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The Left is Morally Bankrupt

by EMILY YOFFE Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003 at 3:00 PM

U.S.-blaming, anti-war left is morally bankrupt

The left is now so animated by the belief that President Bush is the greatest menace in the world today that it has become morally bankrupt. How else to explain the Not In Our Name campaign, which crystallizes the left's reaction to both the atrocities of Sept. 11 and our government's response.

NION ( has issued a statement opposing war with Iraq that has been published in newspapers across the country. Those behind it include academics (including Harvard University's Richard Lewontin and Stanford University's Joel Beinin), entertainers (including John Cusack and Danny Glover), writers (including Russell Banks and Barbara Kingsolver) and aging 1960s radicals (Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden protesting together again!). They all reject what they call Bush's "simplistic script of `good versus evil.' " Instead, their simplistic script is about how all the world's horror flows from the United States.

The "brutal repercussions" of the administration's war on terror "have been felt from the Philippines to Palestine," the statement says. The Philippines? Apparently the signers are offended that the United States is providing military assistance to the Philippine government in its efforts to root out the Abu Sayyaf guerrillas. This is the Islamic terrorist organization that specializes in slaughtering Christians and beheading tourists.

The petition also deplores our war against the Taliban, which resulted in the liberation of Afghanistan from one of the world's most brutal regimes. Feminist Gloria Steinem, Vassar College President Frances D. Fergusson and Harvard women's studies director Juliet Schor have signed the petition. Are they troubled that Afghan girls can now leave their homes and go to school? That women are not publicly executed for such crimes as infidelity? That females can show their faces?

NIONists seem to have a special abhorrence for democracies. Besides the United States, the only other country that receives their opprobrium is Israel. Again, in some unexplained way, the administration's response to Sept. 11 has resulted in "Israeli tanks and bulldozers (leaving) a terrible trail of death and destruction." Never mind that Yasser Arafat walked away from a Camp David peace deal in 2000 to oversee his society's embrace of suicide bombing.

The petition has a blithe, even solipsistic view of human misery. The statement says, "Peoples and nations have the right to determine their own destiny, free from military coercion by great powers." Apparently Saddam Hussein's use of his military to determine his people's destiny is of no concern to the signers. NION has no references to Saddam's terror state, where political prisoners are persuaded to confess by seeing the eyes of their children being gouged out.

While the statement repeatedly returns to the theme of repression, the repression these people with tenure at universities or Hollywood production deals seem most concerned with is their own. "Dissident artists, intellectuals and professors find their views distorted, attacked and suppressed," they write. Well, to the artistic soul, being criticized must feel as bad as having your eyes gouged out. Their charge of suppression is perhaps undercut by the wide publication of their statement.

Want to see "lip service" defined? Read NION's condemnation of Sept. 11. The signers "mourned the thousands of innocent dead," of course, but while the buildings still smoldered, their minds were immediately drawn, the statement says, to memories of "the carnage" of American military action in Iraq, among other places. In this they concur with the man responsible for Sept. 11: Osama bin Laden. In his statement of purpose, "Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders," bin Laden declares, "We -- with Allah's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in Allah and wishes to be rewarded to comply with Allah's order to kill the Americans" -- in part because we stopped Saddam's march across the region 12 years ago.

NION also has an unusual perspective on just how to characterize al Qaida and its ilk. In describing Bush's "deadly trajectory," NION writes, "Groups are declared `terrorist' at the stroke of a presidential pen." Others might say it is masterminding the smashing of planes into buildings that declares a group "terrorist."

Certainly, there are cogent arguments to be made against war with Iraq. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., for one, argues that an Iraq war would distract us from our fight to dismantle terror networks such as al-Qaida and Hezbollah. But such cogent arguments are not made by those who are more acutely affronted by their imagined repression by Bush than they are concerned about monstrous acts committed by monstrous people.

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 38 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Such One-Eyed Hokum krankyman Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003 at 4:44 PM
yeah, that Pinko "stormin normin" is cracked wahoo Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003 at 5:38 PM
Last I heard God was all good rational mind Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003 at 6:33 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003 at 10:06 PM
Better the cady... Sheepdog Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003 at 2:29 AM
oh, brother Rowell, H. A. Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003 at 7:56 AM
Clutter Sheepdog Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003 at 9:30 AM
someone say bankrupt? getting closer every day real conservatives think neoconservatives suk Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003 at 10:48 AM
No it was not Clinton Diogenes Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003 at 3:38 PM
Response Part 2 krankyman Sunday, Feb. 16, 2003 at 5:32 PM
watch out for the liberal infestation thats right, LIBERAL INFESTATION! Monday, Feb. 17, 2003 at 11:46 AM
I'm always struck by the quality of the comments from the dittoheads truth teller Monday, Feb. 17, 2003 at 1:06 PM
FUCK YOU BUSH RAPER! truth teller Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2003 at 9:12 AM
right wingers baiting right wingers a truth teller Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2003 at 1:07 PM
Bush Admirer Full of Crap krankyman Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 5:38 PM
Plutocracy is Not Free Market Capitalism Diogenes Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 5:53 PM
you've swallowed the Capitalist myth an honest man (your search is over) Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 6:01 PM
Touche' Diogenes Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 7:34 PM
Next step Sheepdog Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 8:11 PM
democratic control of means of production is possible an honest man Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 8:44 PM
"The whole world could be like Sweden - YUK" Bush Admirer Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 9:21 PM
I've never been to Sweden Bush Admirer Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 9:26 PM
The Myth of Sweden Diogenes Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2003 at 9:45 PM
Im a Commie! diogenes, you retard, read on! Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003 at 10:20 AM
I don't need to refute this you shot yourself. Diogenes Thursday, Feb. 20, 2003 at 4:21 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Friday, Feb. 21, 2003 at 8:54 AM
actually that was Timothy Jones, not BA truth teller Friday, Feb. 21, 2003 at 9:17 AM
Good one fucking ass truth teller is an idiot Friday, Feb. 21, 2003 at 12:59 PM
OneEyedMan KPC Friday, Feb. 21, 2003 at 6:48 PM
KPC is truly ignorant KPC is truly ignorant Saturday, Feb. 22, 2003 at 2:44 AM
No, shutup, dont say anything, I'm leaving bye bye for now Saturday, Feb. 22, 2003 at 2:59 AM
-> (dis) honest man Bush Admirer Sunday, Feb. 23, 2003 at 3:20 PM
Sacrilege I know ...but Diogenes Sunday, Feb. 23, 2003 at 3:37 PM

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