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Evil is a stark reality of life on this earth, and confronting it virtually always requires a measure of force.
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By LINDA WHITE
TEAR GAS STUNG my eyes and my throat thickened and closed as I hurried through the night. We skirted the edges of campus, my fiance and I, avoiding the mall where police and students were locked in bitter confrontation. Powerful spotlights from circling helicopters pierced the blackness. Night was as day at the heart of the battle.
The place was the University of Maryland and the time was 1970. President Nixon had just announced the American incursion into Cambodia. All over the nation, college students took to the streets.
As did I. Not given to violent demonstrations, though, I charted a gentler course. I marched down Constitution Ave. with thousands of other demonstrators on a hot May day. I lobbied Congress. I participated in teach-ins.
I had studied Vietnam since high school. Spirited dinnertime discussions with my father, a World War II veteran then working for the Army, had sharpened my focus. I was against the war, and I let my voice be heard.
After that, I grew up.
My job after college was with the U.S. Veterans Administration. Dealing with returning veterans, I saw the damage inflicted by the peace movement. Already marred by physical wounds, veterans carried the scars of rejection by the culture as well. They had answered their country's call (there was a draft, remember) and returned home, in many cases, to scorn and abuse.
We never expected it to turn out that way.
The trouble with peace protests is that they often have their genesis in a dangerous mix: social revolutionaries and gentle, well-meaning, but naïve, people. The latter--those grandmotherly women and idealistic young men--frequently fail to recognize both the existence and nature of evil, and that they are being manipulated by those with an agenda beyond simple peace.
Former leftist David Horowitz, now a conservative columnist, helps remove the blinders. Writing in townhall.com, Horowitz, a leader in the antiwar movement of the Sixties, says, "We didn't want peace in Vietnam. We wanted revolution in America."
He sees the same bitter root in today's peace movement. At a recent "antiwar" demonstration at Columbia University, anthropology professor Nicholas DeGenova, addressing 3,000 students and faculty members, said, "Peace is not patriotic. Peace is subversive, because peace anticipates a very different world than the one we live in--a world where the U.S. would have no place."