Oakland, Calif.—Country Joe Mac Donald penned that 1960s memorable musical refrain—So it’s one, two, three, what’re we fightin’ for?/Don’t give a damn, next stop is Viet Nam.
He was also one of the warm-up acts for the “Welcome Home Cindy Sheehan” event earlier this month at the Grand Lake Theater here in Oakland, Calif. Not one to shrink from his role in the project to coarsen the culture, Country Joe began by exhorting the audience of assorted young and old anti-right-wingers with a spelling cheer. “Gimme a F!”
“F!” the audience roared.
“Gimme a U!”…
“What’s that spell!?”
“F—U—Bush!” the audience yelled several times with a gusto that signaled that they were certain they had communicated an important message.
The event to welcome home Cindy Sheehan after her much-publicized trip to the ditch in Crawford and to the demonstrations in Washington, D.C., was emceed by Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and hosted by that mercurial raconteur of the left, Alan Michaan, who owns an art-deco-era, historic landmark, the Grand Lake Theater, and who devotes one-third of its marquee for posting various messages that accuse the President of transgressions from election fraud to war crimes. For her part, Ms. Benjamin’s Code Pink website states, in typical proto Marxist jargon, that her organization is “a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities … (and it ) rejects the Bush administration’s fear-based politics…”
For those in attendance that were hoping that Sheehan will be the spark that will ignite the next Bolshevik-like revolution in America, the turnout had to be disappointing. The main theater hall which appeared to accommodate about 750 was only about two-thirds filled.
In addition to Country Joe and other “folksy” warm-up acts preceding Sheehan, the program featured a strange Iraq War dissenter or possibly deserter. It wasn’t clear which of these she was. In introducing her, Benjamin told the audience that Diane (I couldn’t catch her last name) was extremely nervous but wanted to address the crowd. Her address lasted all of two minutes. She was dressed in civilian clothes with shoulders hunched forward, striking a bizarre pose. The group she represented was the Iraq Vets Against the War. The gist of her remarks was that she was heroic because she dared to speak out against the war, presumably while still in the military.
Introduced by Benjamin as the Rosa Parks of the new antiwar movement, Sheehan’s opening remarks were unabashedly self-serving. I was expecting her to tell us about what kind of man her son was, his beliefs, his unit, his last mission. “When I got to Crawford, people kept saying—you’re so articulate, you’re so intelligent, you’re so informed, someone must be telling you what to say. And I said, just because I’m a grieving woman, that doesn’t mean I didn’t exist before!” Her audience affirmed Sheehan’s self-adulation and depth of meaning with rousing applause. Yet her demeanor made it abundantly clear that the event was about her and the excitement of her movement. She betrayed no vestige of grief.
At another point in her address, she said, “I’m going back to Crawford and I’m going to tell George Bush to stop exploiting my son’s honorable name in order to kill more people.” This statement begs lots of questions: Isn’t this a simpleton’s slip of the tongue where she is projecting her own persona upon the object of her hatred? Isn’t it she who names her movement “Camp Casey?” Without her son’s death on the battlefield, isn’t it obvious she would not have a stage? So is she not the exploiter of her own son? Would he lend his name to her cause if he had choice?
“There wasn’t just your radical leftist people there in D.C. There were those and I was there,” she said with an emphasis on the I, which was a rhetorical wink and a nod that allowed her deniability but that signaled to the audience that she stood with radical left underground, members of ANSWER and other sundry groups that organize protests and side with the enemies of the U.S., even those with whom we are in mortal combat. The audience caught it and responded with a knowing applause.
Toward the end of her inchoate talk, she berated the weak Democrat lawmakers who have sided with her antiwar movement but are too weak to see the wisdom of promptly surrendering Iraq to Zarcawi and allowing the jihadists to behead untold thousands of our newly acquired Arabic speaking allies. Sheehan said, “And we don’t want another Vietnam.”
Sheehan has moved to Berkeley, one of the county’s capitals of left-wing radicalism. Her husband is divorcing her and she has been given shelter with a couple living there, the Pearceys, who have achieved a celebrity status by hanging in effigy a dead American marine in their front yard. So much for Sheehan’s respect for her son’s memory. Another Vietnam-like war is what Sheehan and the members of the hard left antiwar movement want. A long and brutal war ending in a U.S. defeat is exactly what they want. Churchill observed, “Countries don’t have friends. They have interests.” For the past 50 years, when America has gone to war to protect its interests, it has created a raison d’etre and a stage for the radical left, where an adoring, fawning press can record its heroic attempts to undermine and perhaps someday even topple the citadels of capitalist imperialism.
It is the historical record of the Vietnam protest movement of a generation ago, the fall of the Nixon Administration, the destruction of the Vietnam war effort, and the resultant fall of the free South Vietnamese government that provides the antiwar left with its obvious object lesson for its assault on today’s war with militant Islam. Most of the new antiwar left seem to accept as gospel that their parents’ victories listed above are nearly as glorious as the utopias established by Pol Pot, Castro and Kim Jong Il. Yet there are no doubt a few among them cogent enough to fear that the world will not much longer overlook the appalling loss of life their parents’ victories wrought.
For example, most don’t know that Vietnam forces in the South fought on for two years after our Democrat-dominated Congress cut off all funding in 1973. The well-funded Communist North Vietnamese captured Saigon in 1975. For the next several years, as many 1 million Vietnamese people took to the seas in small boats attempting to reach freedom. Estimates are that 200,000 were lost to storms, pirates, sharks and summary executions. Given a free hand, the Communist governments of China and Viet Nam next aided the Khmer Rouge in the overthrow of Cambodia, resulting in millions of lives lost. It’s a shameful record of America’s betrayal and a Southeast Asian holocaust.
Not only are Cindy Sheehan and her antiwar movement clueless to assume that the mantle of the Vietnam protest movement cloaks them in righteousness, but they clearly seem to have no idea what a loss in this war will mean to them. In Tony Blankley’s excellent apocalyptic new book, The West’s Last Chance, he writes:
I reported and Newsweek confirmed (in 2002) … it was fear of a possible suitcase-type nuclear weapon that had kept Vice President Dick Cheney a least five miles away from the White House for an extended period of time.
And in comparing the Vietnam War and this war, Blankley makes this chilling observation:
We even mismanaged and lost the Vietnam War without any appreciable negative effects. …What is different now is that we have lost our margin for error. We have to get our plan right and execute it very well. Big mistakes no longer have small costs … in the age of Terror, our enemies know no restraint, and small mistakes can have catastrophic costs. We can no longer indulge happy fantasies of perpetual safety.
In summary, Cindy ain’t-no-Rosa Parks Sheehan and her neo antiwar movement is indulging in just what Blankley warns that we must not do—indulging in the happy fantasies of perpetual safety.