David Horowitz' Plea to the New Anti-War Activists
Fox News, October 3, 2001
I am a former anti-war activist who helped to organize
the first campus demonstration against the war in
Vietnam at the University of California, Berkeley in
1962. I appeal to all those young people who
participated in "anti-war" demonstrations on 150
college campuses this week, to think again and not to
join an "anti-war" effort against America's coming
battle with international terrorism.
The hindsight of history has shown that our efforts in
the 1960s to end the war in Vietnam had two practical
effects. The first was to prolong the war itself.
Every testimony by North Vietnamese generals in the
postwar years has affirmed that they knew they could
not defeat the United States on the battlefield, and
that they counted on the division of our people at
home to win the war for them. The Vietcong forces we
were fighting in South Vietnam were destroyed in 1968.
In other words, most of the war and most of the
casualties in the war occurred because the
dictatorship of North Vietnam counted on the fact
Americans would give up the battle rather than pay the
price necessary to win it. This is what happened. The
blood of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, and tens
of thousands of Americans, is on the hands of the
anti-war activists who prolonged the struggle and gave
victory to the Communists.
The second effect of the war was to surrender South
Vietnam to the forces of Communism. This resulted in
the imposition of a monstrous police state, the
murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent South
Vietnamese, the incarceration in "re-education camps"
of hundreds of thousands more, and a quarter of a
century of abject poverty imposed by crackpot Marxist
economic plans, which continue to this day. This, too,
is the responsibility of the so-called anti-war
movement of the 1960s.
I say "so-called anti-war movement," because while
many Americans were sincerely troubled by America's
war effort, the organizers of this movement were
Marxists and radicals who supported a Communist
victory and an American defeat. Today the same people
and their youthful followers are organizing the campus
demonstrations against America's effort to defend its
citizens against the forces of international terrorism
and anti-American hatred, responsible for the
I know, better than most, the importance of protecting
freedom of speech and the right of citizens to
dissent. But I also know better than most, that there
is a difference between honest dissent and malevolent
hate, between criticism of national policy, and
sabotage of the nation's defenses. In the 1960s and
1970s, the tolerance of anti-American hatreds was so
high, that the line between dissent and treason was
eventually erased. Along with thousands of other New
Leftists, I was one who crossed the line between
dissent and actual treason. (I have written an account
of these matters in my autobiography, Radical Son). I
did so for what I thought were the noblest of reasons:
to advance the cause of "social justice" and "peace."
I have lived to see how wrong I was and how much
damage we did - especially to those whose cause we
claimed to embrace, the peasants of Indo-China who
suffered grievously from our support for the Communist
enemy. I came to see how precious are the freedoms and
opportunities afforded by America to the poorest and
most humble of its citizens, and how rare its virtues
are in the world at large.
If I have one regret from my radical years, it is that
this country was too tolerant towards the treason of
its enemies within. If patriotic Americans had been
more vigilant in the defense of their country, if they
had called things by their right names, if they had
confronted us with the seriousness of our attacks,
they might have caught the attention of those of us
who were well-meaning but utterly misguided. And they
might have stopped us in our tracks.
This appeal is for those of you who are out
there today attacking your country, full of your own
self-righteousness, but who one day might also live to
regret what you have done.
David Horowitz is editor-in-chief of
FrontPageMagazine.com and president of the Center for
the Study of Popular Culture. He also appears
frequently on the Fox News Channel.