When President Bush visits Ireland June 25-26, he will be confronted by a gaggle of leftist loonies coalescing under the banner, “When Bush comes to shove.” They’re against the war in Iraq, you see.
They held no demonstrations to protest the torture and murder by Saddam Hussein over three decades; neither have they managed to get upset about human rights violations in China, the atrocities committed by various African dictators, or a host of other “evildoers,” as Mr. Bush likes to call them.
In fact, memory fails to recall any protests against military actions by the Irish left against President Clinton in Bosnia, or his ineffective missile strikes on Iraq. The Irish left, and their Continental brethren, reserve their disdain for President Bush.
A poster designed for the occasion depicts Mr. Bush with blood dripping from one hand. In the other hand, he is carrying an “American flag,” which has a dollar sign where the stars are supposed to be. He is bent over with a leer on his face.
The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, the equivalent of America’s Federal Communications Commission, has prohibited the Irish Anti-War Movement from advertising on radio and TV. That’s too bad. Everyone in a free society should not only have the right to free and paid speech, but also the right to make fools of themselves to as wide an audience as possible.
Consider these quotes from some prominent leftists (authorship and context will be held until the end for maximum dramatic effect): “European discomfort with the president, however, goes beyond the political differences that preceded and will outlast his presidency. It has, as well, a personal basis. He appears to Europeans to be ill equipped for the responsibility he bears, a kind of cowboy figure, bellicose, ignorant, with a simplistic view of the world…. ” (1)
Or, “[The president] came to Europe to persuade people that he is not the shallow, nuclear cowboy of certain unkind assessments. Said a White House spokesman … on the eve of his departure, ‘Some in Europe do not know or understand him.’ But now that the president has been among them … Europeans may think they got him right the first time.”(2)
One more, “[W]e have a president who is obsessed by the subject. [It] is his Moby Dick. Like a political Ahab, he pursues it beyond reason, beyond humanity, beyond safety. In his frustration, he spews out rage and hate, fear and falsehood.” (3)
These quotes are not about President Bush and Iraq. They are from the 1980s and were directed at Ronald Reagan and his policies to win the Cold War and liberate Nicaragua from its communist dictatorship. But the same things are being said by today’s leftists about President Bush and his efforts to liberate Iraq and expand democracy beyond Israel to the rest of the Middle East.
Doesn’t the Irish left care about human bondage? When the list of the groups cosponsoring the demonstrations is considered, none is noted for promoting freedom. They include the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Green Party, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee (that means the terrorist Palestinian leadership, not the Jews in Israel who are their murderous targets), the CPSU (which used to stand for the Communist Party Soviet Union but is not spelled out on the Web page of the Irish Anti-War Movement) and other rabble.
President Bush and the United States are easy targets, especially for those who have yet to pay the price or bear the burden of freeing others from their political shackles. Does the Irish left mean the world would be a better place with Saddam Hussein still in power? If not, how did they plan to get rid of him? By dropping more ineffective U.N. resolutions on one of his palaces?
This week’s anti-Bush demonstration may be the left’s last gasp. They worry American resolve and action will undermine their influence. It has apparently escaped them it already has. They failed spectacularly in the 1980s when they protested the introduction of U.S. missiles in Europe to counter a Soviet buildup. That “nuclear cowboy” Ronald Reagan thought it better to win. He did and they lost. They remain losers today.
(1) Michael Mandelbaum, Foreign Affairs, “America and the World 1985”
(2) Mary McGrory, The Washington Post, June 10, 1982
(3) Anthony Lewis, the New York Times, March 24, 1986
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.