Opinion: Patriotic dissent?

By James Sobotka

Last Tuesday night, a memorial to the Sept. 11 victims was desecrated at the University of Tennessee. In the dead of night, the perpetrators removed 3,000 U.S. flags placed into terraced steps. They rearranged them into the words, “The world suffers.” Various anti-war slogans were chalked nearby.

I hesitate to question the patriotism of the criminals in Tennessee, because the word patriotism recently has been redefined, and I lack the nuance to understand it. Today, notable hacks such as Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and Ted Rall are labeled by the far left as the epitome of patriotic virtue. Meanwhile, Republican talking points are likened to Nazi lies by former Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio).

I cannot grasp the precise meaning of this new patriotism, but what escapes my mind is known intuitively by my heart: This new patriotism is not patriotic.

Now, most peace protesters have funny ways of showing their patriotism, but I do not doubt their sincerity. Their judgment is atrocious, but that’s another column.

No, I want to peer into the soul of the anti-war movement; into the leadership’s motivations. (Only they have reached the logical conclusions of the seedling dogmas passed onto their adherents.) It is their actions that bring the accusation of anti-Americanism.

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    Of course, don’t take my word for it, take theirs:

    Noam Chomsky, referring to U.S. military action in Afghanistan, said, “Looks like what’s happening is some sort of silent genocide.”

    Michael Moore, while in Britain, commented about U.S. citizens, “They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet.”

    Ted Rall, whose artistic career was cut short at birth, wrote, “Most Americans now consider Bush to be no more legitimate than Saddam Hussein, who also came to power in a coup d’‚tat.”

    Moreover, the organizations these “intellectuals” have influenced are rarely innocent. If you believe Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is a Republican front, you must, if intellectually honest, accept that ANSWER, a major organizer of anti-war rallies, is a front for the World Workers Party. Both leftist organizations share talking points, directors and office space. Both are staunch supporters of North Korea.

    Does ANSWER have the best interests of the United States at heart when supporting Kim Jong Il, a dictator who has threatened to turn our country into a sea of fire? I think not.

    Sadly, ANSWER is not alone. Rarely has an anti-war organization been found without ties to blood-stained tyrants. But if you openly state this, their leaders proceed to wrap themselves in the flag.

    Just as G.K. Chesterton noted, “I have seen a great deal of patriotism; and I have generally found it the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

    Perhaps the leadership and intellectual inspiration of the left, while calling into question every motivation of America – pardon, Amerikkka – really is patriotic. Perhaps their support of whatever despotic evil is wealthy is morally motivated. The left says as much.

    However, I can’t help but wonder which country the left claims to love, for it is surely not the United States.

    James Sobotka is a graduate student. His forum runs Mondays. He can be reached at [email protected].