As our war against terrorism progresses toward victory, the anti-American Americans are beginning to crawl out of the woodwork. You can always recognize them because whenever anything bad happens anywhere in the world, they blame America first.
Their role model is "Hanoi" Jane Fonda, who sided with the enemy during the Vietnam War. Who can forget that photo of Hanoi Jane sitting at a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft battery, pretending to shoot down U.S. planes? I can't and despite her half-hearted attempts to apologize over the years, I still think she should have been tried for treason.
And now the anti-American Americans are pleading with us to "understand" Osama bin Laden and his "legitimate" grievances. No way! Bin Laden, his followers and those who shelter them deserve the same measure of understanding and mercy that they meted out to more than 5,000 unsuspecting office workers in New York's World Trade towers on Sept. 11. As President Bush said, we must bring those mass murderers to justice, or bring justice to them, which is what we're doing in Afghanistan as I write. According to last week's USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll, nearly 90 percent of those surveyed support the president's military course of action.
But there are those who believe that we should kill the terrorists with kindness, as if that were an option. "They're just like us," they reason, "and so we should sit down around a table and negotiate with them." Well, they aren't just like us because they purposefully target innocent civilians -- that's the definition of terrorism -- while we do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties even though occasional accidents are inevitable in wartime.
Who are today's anti-American Americans? Let's start with actor Richard Gere, who urged us to go easy on bin Laden and his Taliban protectors at a benefit concert in New York City last weekend. An audience of New York firefighters, policemen, rescue workers and their families practically booed Gere off the stage. Somewhat surprisingly, the reception for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., was only slightly less strident while New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani received a noisy standing ovation, demonstrating that the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks know who their real friends are.
And then there was the notably unfunny "comedian" Bill Maher, who characterized American servicemen -- who are defending his right to be obnoxious -- as "cowards" for firing guided missiles into Taliban strongholds in Afghanistan. Many of his viewers were outraged and several big companies pulled their advertising from his obscure TV show, "Politically Incorrect." Maher backpedaled furiously but his show's days are numbered.
In a "Village Voice" symposium, author Barbara Ehrenreich blamed the terrorist attacks on "vast global inequities" and urged that bin Laden be captured and brought to trial before the World Court. Now that would be a real slap on the wrist. And Arab-American poet Suheir Hammad pledged her allegiance "to the love of all humanity, and to the aspirations we all share ... with liberty, and medicine and shelter and food ... for all." Do you suppose the pilots of those hijacked airliners were thinking of peace and love when they slammed their jet fuel-laden planes into the World Trade towers and the Pentagon?
MIT linguist Noam Chomsky, longtime guru of the lunatic left, conceded that the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were "major atrocities," but added that "in scale they may not reach the level of many others, for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan." This is a striking example of the doctrine of moral equivalence: We're just like they are, only worse.
Author Alice Walker wrote that "America should respond not with force but by lovingly lecturing Osama bin Laden" and reminding him of his good deeds. In other words, we should love him to death. Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore commented as follows: "If someone did this to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who didn't vote for him" in New York and Washington, D.C. "Why kill them?" he asked. Brilliant!
Closer to home, Patriots for Peace and Justice organized a "peace vigil" at the federal courthouse in Reno last week. Echoing Ms. Ehrenreich, Patriots spokeswoman Patricia Gehr said she wants the terrorists to be tried by the World Court, which could invite Taliban and al Qaeda representatives to serve on the jury. And Jan Chastain, editor of the Nevada Democratic News (whatever that is) said he's "sick of the U.S. spending trillions of dollars blowing up Third World countries to show how tough we are." I wonder how he feels about those 5,000 dead Americans.
Some of this fuzzy thinking has even infected the news media. Reuters, the English wire service, has barred its journalists from using the word "terrorist" and a CNN spokesman said those responsible for the terrorist attacks would be referred to as "alleged hijackers ... because CNN cannot convict anyone." And finally, there was the Reno Gazette-Journal editorial that justified publication of photos showing "the faces of malnourished and bloody children" on grounds they "give some insight into who the enemy is and what the enemy is about."
No RG-J, the enemy is Osama bin Laden and his fellow terrorists, and not their children. Let's not play the propaganda game by al Qaeda/Taliban rules. There really is a difference between us and them, and we should make that clear every chance we get. After all, why should we encourage the anti-American Americans?
Guy W. Farmer, a semi-retired journalist and former U.S. diplomat, resides in Carson City.