Anti-war efforts work against patriotism

Ben Goessling

PHILADELPHIA (U-WIRE) – An extraordinary 90 percent of Americans admirably support military action in retaliation for the terrorist strikes on the United States, according to the latest polls. Equally extraordinary is the large contingent of dissident college students and other young people who think the United States should refrain from retaliating, and who in the same breath condemn American principles and vow to dodge military service, should a draft become necessary.

The United States must and should seek and destroy terrorists and those governments that harbor them throughout the world. Not only is such action necessary as retribution, but it is also necessary as deterrence. Indeed, a military campaign will help avenge the thousands of souls taken from life’s hands. For these, a price must be paid.

No less important, a full assault will show the world that the United States, “a sleeping giant,” as a former adversary once said, can and will strike back when stirred. Without such action, terrorists hiding in mountains and plotting in secret will again aim for America.

An annoyingly vocal minority of young people would rather see America remain sleeping. The otherwise beautiful memorial in New York City’s Union Square, for example, seems almost overrun by young pacifists from New York University and elsewhere insisting that the United States should take its medicine and move on.

Moreover, on dozens of college campuses last week, students shockingly rallied against justice, instead howling that America should allow an atrocity beyond imagination to go unanswered. At University of Pennsylvania, such radical groups as the Progressive Activist Network and Penn Students Against Sweatshops have advocated restraint that would make the United States look like a pushover in the eyes of the nation’s allies and adversaries.

Methods besides military retaliation, such as turning the terrorists over to the United States, are laughable. What would the nation do? Put Osama bin Laden and his evil cohorts in jail? That’s an insult to the more than 7,000 lives taken, the scores otherwise affected and the entire grieving nation.

Yet students such as college junior Lincoln Ellis would inexplicably accept that. As he participated in a campus rally last week, he spray painted “Resist War” on his shirt and proclaimed, “If push comes to shove, we’re going to be the ones fighting this war.”

But there could be no greater honor than serving a country that has served its young people so well. At no other time have the words of John F. Kennedy – “Ask not what your country can do for you …” – rung so true. Indeed, the United States has done so much for the younger generation, and so much of that has been greedily taken for granted.

Young pacifists might naively condemn America’s democracy, capitalism and freedom, but they cannot distance themselves from the trendy Urban Outfitters clothes they wear, the Jeep Grand Cherokees they received as birthday presents from their parents or their second-to-none high school and college educations.

Where else can young people speak their minds so freely, expand their
knowledge at the best universities in the world, and at the same time enjoy material riches beyond their imaginations? Which country year after year pours aid into less-fortunate foreign states, leads efforts to liberate oppressed nations and fights for everyone’s basic human rights? Afghanistan? No. Syria? No. Iraq? No.

The United States deserves the thanks and support, not the condemnation, of young people nationwide. Yet astoundingly, in news accounts, some college students have already pledged to dodge the draft, should that remote possibility become real.

White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer stated last week, “There is no consideration of (instituting a draft) at this time, and from my conversations with the Pentagon, it’s not something they anticipate.”

Nonetheless, should a military campaign persist for years, young men ages 18 to 25 might have to face a new reality. And an exemption for college students is no guarantee, as Congress creates new guidelines for each draft, according to the Selective Service.

Admittedly – and more than understandably – few young men would want to go to the front lines of a war in a far-off nation. But to dodge a draft, or to even condemn the nation during a moment of vulnerability, is utterly cowardly. No one, not terrorists nor young Americans, can take the United States for granted.