Reruns of That ’70s Show
By: Jeff Lukens
Many antiwar activists are so cut off from reality that they imagine America’s defeat in the Middle East without consequence. Even when the root causes of terrorism clearly lie in that region of the world, those nostalgic for the 1970s continue undermine our efforts there, and to search for ways to “blame America” for its barbarism.
Even a few days after 9/11, leftist icon Susan Sontag wrote about “the self-righteous drivel” of public figures and TV commentators responding to the atrocity. She called it an “attack on ‘civilization’” rather than on the United States, and she said it was as “a consequence of specific American alliances and actions.”
On a day when Americans collectively recoiled in horror, she sought to criticize. On a day of choosing between good and evil, she chose to remain neutral.
Then she asked the question, “How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq?”
Say what? At the time, you recall, we were only patrolling no-fly zones and responding to antiaircraft weapons that were shooting at our planes, but what did it matter? The opportunity to take a cheap shot at America presented itself, and she took it. Ms. Sontag has since passed on, but the 1970s-style, countercultural attitudes she promoted are still alive and well.
One truth revealed in recent years is that all cultures are not equal. While the multiculturalist custom says we should not judge others for our differences, suicide bombers are a constant reminder that some cultures are wicked and must be opposed. Many among us, however, would rather chant mindless clichÃ©s like “Bush lied, people died” than to confront a harder truth is that there are people in the world who wish to do us harm.
Jihadists know us better than we know ourselves. Beheading hostages, for instance, works for them only by showing video of it to the outside world. Islamic extremists realize that the fight, lost on the battlefield, can still be won with images and rhetoric in the U.S. media that wear away our resolve.
When Walter Conkrite declared Vietnam unwinnable in 1968, his trusted presence forced LBJ from office and turned public opinion against that war. The lesson was not lost on the media establishment. Since then, their goal has been less to report the news than to make the news, and to push an ideological agenda. Another overlooked truth about Vietnam, however, was that the South Vietnamese were successfully defending themselves — or at least until 1975 when a liberal Congress chose to “defund” them.
But this is the news, and the truth doesn’t always matter. It’s a business. And major media will hype almost anything to boost its circulation and ratings. How much easier it is to report a bomb blast and body counts than thoughtful perspectives on how American-sponsored elections have brought democracy to the Middle East. Never mind the improved Iraqi living conditions due to our reconstruction projects. And never mind stories of the heroism of our troops in the field.
Vietnam-style protests play into the agenda too. Throw in a few namesakes like Jane Fonda and Cindy Sheehan, and the street theater works even better. Never mind the consequences of leaving Iraq in the way we left Vietnam. When they say, “war is not the answer,” another unreported truth is that war is often the only answer in confronting evil.
Over a long term, hammering home this same message day after day has a corrosive effect on the public will. But that is the intent. Unlike Vietnam, however, the aftermath of this war will follow us home. Refusing to address the consequences of failure in the Middle East is another example of the bias and lack of journalistic standards within the news media.
While rogue nations go nuclear, media outlets would rather distract us with Anna Nichole Smith, Britney Spears, and other Hollywood make-believe. Rather than ponder the unpleasant task of winning a war, or preempting a terrorist attack, they willfully ignore a danger that will not relent or go away.
Moreover, we’ve reached a dismal stage in American history when many in Congress seek America’s defeat for domestic political gain. Since the days of George McGovern, Democrats have been the patsy for the liberal media and militant antiwar activists who push for an American retreat around the world.
But Democrats are not dumb. They know America’s loss means their gain. They obviously have no higher purpose than their own political power. This is their chance to relive their glory days when they threw out a conservative president, and lost a war.
However, it won’t happen this time like it did in the 1970s. The Democratic leadership misunderstands the results of the election, and is gambling on failure. Voters wanted a new approach to win the war, and the president is doing just that with a new strategy and a new general. Voters didn’t say they wanted to end the war by running away from it, as the Dems would have us believe.
Yet, Nancy Pelosi and Jack Murtha don’t seem to be concerned that their resolutions undercut our troops and bolster the enemy. They say they “support the troops” when really they do not. While troops are engaged in a mission, to say they support them but not their mission is impossible. Their resolutions are about playing politics, and demoralizing the military is their least concern.
With the games being played, neither can we expect our allies to ever risk their lives again depending on American resolve to stand by them. We have a bad habit of proving ourselves to be untrustworthy.
Back when Saigon fell, conservatives chose to remain silent. While some Republicans today may be wavering, this time conservatives will not sit by and watch another self-inflicted catastrophe happen. We’ve seen this show before. It has a bad ending.
In a protracted war with an elusive enemy, our country must stand firm. Defeat is not an acceptable “exit strategy.” Whether by a “slow-bleed,” a “de-authorization,” or by some other measure — congressional attempts to undermine the president’s authority to wage this war will probably grow stronger. A conservative showdown with antiwar Democrats appears to be coming.
Jeff Lukens is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance (www.thenma.org). He can be contacted at www.jefflukens.com.
Jeff Lukens is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He can be contacted at www.jefflukens.com