Communists and terrorists say that America is an “imperialist aggressor.” American leftists, anarchists and neo-Nazis agree. Those who are not so bold as to directly denounce “U.S. imperialism” prefer to undermine the president by continuous nitpicking. The latest craze has been to say that Bush lied to the American people about the Iraqi threat. Because the president’s critics do not read widely, they do not realize that evidence of an alliance between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden was published in a 1999 book authored by Yossef Bodansky, the director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. The president may not have read this book and may not know what is in it, but he was briefed on all the linkages documented in the book. And these linkages show that Saddam and Osama were united in an effort to launch a spectacular terrorists assault on America.
Some readers may remember the article I wrote six days after 9/11. It was titled “The Sudan-Iraq-Afghanistan Alliance and the Russian Connection.” Based on open intelligence sources, the connection between Iraq and al Qaeda was well established long before 9/11. Why President Bush has not referred to Bodansky’s work is unknown. But this question is worth a few lines of speculation. It is my impression that Bodansky is careful not to reveal information from U.S. intelligence sources, but freely touches upon information derived from foreign intelligence – perhaps from the Saudis and Israelis. President Bush, as a world leader, would be in a delicate position with regard to such sources. Not only would he be obliged to take care with regard to things told him privately by foreign leaders, but any facts he might assert would be assailed in the liberal press and by opposition politicians as “inventions” meant to hoodwink the American people. Bush’s enemies would demand that he reveal his sources in order to demonstrate their credibility. This he could not do.
As the political season of 2004 approaches, the president’s opponents will show no mercy when dealing with sensitive national security issues. They will second-guess the president’s strategy, they will question his motives and assail his public pronouncements as distortions. Already Bush’s ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, has suffered attacks on his integrity and has only now been exonerated by a parliamentary committee of inquiry.
What we are seeing from the left is an attempted replay of America’s defeat in Vietnam. Only the stakes are much higher than they were then. In the period 1967-1975 the freedom of Southeast Asia was at stake. Today the Free World is threatened with nuclear and biological terrorism. The enemies of freedom would like to weaken the military arsenal of the West. They accuse the American government of attempting to steal strategic resources.
In Vietnam the United States and its South Vietnamese ally defeated the communists again and again. But America’s liberal media depicted the communists as the inevitable winners. The 1968 Tet Offensive was disastrous indeed, but not for the American side. It was disastrous for the communists, who lost their best troops even as they lost the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese people. Despite its many battlefield victories, the United States was nonetheless maneuvered into ignominious retreat, into the abandonment of a proud and successful ally.
During the Vietnam War the lies of the pro-communist left became embedded in American culture and the country’s psyche. By 1971, elite perceptions in the United States were not shaped by military fact. Anti-war leftists and the liberal media assailed the U.S. government’s credibility day after day, month after month, year after year. Eventually, the public debate became confused and the government itself was discredited. Whatever the human foibles of the Nixon administration, a national security catastrophe ensued as America’s victory in Vietnam was turned into a defeat. American intelligence was gutted. Our counter-intelligence potential was utterly destroyed. The same mechanisms are at work today. The swinish anti-war multitude rises up from the mire to call for Bush’s impeachment. They assail the government’s credibility at every turn. We are bombarded with one innuendo after another.
Why is the left so determined?
Whenever the United States acts consistently against its overseas enemies, whenever it kills those who want to kill Americans, there is an outcry. The effects of this outcry can be poisonous, and government officials must be courageous indeed in the face of such vicious opposition. Try and imagine what it must be like to suffer continuous slanders, calumny and assaults on your integrity. You have to have pretty thick skin and you have to be pretty tough.
For those who want to understand the game that is being played against the Bush administration, I recommend a remarkably controversial book. It is a book that will challenge the false assumptions of two generations. It is Ann Coulter’s “Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism.”
Coulter presents facts long grasped by conscientious students of history. These facts, however, have long been damned to obscurity by the liberal media machine. Coulter’s book is a reminder of what the liberal-left position amounts to, in plain English. It is nothing less than the impulse to polemically tear down the structures and persons who seek to protect America from its enemies. This impulse is described by Coulter with one word. She calls it “treason.” Coulter’s critics will say that she is “strident,” but in reality she is passionate. They will say that she is “mean spirited,” but she writes in defense of her country against the fellow travelers of her country’s enemies. She is therefore at war, and she employs words appropriate to warfare.
The Cold War was a real war. And so is the war against terror. Those who hate the United States, who hate the government, who want to bring it down, would like us to believe that these wars are fictitious struggles against nonexistent enemies. Those who talk in this way are the same folks who assailed Sen. Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and now George W. Bush. If these people had it within their power, they would drag the objects of their vituperation before kangaroo courts, charging them with crimes against humanity. As it turns out, defending America from communists and terrorists is thought by some to be a criminal enterprise.
There is a quote in Coulter’s book that is worth sharing. It comes from Richard Nixon, who said: “When you have to call on the nation to be strong – on such things as drugs, crime, defense, our basic national position – the educated people and the leader class no longer have any character, and you can’t count on them.” Nixon added that in one crisis after another the American business and corporate elites “painted their asses white and ran like antelopes.”
It takes a lot of courage to stand up to the enemies of America. What Coulter understands is that the left’s unconscious instinct is to side with America’s enemies. The treason in this is not conscious, and may not be treason in the strict sense of the word. Yet it is a betrayal nonetheless. A person owes their country something, even if their country and its leaders are imperfect (as they necessarily are). Any sympathy toward those who hate America is inexcusable. Any effort, especially a dishonest effort, to make our enemies appear justified, or to make our defenders appear unjustified, is a betrayal. It is a betrayal because our country really is at war.
It is wise to be skeptical of power. Our own government doesn’t always do the right thing. At the same time, we must also be skeptical of the government’s critics. Are these critics lending indirect support to the enemy’s position? Opposition to the government does not automatically make one a saint. It is no guarantee of honesty. And when opposition to the government becomes indistinguishable from opposition to America, the word “treason” is not altogether inappropriate.
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