- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett has begun a national campaign to promote support for the U.S.-led military campaign against terrorism and to fight the anti-American bias on college campuses.
Called "Americans for Victory Over Terrorism," the campaign's goal is to maintain the steady support for the war on terrorism as it moves forward and to challenge its critics, including professors and some elected government officials who have been publicly questioning the country's military efforts, Mr. Bennett said.
The bottom line, Mr. Bennett said, is the war cannot be won without the public's full support.
"It's your constitutional right to criticize, but when you criticize, you should be able to take the consequences of your words," Mr. Bennett said at a news conference at the National Press Club. "Your words may be responded to or be interpreted in such a way that they hurt national resolve. And if that occurs, we are going to speak back to them."
Mr. Bennett, who is also co-director of Empower.org, has recruited six scholars and former high-ranking government officials, including former CIA Director R. James Woolsey and former Assistant Defense Secretary Frank Gaffney, to push the campaign forward, especially on college campuses where campaign advisers say the attitude of "Blame America First" prevails among professors and students.
There have been more than a 100 examples of anti-American sentiment on college campuses since September 11. Professors and administrators clamped down on acts of patriotism and some told students that the United States was to blame for the terrorist attacks.
Beginning this fall, the campaign's advisers will host a series of teach-ins and lectures at universities around the country to battle the anti-American sentiment on campuses. "We're going to go to where the problem is because college campuses are where our future leaders are," Mr. Bennett said.
Other campaign advisers are William P. Barr, former U.S. attorney general; Walid Phares, a Florida Atlantic University professor; Ruth R. Wisse, a Harvard University professor; and Lawrence Kadish, founding chairman of the Committee for Security and Peace in the Middle East and the American Middle East Information Network.
Some of the campaign's initiatives include educating the public about the nature and threat of terrorist organizations and states; supporting democratic patriotism when it is questioned; and taking to task those groups and persons who fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the war.
"This is a big tent," Mr. Woolsey said. "What matters is not whether people have disagreements on other issues, have had disagreements in the past, or whether they agree on everything now. What is important now … is that we know we are in an important war, one in which the country and its values need to be supported in the long run. It will be a long war, and it will be very important to keep our thinking straight on what we're trying to do."
The campaign also will take to task elected officials who have criticized the war and President Bush. The country must stand united, not divided on the issue, Mr. Gaffney said.
"It is certainly an elected official's right and duty to be critical," Mr. Gaffney said. "But the problem then lies in how others, particularly our enemies, perceive this second-guessing, the questioning and the criticisms."


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