The rising tide of anti-military activism in the US has gone too far. Frankly, it's appalling.
Far beyond the simple exercise of their rights to free speech, these increasingly militant (ironic, isn't it?) "pro-peace" groups are now engaging in and threatening more violent personal attacks on military members, particularly recruiters, and their families and property. They obviously don't understand President Reagan's message that we sustain Peace through Strength!
One group has gone so far as to encourage confrontations with individuals who look like they might be military. Another is promising to "cage military recruiters [yes, in something akin to an animal cage] until they no longer pose a threat to our neighbors."
The ultimate irony is that the people being attacked are the very people who are willing to give their lives to ensure these selfish punks have the rights they are so adamant to exercise. Those who are caught up in anti-military activism, or "counter-recruitment," would do well to remember the warning, "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it." For if their efforts were successful, and military recruiting were to be discontinued, then (logically), there would cease to be any personnel to make up the military, and thus, the rights they exercise would cease to exist.
At least that's the logical conclusion. But you and I know that even without military recruiters, there are enough patriotic Americans willing to stand up and defend those rights that despite the logical result of their actions, better men and women than them will continue to fight and die to preserve their right to voice their hate and discontent.
Anti-military activism in itself is not the problem. It's the extent to which these pious zealots are willing to go to enforce "their" rights.
Their actions defy logic. Their opposition is to the current Administration, and specifically it's handling of the war in Iraq. More precisely, their discontent has to do with the fact that the US even has troops in Iraq.
Yet rather than being creative enough to fashion an effective method to deliver their message, they are attacking the individual men and women of our armed forces who simply carry out the policies of that Administration. They apparently are hoping that the media attention they generate will get their message across to the powers-that-be.
They are NOT Exercising "Free Speech"
The problem is that these groups have gone far beyond the exercise of their rights to free speech or free assembly. Inciting violence has never been protected by the Constitution. Once they go beyond speech and embark on action, in this case, when they resort to physical violence against either persons or property, they are no longer exercising Constitutional rights. They've just become lawless hooligans - ordinary thugs who belong in jail, along with the other gang members who engage in fire-bombings and drive-by shootings.
Wonder if these anti-war "peace" groups realize they've become nothing more than gangs? They've gotten carried away with the supposed supremacy of their "cause," and apparently have lost the ability to reason (as frequently happens with fanatics).
They've become like the Taliban and other oppressive regimes who try to force their ideologies on the rest of the population. What do you suppose the Taliban would do with Code Pink?
Although their conduct is disgusting to most patriotic Americans, you'd be hard-pressed to find a military member or veteran who won't tell you these people have a right to express their opinions. Why? Because these veterans understand that they have sworn to protect the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Those are the rights the protesters seek to exercise.
Their Rights Don't Outweigh Anyone Else's
But the protesters have missed a very important fact about "their" Constitutional rights.
What they fail to understand is a point my Constitutional Law professor made often. Your Constitutional rights end exactly where the next person's Constitutional rights begin. In other words, once you've begun to infringe on someone else's rights, you are no longer exercising your rights; you've crossed a line and your actions are no longer Constitutionally protected.
Apparently, that's a lesson that needs to be taught in the chambers of the Berkeley City Council, and the halls of the Berkeley Police Department, and to all these pious, so-called "peace" groups.
Their rights are not superior to anyone else's.
Those recruiters they attack have the right to choose to join our volunteer military.
They have the right to go about their business peaceably and without interference.
Those young men and women who choose to enter their premises to join our military have a right to do so.
The protesters also need to understand that our service members take an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution" against "all enemies, foreign and domestic." By their actions, they have now become domestic enemies of our Constitution, and thus, enemies of the American people as a whole.
Anti-military activism has been alive and well since the decision was made to intervene in Iraq and topple the oppressive regime of Saddam Hussein. But these incidents have been viewed by most Americans, we think, as isolated incidents of left-wing liberal lunacy.
We've let them get away with saying, "Oh, we support the troops, just not the war."
Since when did supporting the troops include bombing their offices, setting their personal vehicles on fire, slashing tires, destroying property, stealing computers, and spreading excrement and blood all over the place?
Stand Up, America!
It's time for Americans (including our leadership at the state and federal level) to realize these attacks are far more widespread than we imagined, and aren't isolated to that infamous liberal enclave that is Berkeley, California.
It's time for patriotic, peace-loving Americans to stand up and speak out on behalf of our military members, who cannot speak up for themselves. It's time for that silent majority to be silent no longer!
My criminal law professor would point out, whenever someone would ask why criminal defense attorneys should work to protect the rights of a criminal defendant who had committed some horrible crime, "Your rights are only as strong as his rights. If his rights are trampled, then you also have none. Put yourself in his position (and assume you're innocent). Wouldn't you want the police and the government to have to respect your rights? Well, if you don't make sure they respect his rights, you won't have any rights, either."
Well, if we allow these anti-military nut jobs to violate the rights of our recruiters to perform their jobs in a peaceful fashion, and we allow them to break windows and commit acts of violence, theft and vandalism against military members and offices, how can we expect to have the right to be safe in our homes and property, which is a fundamental tenet of the American way of life?
It's time for patriotic Americans to stand up for our rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, and for our rights, and those of our service members, to go about our business peacefully and without fear of personal attacks from lawless thugs. That is the protection our tax dollars supposedly buy from our police departments, except, of course, in Berkeley.
Melanie Morgan, chairman of Move America Forward, and former talk show host at KFSO radio in San Francisco, published a report on Friday, March 14, 2008, at WorldNetDaily, that expresses our thoughts very well. She basically asks, "What the Hell is going on here?"
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