- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 canceled a number of events worldwide, including the planned World Bank-International Monetary Fund meetings scheduled to take place in D.C. at the end of September. Most rational people understood why the meetings had to be canceled, but not the "professional protesters" who were gathering in D.C. to trash the city in the name of peace and justice. Many were quite angry that they had lost the target of their mindless violence.
Fortunately for these protesters, they are nothing if not resilient. With no IMF-World Bank to protest, they immediately switched gears to denounce the United States and burn our flag. A flag that 100,000 Americans a day are buying to honor the victims of Sept. 11 and show their belief in our nation. The protesters burned our flag, they say, to protest the upcoming war on terrorism. I beg to differ.
I have often thought that many in these protest groups would rather protest life than live life. That they bounce around from one cause to another, and one decade to another, because if they pause long enough to take a look in the mirror, they will see a wasted life spent running from responsibility. That they will see a human being who never quite fit in with society or was never willing to do the hard work to get to a position where he or she could effect real change say in the military or the police and fire departments.
So, rather than evaluate a life wasted, or responsibility shunned, they attach themselves to the fringe of any and all protest movements, and fool themselves into thinking they are making a difference or are warriors for change.
The fact is that none of them are warriors and many of them are outright frauds. Warriors are the courageous men and women who serve in our Armed Forces and who are lining the ramparts of liberty and preparing for battle, even as these protesters denounce everything they represent.
An example of how detached some protesters are from reality, or how they view it as a game to be played until something better comes along, was in evidence recently on the waters outside of Vandenberg Air Force base. There, a group of Greenpeace activists tried to disrupt a test missile launch for the proposed National Missile Defense system, (a system we need now more than ever in light of the attacks of Sept. 11) by taking inflatable boats into restricted waters near the launch site.
They took this action hoping and expecting to be arrested. Another misdemeanor badge of honor to brag about as they tool around the world on daddy's inheritance. Except there was only one small problem. The government is charging them with a felony, not a misdemeanor. Whoops. That's no fun.
As was reported in the press, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles stated that the protesters warranted felony charges because they knowingly proceeded into a federally restricted marine area, delaying the missile launch and endangering the safety of the protesters and those sent to arrest them including a helicopter crew who had to medivac two protesters who jumped into the ocean and were suffering from hypothermia.
Again, the protesters were hoping to get arrested, held for a few hours and then released in time to be home for dinner and pats on the back by the international protest community. That's the way the game is supposed to be played. Upon learning that they were being charged with a felony, they expressed shock and outrage. How dare the government really hold them accountable for endangering lives and breaking the law. Why, some of the protesters may not have even known what they were protesting.
If the government is successful in their prosecution, the protesters would face a maximum sentence of six years in prison, and fines of $250,000. While that is the least we can hope for, I fear it will have no effect on slowing their mindless tactics or movement.
If the loss of almost 6,000 innocent souls cannot convince these "professional protesters" that evil exists in the world and it is marshalling its forces against civilized humanity, then I don't know what will.
That said, I have no doubt that the terrorists will welcome any allies that delay or cast aspersions upon the implementation of justice.

Douglas MacKinnon is press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole and a former Pentagon official.

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