Last weekend's anti-war demonstration in Washington, DC was pathetically sad and funny at the same time. The burnt-out old hippies are vainly attempting to relive a Forrest Gumpesque acid trip (for the last time we can hope). My God, they have even resurrected Hanoi Jane. Back in 1972, Fonda manned a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun in a photo op. Will we next see her holding an RPG in Ramadi or Fallujah?
I reject comparisons of Iraq with Vietnam. Every war is different. That's why it's so tricky. The military is always ready to fight the last war. But one thing I do see comparisons with the Vietnam War is in the increasingly vitriolic vileness of the anti-war movement.
At a DC counter-demonstration, a disabled Iraq veteran was spit upon by protesters. There was also vandalism at the Capitol. The current anti-war movement would do well to remember that for all the sound and fury of their demonstrations, for all the dead students at Kent State, all the Vietnam protesters accomplished was to get Richard Nixon re-elected by one of the largest margins in American history in 1972 and put us on the road to Watergate, Malaisegate, and Desert One. They went too far and sickened the American public. Dissent is a proud American tradition. Spitting on soldiers and providing aid and comfort to the enemy is not. That is treason.
And the anti-Iraq war movement doesn't even have close to those numbers yet. Saturday's demonstration was only around 10,000. Embarassing. Of course, the liberal media made much of it, even though the Monday before there were twenty times as many people on the mall to protest the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
My favorite Evergreen columnist, Jimmy Blue wrote today that:
The protests that took place across the country on Saturday may have been the largest demonstration of anti-war sentiment since the Iraq war began. But the older generation seems to be carrying all the weight. I believe it is crucial for the teenagers, the high school- and college-age people of our nation to take some responsibility for their own interests. It seems that as an age group we are too lazy and apathetic to participate in political discourse.I would submit that is neither laziness nor apathy that keeps today's young people away from the protests, but intelligence and dignity. Unlike their foolish elders, they have learned from history and are not condemned to repeat it.