve international peace, then we all ought to be rushing to finalize our funeral arrangements. Second, how can anyone possibly describe the United States' policy on Iraq as "unilateral" when we have the support of Great Britain and Israel? At the very least, our policy is trilateral. Third, and most obvious, the United States is governed by our Constitution. We are a sovereign nation. Our Constitution, unless amended, does not permit America to be bound by some vague notion of "international law." The United States Senate must approve treaties, not the UN Security Council.

In perhaps the most outrageous speech of the day, Dr. Chip Gagnon, assistant professor of politics at Ithaca College, blamed President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush for the gassing of countless Iraqis and Iranians. He further charged that the Gulf War was fought so that Dick Cheney's former employer, Halliburton, could get rich off of oil deals. The anti-war coalition cited the Iraqi National Congress as its primary source for this claim. Three cheers for Iraqi propaganda! Apparently, it sells in the Ivy League.

Dr. Gagnon further claimed that there was no evidence of an Iraqi troop build-up to invade Kuwait. "It never happened," he proclaimed. Wow! Someone tell the people of Kuwait that Hussein's invasion was a mirage!

Later, Dr. Gagnon passionately echoed the words of Congressman Jim McDermott:

"I don't see any reason to take the administration's word on anything with Iraq. Let me close by quoting Nelson Mandela, a man we all greatly admire, 'The biggest threat to world peace is the Bush administration.'"

And with that, applause broke out among the students in attendance. This professor hates Republicans so much that he is willing to take the word of a murderous totalitarian dictator over that of our president. Such is the mindset of many in academia. During the question and answer period, Dr. Gagnon absolved Bill Clinton of all responsibility toward our foreign policy, stating, "At least [Clinton] didn't sell weapons to Iraq like Reagan and Bush." No, he just lobbed missiles at aspirin factories.

He then claimed that Jews in Israel would use the war to settle its own scores:

"It's interesting to note that Israel is one of the only nations supporting this war. Sharon's government will use the war to accomplish a lot of its goals. He will do what he could not have done before, under the cover of the war in Iraq."

The peacenik crowd reacted to this statement with wild approval. So, the Jews are leading us to war to serve their own ends? Recall Adolf Hitler's famous prophecy:

"If the international finance-Jewry inside and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations into a world war yet again, then the outcome will not be the victory of Jewry, but rather the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!"

One wonders whether Hitler's statement, if uttered by a liberal professor today, would also be met with wild applause from anti-war college students?


Joseph J. Sabia is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Cornell University.


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