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Marching to Yesterday’s Drums
Liberal denial…
[Gordon Cucullu] 10/7/05

Peace marches, anti-war tirades, diatribes against the president, hand-painted signs, banal slogans, and costumed demonstrators. Sounds familiar? It does to those of us old enough to remember the anti-Vietnam War hysteria of the late 1960s. But no, it’s just the latest outburst from vocal, frustrated, blame America first leftists. They are trying desperately to regain their power from those days when they pushed the country into abandoning an ally – admittedly a less than perfect one - to merciless communist invaders. America shamefully withdrew support for South Vietnam. It was a strange, convoluted ideological union of Nixonian realpolitik and pro-communist appeasement. The North Vietnamese immediately overran the country with massive military forces. They instituted the classic communist political control that resulted in hundreds of thousands of executions, and in imprisonment and oppression for the surviving population. So-called Boat People risked rape, robbery, torture, and murder as they sailed the hostile waters of the South China Sea fleeing communist oppressors.

Gordon Cucullu

Former Green Beret lieutenant colonel, Gordon Cucullu is now an editorialist, author and a popular speaker. Born into a military family, he lived and served for more than thirteen years in East Asia, including eight years in Korea. For his Special Forces service in Vietnam he was awarded a Bronze Star, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Presidential Unit Commendation. After separation from the Army, he worked on Korea and East Asian affairs at both the Pentagon and Department of State as well as an executive for General Electric in Korea. His first major non-fiction work, Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin, is based in large part on his extensive experience in Korea and East Asia as a governmental insider and businessman. [website] [go to Cucullu index]

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Today, in another bizarre marriage of ideologies that produce aberrant offspring, an element of the surviving realpolitik wing (the “paleoconservatives”) still resist American intervention in Iraq and the Middle East. They are joined but overshadowed by the more vocal and considerably nastier hard left anti-war leaders and the useful idiots who make up their sign-carrying crowds. As has been extensively documented in David Horowitz’s, a large percentage of the people screaming for immediate US withdrawal from Iraq and condemning George Bush and American intervention of any kind, even for self-defense, have credentials dating back to the anti-war days of the 1960s.

I was near Montpelier, VT making some presentations to conservative audiences on foreign policy and Islamofascist issues and was unaware of the “peace” demonstrations until we drove past one on the way to the airport. While parts of Vermont can be a time warp, this was almost a caricature of a Sixties peacenik demonstration, led by aging, overweight ex-hippies in costume. Man, these people have aged. And not well, for the most part. I suppose the mirror doesn’t do favors for most of us, but they looked as Don Meredith used to say, like they’d been “rode hard and put away wet.”

Interestingly, with the exception of very young children in strollers there were very few young people to be seen. Later, on the flight leg from Washington Dulles to Jacksonville, my accidental seat companion, who had come to DC to participate in the march, told me that she guessed that fewer than 50% of the peace demo crowd in DC had been young people. I expect that absence of the draft in favor of the all-volunteer military – a significant change from the conscription days of Vietnam – has dampened the anti-war fervor among young people. At that time we suspected that the issue was more personal safety than moral outrage. Another strong probability is that young people are different today. They are better informed, they have more faith in God and country than their Boomer parents and grandparents did. Just as youth rebelled against institutions in the 1960s, youth is doing it again now. Hence despite hysterical rhetoric from the left we continue to see soldiers re-enlist at record rates, like the late Casey Sheehan. These soldiers love their country, serve valiantly, and if necessary sacrifice their lives for a mission they believe in. Their dedication and motivation is incomprehensible to the loony left who look for conspiracy or coercion to produce such an effect. When I mentioned the reenlistment numbers my seat mate simply shook her head in denial. “That’s not what I heard,” she said, in dismissive disbelief.

We briefly discussed her views about the war. She is a mid-level professional who yearns strongly for the tranquility of peace and abhors the necessarily ghastly aspects of war. Her analysis, unfortunately, has gone no further. Though she expresses horror at the number of casualties he is unable to place losses into long-term perspective. History for many like her begins with their first memories. References to earlier wars and the grievous losses suffered in places like Normandy, Korea, and Iwo Jima met with a blank stare. Forget mentioning Vietnam because that sets off pre-programmed meltdown. Noting that prior to Rudy Guiliani winning the mayoralty of New York the murder rate was about 2,500 annually made no impression. The loss of a single soldier, she claimed, was not worth the gain.

Early on we had to go through a predictable litany of “Bush lied; soldiers died.” Then I requested that we shelve personal attacks for a moment and look at other aspects of the issue. As is the case with much of the rank and file of these demonstrations, emphasis is on feelings and emotions, not clear analytical thinking. When asked directly if Iraq was better off with our without Saddam Hussein she reluctantly agreed that “without” was preferable, but that it “could have been done in a better way.” She was clueless as to what such a course might have been but is convinced that “war is not the answer.” Results, it seems, are not as important as “how we got into it.” It was clearly in her mind a “quagmire.” She would not back off this point.

I mentioned that in a conference call with General Casey a few days previously he said how stunningly different reality on the ground in Iraq was from media coverage in the States. I got a headshake in return. With this woman and her fellows we know that the MSM has succeeded in getting its message across. When pressed, definition of a quagmire eluded her. It seemed as if she was simply impatient for an end to it all. America’s fast food preoccupation translated into foreign policy, I suppose. As far as elections, constitutions, and freedom, these optimistic developments were suspect in her eyes because they were “imposed by America” on reluctant Iraqis. Besides, I was told, there might be civil war in the future. Would not a precipitous withdrawal of US presence and support trigger such a civil war, I queried? The concept flummoxed her.

This was a nice, reasonably well educated woman who I am convinced is well-meaning if terribly misguided. I also suggest that she represents a more activist wing of a large portion of the American people. These are ordinary people whose support for the war tends to blow in the wind, largely influenced by the incessant anti-war propaganda barrage they endure from conventional media, principally television. In an amusing aside, my companion superciliously told me, when I happened to mention that I am on Fox News occasionally, “I never watch Fox.” Turns out she gets her news from “McNeil-Lehrer.” When I asked had not McNeil long ago retired, she replied that she still calls it by its original name out of nostalgia. At that point further conversation became clearly uncomfortable and irrelevant. We spent the rest of the brief voyage discussing non-controversial trivia.

Sure, these people are swamped in propaganda. But what of the contrary view? Other than electronic media such as Front Page Magazine, talk radio, and the Internet where is the official response? I have to lay a lot of this problem – lack of informed communication - on what I have consistently criticized as the Bush administration’s poor track record on public diplomacy. The American public is not being told what it already knows: that this is in fact a war against fundamentalist, fanatic Moslems who have an ideological proclivity if not a requirement to kill us, for example. Instead we get pabulum about Islam being a religion of peace. We eschew any element of sensibility in our defenses. For example, while being told on the one hand that “air travel is safer,” we see blatant security flaws by an unwillingness to profile a potential terrorist. TSA screeners get kudos for searching grannies and fired for searching Moslems. After an elaborate kabuki of a 911 Commission all we see are boxes re-arranged on organizational charts. Meanwhile desperate military officers tell of Able Danger intelligence reporting being suppressed, ignored, or denied.

Moreover, there is what seems almost an obsession in this administration to excuse, rationalize, or ignore transgressions made by former President William Clinton. Once or twice might be excused but the Bush administration not only covers up for the Clinton administration but actually promotes the man, giving him a dignity as an ex-president that he neither earned nor deserves. It is puzzling to the extreme, especially when outstretched Republican hands come back severely bitten by those they try to feed. Worse, this policy of blanket excuse is at odds with our national security on a number of levels. By excusing or refusing to investigate previous failures or mistakes we risk repeating them. By not fixing what is broken we allow further penetration by our enemies through our admittedly porous defenses. Moreover, by pretending that the previous administration was efficient, well intentioned, and effective, we thwart our efforts to win the war and encourage airhead peaceniks to greater excesses.

Sometimes one has to wonder if anyone in this country other than the brave few who are fighting for us and those of us who support them unequivocally, understand that we are a nation at war. We still have time to straighten ourselves out; but not much of it. tRO

Curious about North Korea? Learn more in Gordon’s best-selling book Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin became the Evil Twin, Lyons Press available at bookstores now.

copyright Gordon Cucullu 2005




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