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The Free Congress © Commentary:

Anti-war Protestors: Shades Of Stupidity
By Rachel Marsden
February 21, 2003


While Secretary of State Colin Powell is busy making his compelling case for war in Iraq to the paint on the wall at the United Nations, anti-American "peaceniks" around the world have been busy taking to the streets of America, Europe and even Iraq itself. The "peace movement" has been treating the world to displays of varying degrees of ignorance. One has to wonder if these people would know a real threat if Saddam shot a scud through their living room. But there are ignoramuses, and then there are downright traitors.

Last week, clapped-out Boomers around the world emerged from their acid-induced haze--or mom's basement, depending on the case--to hit the streets in an attempt to re-create the peace protests of the mythical '60's. This group represents the grassroots peace movement. They choose as their leaders great, inspirational thinkers like actors Sean Penn, Martin Sheen and Janeane Garofalo. Sheen has recently cut a TV commercial to rally his flock of sheep. The ad offers up deeply philosophical words of wisdom: "Don't invade Iraq. Inspections work; war won't." Forget about the fact that the UN weapons inspectors themselves have acknowledged that they've been obstructed by the Iraqi regime in carrying out their mandate. The peace protesters must figure that if they repeat their mantra enough, people will simply begin to believe it. Break out the purple Kool Aid!

The Sheen commercial advocates participation in a "virtual march on Washington," scheduled for Wednesday. Sheen isn't encouraging his flock to come up with creative solutions to war, or to intelligently argue or refute Colin Powell's eloquently-stated arguments for military action in Iraq. Instead, Sheen is hoping to prevent war by getting his followers to thoroughly harass Washington legislators via any means of modern communications possible. The campaign's website (www.moveon.org) states that, "on February 26th, every Senate office will receive a call every minute from a constituent, as they receive a simultaneous flood of faxes and email. Hundreds of thousands of people from across the country will send the collective message." Who wants to bet that by the end of the day, some senators will want to train Saddam's weapons of mass destruction on Martin Sheen--America's very own weapon of mass disruption? This level of protest is annoying and mindless, but harmless. This is America, after all, and people have the right to publicly express dissent-no matter how misdirected, uninformed or annoying that dissent may be.

But then there's another level of protester ignorance--one that shouldn't be considered anything short of criminal. By definition, treason involves a person who, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. Saddam Hussein has a long history of using civilian shields as bargaining chips to subvert any potential military onslaught. During the 1991 Gulf War, Hussein was accused of detaining Iraqi and Kuwaiti civilians at key military and industrial sites in Iraq.

The website www.becomethechange.org is recruiting US citizens to go over to Iraq and stand alongside the Iraqi people in the face of war--essentially giving them aid and comfort. The website states that "an organization called the "Iraq Peace Team" is ready to take volunteers to Iraq. It would probably cost no more than a comparable two-week vacation in Hawaii or the Caribbean, yet you would be participating in making history and saving lives." Great! Pack up the kids, the gas masks and the Cipro, honey--we're going to Iraq!

What part of the definition of treason does not apply to these people acting as "human shields"? They are providing a security blanket--"aid and comfort"--to Saddam Hussein's regime. Human shield protester, Grace Trevitt, says that she and her comrades plan to identify potential bombing targets--such as power stations and bridges--and act as human shields to protect them. If war breaks out in the region, they would automatically be foisting a moral dilemma on US and allied military by surrounding targets. These soldiers would be forced to choose between carrying out their duties, as passed down to them via the chain of command, or turning some of their fellow countrymen into involuntary organ donors.

Not too long ago, a young American by the name of John Walker Lindh was convicted of conspiring to kill US citizens by fighting alongside the Taliban while his fellow Americans were fighting terrorism on the other side of the battle lines in Afghanistan. He, too, claimed to be on a "mission of peace, not violence". While treason charges were a possibility for "Jihad Johnny," officials were ultimately unable to find evidence that he was purposely acting against America. His family and friends said he believed he was fighting against other Taliban enemies, and not the United States.

In the case of the human shields, however, there is no excuse-except maybe if stupidity can pass for a valid defense nowadays.

Rachel Marsden is a Director of the Free Congress Foundation.

This column is the property of the Free Congress Foundation and may not be reproduced without their permission. For comments and inquiries, contact Angie Wheeler at awheeler@freecongress.org. Visit our website at www.FreeCongress.org