Are you behind the president, in favor of using force to disarm Saddam Hussein, willing to share the risks of combat nationally and personally – and thoroughly rattled by the huge turnouts around the world for the anti-war rallies of Saturday, Feb. 15?
Have some therapy.
Don't try to dismiss the demonstrators as "the usual suspects." The motleyness of many of them may have indeed inspired an agenda-free 8-year-old in New York to exclaim to his mother, "Mom, this place is filled with freaks!" But drop that line. There were also plenty of normal, sincere, employed, sexually untroubled, freedom-loving and pro-American members of those multitudes.
Live with it. You don't have to denounce them, demean them or question their wholeness as human beings.
And don't quarrel with their numbers; even though major media have a mathematical astigmatism that always – yes, ALWAYS – assigns greater numbers to liberal turnouts than to those right of center. Accept the count and accept the day as an effective registration of their indignation.
Those people who devoted their time, money, energies and bodies to the marches and rallies around the world are not necessarily communists, fascists, Bush-bashers, Saddam-lovers, America-haters, terminally idealistic, naïve or evil.
They are merely wrong.
They are catastrophically wrong. Peace movements do not prevent wars. Peace movements CAUSE wars. Peace movements, particularly those with good turnouts, convince dictators the other side has no stomach for a fight, even if attacked.
The late Adolf Hitler looked at England in the latter half of the 1930s and saw the crowds of young Englishmen taking the "Oxford Pledge," which defiantly proclaimed, "Nothing is worth dying for!" and "We refuse in any circumstances to fight for King and Country." Meanwhile their American counterparts were declaring, "We pledge not to support the government of the United States in any war it may conduct."
Peace movements embolden aggressors. They also depress the overwhelming majority of people who don't march.
There's something powerful about a steady screenful of people from all over the country and the world screaming and warning your country not to do what you earnestly feel MUST be done. This effect is multiplied by a media mostly in favor of the marchers.
An unspoken but universally understood order issues itself forth. "The marchers will deliver the crowds. The media will deliver the coverage. And together we'll isolate, intimidate and eviscerate the national majority. We'll cut their heart out and lay it on a blanket alongside their liver and their guts."
Lost is the mathematical smallness of the "movement." Found is a fraudulent force that says to many onlookers susceptible to the forces of human nature: "Dear me. I didn't realize we were dealing with such a tidal wave of opponents. Perhaps I'd better rethink my desire to disarm Saddam Hussein or, at least, shut up!"
To this day most Americans believe the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive in 1968 was the communist assault that broke American and South Vietnamese resistance in Vietnam. The Tet Offensive was an unmitigated disaster for the communists; but the resultant media play in the United States made it LOOK like the final communist victory. Interesting stuff.
If you favor anything except the coerced disarming of Saddam Hussein, you probably give yourself an A in humanism, but I give you straight F's in history, reality and common sense.
The peace movement labeled my side "pro-war" during Vietnam. Who can possibly be pro-war? I certainly didn't feel "pro-war." I was strongly, however, in favor of defending South Vietnam against North Vietnamese communist aggression. And I'm sorry we couldn't do it.
If we had, Vietnam today would likely be a dynamic democracy, like South Korea and Malaysia, whose communist aggressors WERE successfully repelled.
Please don't let those throaty mobs convince you you're guilty of wanting to "Beat Iraq," "Conquer Iraq" or "Bring Saddam Hussein to his knees."
Say what you really mean, which I strongly suspect goes something like "I want to remove Saddam's ways and means of making other people miserable – and frequently making them dead!"
Ask me what I think of the United Nations and I'll give you a cryptic answer: "1937!"
In 1937 Mussolini's Italy invaded Ethiopia. The emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, the Lion of Judah himself, appeared before the League of Nations – the one the present United Nations was SUPPOSED to have improved upon – and, speaking in flawless French, appealed to the assembled statesmen representing the "conscience of the world" to come to the aid of his embattled nation.
"If you don't," concluded Emperor Haile Selassie in language much more diplomatic than this, "you're worthless."
The Italian delegation walked out of the Geneva conference hall. The delegates did nothing to resist the blatant, undisguised, undenied and unapologized-for invasion of Ethiopia. Italy took Ethiopia. The League of Nations disappeared like an Alka-Seltzer tablet under Niagara Falls.
And that, good friends, brings us precisely to where we are today.
The French welcome American armed might every time we're liberating them. The Russians accepted every droplet of the massive military aid we sent them at tremendous loss of American Merchant Marine life after their "ally," Adolf Hitler, attacked them in June 1941.
And the Germans of today are delighted that America, at great cost in lives and materiel, changed their regime from Nazi to democracy.
And all of those ingrate cowardly hypocrites shower America's face with their spittle as they rush to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and open-heart massage to a dictator like Saddam Hussein, proven to be DOUBLE the aggressor Italy was in 1937 and vastly worse in the murder and torture department than even Hitler was known to be when World War II started in 1939.
A New York Journal-American columnist named Arthur "Bugs" Baer, wrote about some long-forgotten United Nations disappointment in its earliest days: "Gee, fellows. Do something quick, or put the brewery back!"
I second the emotion.
And, by the way, is it conduct too unbecoming a columnist to note that the anonymous 8-year-old child mentioned at the top of this screed is my grandson! I mean the one who said of the New York peace rally when he and his parents first got there, "Mom, this place is filled with freaks!"
His quote as they were on their way home went like this: "There BETTER not be a war, because I never want to see those people gather together again!"