- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

The California response to the terrorist attacks confirms that not even the mass murder of Americans is capable of altering groups that call themselves advocates of peace and justice but are really partisans of appeasement and unworthy of attention from policymakers at any level.
The self-styled anti-war efforts are centered in the Bay Area, home to left winger and former Rep. Ron Dellums and now to Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress to oppose the resolution authorizing the president to use military force.
California Peace Action, a 35,000-member group, is pushing for a "non-violent" approach against any military action. They want to use international courts as a more principled response. Andrew Page, the group's northern California political director, told reporters:
"To expose these terrorists for what they are and to let the world look at them and scorn them is the way to really take away their power." Any military action, he said, is "just the wrong approach."
The Peninsula Peace and Justice Center staged a rally similar to those during the Persian Gulf conflict 10 years ago. Rallies have also been held in San Francisco. University of California-Berkeley Professor Michael Nagler is hosting a teach-in called "Beyond Violence: Exploring Alternatives to War."
These developments are perfectly predictable, entirely understandable and, as far as national policy is concerned, totally without significance.
The notion that international courts can shame mass murderers into repentance and take away their power descends to levels of absurdity seldom if ever equaled. Those who believe that attacking America is a religious duty, gains them additional points in the afterlife and who are willing to sacrifice themselves in order to murder more Americans, will not be persuaded by any court, nor by any argument. Their actions are the violence that is inherent in the system, as it were. And the notion that a response to the mass murder of 6,000 innocent civilians can avoid force recalls the maxim that everything has limits except human stupidity.
Policymakers, the media and the public should understand that what we are dealing with here is a fundamentalism of the left as rigid as anything in rural Sudan or Afghanistan. In this fundamentalism, America is an evil, capitalistic place. Whenever America acts in the world, this movement immediately mobilizes, launching slogans such as "Food not Bombs," and "Stop the U.S. War In Central America," or wherever. The movement is not anti-war, in the larger sense. It is only against the military campaigns of the United States.
The war in Vietnam, for example, continued after American withdrawal, but without a peep of protest from the supposedly anti-war ranks. Fidel Castro's colonial campaigns in Africa touched off no demonstrations. During the 1970s and 1980s, the call for a "nuclear freeze" meant American weapons, not those of the Eastern Bloc. This movement is not only one-sided but reactionary.
California Peace Action, the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center and other groups have not, for example, held rallies against terrorism, either here or abroad. Neither have self-styled progressive professors at U.C.-Berkeley held teach-ins or seminars for foreign students on themes such as "Beyond Violence: Peaceful Alternatives to Attacks on Innocent Americans." In these quarters, only American leaders need moral instruction. The American response to terrorism draws more wrath than the murderous act itself.
In such critical times, policy-makers, the media and the public need to beware of false advertising. To translate from the politically correct lexicon of the left, anti-war means anti-American, justice means appeasement and peace means pacifism. The record of pacifism, appeasement and anti-Americanism in halting aggression and promoting justice is not exactly a model worthy of consideration.
The freedoms of American democracy allow all ideas to be heard. But not all ideas have the same value. The pacifist, anti-American left may call itself a peace movement, but it has nothing to say to those who must deal with the mass murderers of innocent American citizens. National leaders should get on with the job, by any means necessary.

Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley writes about California politics from Sacramento.

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