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Sunday, Mar. 21, 2004 at 3:46 PM
Has anything changed since Vietnam in terms of how Americans perceive anti-war protesters?
What does the average citizen think when he or she encounters a mob of protesters?
In one sense, this hasn't been different from Vietnam at all. The anti-war left has been as bitter in its opposition now as it was then. The signage at demonstrations; the call-ins on TV and radio talk shows; the comments of crazy professors; the letters to the editor in hippie-land newspapers are as filled with hatred of America (ignorant, blundering), the military (killers), the war (for oil) and the President (idiot) as they were then. The New York Times today is further to the left than it was then. Yet it all has no effect. What has changed?
We are fighting a band of fanatics, and a handful of terrorist states and paymasters. Compared to the Communist world in its heyday, they are pipsqueaks.
The Vietnamese Communists were as wicked as anyone could wish. The Viet Cong were bandits, terrorists, murderous brutes. North Vietnam was a totalitarian country that filled the ocean with boat people once it took over the South. Go into any Vietnamese restaurant and ask the owners why they came here.
This war has brought a mixed bag of news. We've had the coffins in Basra and hotels blown up. Victory also shows us local people celebrating their liberation. In Afghanistan, there were men shaving their beards and women dropping their burqas. In Iraq, we have villagers giving the thumbs-up to tanks and kids playing soccer with British marines.
I think most Americans are supportive of the war and have a negative perception of the protesters. There are parallels from Vietnam. Jane Fonda is still despised by most Americans for her support of the enemy. Sean Penn and Michael Moore are similarly disliked now.
I'd love to see a Gallup poll on this subject asking this question:
What are your feelings when you encounter a large number of demonstrators protesting the war, globalization, and Capitalism?
a) Anger and hostility toward the demonstrators
b) Pity and sadness for the stupidity of the demonstrators
c) Agreement and support for the demonstrators
d) Dismay that these people could be so complete wrong
e) Humor -- point and laugh at these dumb twits
f) Disgust that these ungrateful wretches don't appreciate what they have.
I personally would choose a, b, d, e, and f
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