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Anti-U.S. protesters misguided

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If you want to see the current state of the anti-American protest movement, log on to www.9-11peace.org/petition.php3. That is how the protest against the Vietnam War might have begun, had the Internet existed at the time.

I first received news of the campaign from Germany, where a producer of the 2nd German Television Network (ZDF) is leading the charge. It is in the form of a petition to the U.S. government to cease and desist from taking action and is already posted in six languages. Arabic is not one of them.

There are about half a million participants — many of the usual suspects with the staples "social justice" and "economic justice" on their banners. But it was not difficult to contact point persons Eli Pariser in the United States and Olivia Martin in Switzerland, who respectively work for More Than Money near Boston and the Hague Appeal for Peace. They insist their organizations are not the sponsors, that various other foundations provide the money — but they refused to name these.

I asked the (visible) principals to explain what would lead them to wake up on the Thursday after "The Tuesday" and decide to lean on the representatives of the victims rather than the perpetrators. Pariser was refreshingly frank: "It would not carry a lot of weight with them." You bet. Asked why he teams up with the whole world to exercise his — peculiarly American — constitutional right of petitioning the government, he thought the U.S. government was putting together the wrong coalition.

As for his grievance under the Constitution, he spoke of the poverty in the world and that "those poor Afghan people could be expected to lash out." When reminded that the hijacker/mass murderers had mostly Saudi passports and hundreds of millions of dollars behind them, he suggested that the rest of the Afghan people were poor. The $43 million in humanitarian aid the United States had sent to Afghans just this year? That was insufficient, he said. Asked if it was the poor people of Afghanistan, then, who used human missiles on Sept. 11, he lost his train of thought.

Where he was quite certain, however, was the goal to duplicate the anti-war movement of the 1960s. Martin in Geneva also assured me the youths of the world stood ready and getting readier every minute. "We are discussing a number of steps," she said. She wouldn't tell me who was meant by "we."

"It's the progressive forces around the world," Pariser explained. Progressive? "Well, it's kind of the left," he obliged again with his candor. The president has issued a call to governments of the world: Stand up and be counted. Are you with us or with our enemies? A similar question may be asked of those who live here. Relatively few would take an open position against America. But oh-so-many would deliver lengthy regurgitations about the need to redistribute wealth, CIA breaches of etiquette and so forth.

As our government prepares to deal with the external threat to this country, we must resolve to address the anti-American sentiments that permeate most of our educational institutions. They are neither the product of academic freedom nor an exercise in First Amendment rights. They are the result of our failure to explain the facts of life to our young in the 1960s.

Let us not fail in the explanatory duty this time.

Balint Vazsonyi is a concert pianist and director of the Center for the American Founding. His e-mail address is bv@founding.org