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Ex-Terrorist and Law Professor Bernardine Dohrn:

Given an opportunity to disavow her violent criminal past as a member of the Weather Underground via a challenge in The Daily Northwestern, she instead appears to justify her actions based on the fact that she believes that she was engaged in a fight against "the illegal, immoral war against Vietnam and the organized terrorism of my government." She also appears to claim that any attempt to question her current views about her past activities constitutes "McCarthyism," as if questioning an ex-terrorist regarding whether she still believes in terrorism is somehow beyond the pale. (H/T: Overlawyered.)

UPDATE: The exchange at issue took place in April 2005, not this year as I initially thought. Still, it's somewhat newsworthy given the recent controversy over Dohrn's husband, partner in crime, and fellow academic, Bill Ayers.

Smokey:
If Dohrn really believed the Vietnam war was 'illegal,' then she should have fought it in the courts. But the truth is that she used cold-blooded murder against innocent civilians in her attempt to overthrow an elected government.

Why she and her hubby were elevated to such exalted positions, instead of spending the rest of their criminal lives behind bars, is something I'll never understand.
4.25.2008 9:19pm
OrinKerr:
She also appears to claim that any attempt to question her current views about her past activities constitutes "McCarthyism," as if questioning an ex-terrorist regarding whether she still believes in terrorism is somehow beyond the pale.

I know absolutely nothing about Dohrn, but I don't see that in her letter. Here's what she says:
The tone of Guy Benson's April 5 guest column, "Law Prof Owes Explanation," is the kind of poorly researched "new McCarthyism" so suddenly fashionable. . . . To clarify, I have never endorsed terrorism, the use of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population.
4.25.2008 9:20pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Yah, it wasn't terrorism because they targeted our government . . . I see.
4.25.2008 9:24pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
I fully expect to see a groundswell of action over the coming days, from all those seeking to oust Professor Yoo, directed against Northwestern and its continued employment of a known terrorist. Oh wait, silly me, leftist radicals get a free pass! How could I forget.
4.25.2008 9:27pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Orin, Benson questioned her about her support for terrorism. She responded that his column is an example of the "New McCarthyism." Hence what I wrote.

The ellipses that you put in, suggesting that it's calling the violent acts she support(ed?) terrorism that's the McCarthyism, ignores the fact that the ellipses edit out two sentences and a paragraph break, though I suppose it's at least possible that's what she meant. If so, I'd just change my post to "she seems to suggest that anyone who, in questioning her past support for and participation in violence, suggests that she engaged in 'terrorism', is a McCarthyist because they don't accept her narrow definition of the term."
4.25.2008 9:31pm
TerrencePhilip:
To clarify, I have never endorsed terrorism, the use of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population.

Am I wrong in reading this as her offering a personal definition of terrorism -"the use of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population"?

And so something that she did or "endorsed" that fell outside this definition- perhaps, a violent act in "resistance" to same- would be justified?

How do these people get faculty jobs at such excellent universities?
4.25.2008 9:35pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
TP: Of course she is not disavowing her past behavior, just defining it as "not terrorism."
4.25.2008 9:40pm
OrinKerr:
David, again, I know nothing about Dohrn. But the plain text of what she wrote was that it was the "tone" of what Benson wrote that was "the New McCarthyism." Now I have no idea what "the New McCarthyism" is, but if someone says "your tone is XXX", that's quite different from saying "your substance is XXX." "Tone" is generally about the style, not the substance.
4.25.2008 9:40pm
liberty (mail) (www):
The Weathermen, and Weather Underground used bombs and were not reluctant to kill innocent civilians to achieve their aims. They also supported the Black Panther's violent actions. (For her) To say that they didn't sanction terrorism is just a re-writing of history.
4.25.2008 9:41pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>>But the plain text of what she wrote was that it was the "tone" of what Benson wrote that was "the New McCarthyism." Now I have no idea what "the New McCarthyism" is, but if someone says "your tone is XXX", that's quite different from saying "your substance is XXX." "Tone" is generally about the style, not the substance.

<<<<


Thanks.

I'm saving this, just in case I ever have to provide an example of the definition of the word "pettifog".
4.25.2008 9:50pm
OrinKerr:
CDR D,

Sorry if the difference between tone and substance -- and between saying something is true in one case vs. always true -- is something that you find unusually tricky.
4.25.2008 9:55pm
glangston (mail):
McCarthyism seems to be easy to define, terrorism less so. It's all in the wrist.
4.25.2008 10:01pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Orin, I see. I never new "McCarthyism", much less "the New McCarthyism," has a particular tone,and I don't think it's unreasonable to surmise that the "tone" she objects to is any (non-obsequious) "attempt to question her current views about her past activities."
4.25.2008 10:02pm
OrinKerr:
David,

Well, I think all writing has a tone. Sometimes a tone is sarcastic and bitter, sometimes it is generous and open. I think tone is really important. But perhaps I am quirky in those beliefs.
4.25.2008 10:13pm
Richard Riley (mail):
David, the FrontPageMag item you link to, that cites both a Daily Northwestern article and Dohrn's response, is dated three years ago: April 19, 2005. And a search of "Dohrn" in the archives of the Daily Northwestern site confirms that all this took place in April 2005. I know Dohrn and Ayers are back in the news, but this item doesn't justify your talking about what Dohrn "appears" (your present tense) to be doing now.
4.25.2008 10:15pm
Gilbert (mail):
From what I understand the violent wing of SDS that turned into the Weathermen Underground made the exact same leap that Al Qaeda does to justify killing the innocent -- that the injustice is so pervasive and so apparent that inaction is tantamount to passive endorsement.

What interests me is how this seems to keep cropping up as some kind of natural human mistake in reasoning. Think "you are either with us or against us."

Anyway, I still don't see how these people can be treated legitimate members of society, much less politically connected, when they don't even see how wrong they were.
4.25.2008 10:17pm
Richard Riley (mail):
To clarify - I certainly have no reason to think Dohrn has changed her views in the last three years. But it still looks like your post is treating this as current news, and it's not.
4.25.2008 10:19pm
Diggity Steve (mail):
Anyone else wondering whether liberal students have attempted to interrogate in similarly myopic and completely irrelevant ways persons such as William F. Buckley (for his racist past) or Scooter Libby (for his federal conviction), demanding answers as if they actually knew anything about the topic at hand and as if they, with their 20-year-old wealth of knowledge, actually have any context with which to inquire?

I don't know what Dohrn is referring to with the "New McCarthyism", but the plague of conservative students who are loud, abrasive, ignorant, and narrow-minded is becoming worse and worse as they are able to describe their "victimization" at the hands of "liberal" academia in more and more conservative fora.
4.25.2008 10:23pm
BGates:
Orin is reading much more carefully than Dohrn wrote. In his reading, the 'new McCarthyism' is a matter of tone, and tone and substance are two entirely different things. But the old McCarthyism was a matter of substance. If McCarthy had said 'please' and 'thank you' or televised the proceedings in color rather than black and white in the course of investigating people's ties to Communism, the change in tone would have been meaningless. If the only important thing about McCarthyism is the substance, it makes no sense to describe something as "the new McCarthyism" based on tone.

My sense is that since McCarthy asked people about their ties to objectionable groups, and Dohrn is being asked about her ties to objectionable groups, she is making an objection based on substance. Her word choice is as sloppy as her group's bombs used to be.
4.25.2008 10:26pm
Bleepless (mail):
Is it McCarthyism to point out that Dohrn praised the Manson killers in a public speech?
4.25.2008 10:32pm
BGates:
Speaking of sloppy word choice, here's Diggity Steve. "Irrelevant" does not mean "something Steve doesn't want to talk about".

But to answer your question, no, I don't think a liberal college student ever confronted William F Buckley. Of course, despite the fact that it never ever came up in discussions of him, not once between the 50s and Steve's comment here, Buckley did apologize for it some time ago.

Also, neither Buckley nor Libby ever tried to kill anybody. But that is the kind of thing Steve would call 'irrelevant'.
4.25.2008 10:34pm
Smokey:
And as it turns out, McCarthy was right.
4.25.2008 10:36pm
wm13:
Interesting. So I guess Prof. Kerr agrees and endorses the position that crashing a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11 wasn't terrorism. What a pity that he doesn't have the intellectual courage to defend that position forthrightly.

There I go, being a McCarthyist.
4.25.2008 10:42pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Essentially Dohrn argues that her use of violence was justified in the cause of a greater good: stopping the Vietnam War. Of course that's exactly the excuse people who bomb abortion clinics use: we are justified in killing doctors and clinic personnel to stop the carnage of baby killing. Except those people go to jail, and they certainly don't become professors. Is there any university that would give a professorship to someone who bombed an abortion clinic? Would the government give up on persecuting an abortion clinic bomber, or would it somehow find some charge to get them in the dock? Would Obama or any other politician for that matter, have anything to do with someone who bombed an abortion clinic?
4.25.2008 10:50pm
McGrath (mail):
Wow, Smokey. McCarthy turns out to have been right that there was an effort by communists to infiltrate the US government. He does not seem to have been especially good at identifying them, though.

But he was pretty good at ruining innocent people.
4.25.2008 10:52pm
MarkField (mail):

So I guess Prof. Kerr agrees and endorses the position that crashing a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11 wasn't terrorism. What a pity that he doesn't have the intellectual courage to defend that position forthrightly.

There I go, being a McCarthyist.


Good call; self-reflection is a real strong point for you, I see.

Two snarks making a right, let's move on to the substance. Crashing a plane full of civilians into the Pentagon IS terrorism. Not because of the target, but because of the weapon. But if Russia dropped a nuke on the Pentagon, only a fool would describe that as "terrorism". Military weapon, military target.
4.25.2008 10:54pm
alias:
Prof. Dohrn's response seems equivocal and evasive, and I wouldn't read much into it. I think she thinks that Benson is trying to antagonize her, and she came up with a response that pushes back without committing to anything specific. The "tone" of her letter is rather assertive, but the "substance" is nonexistent. If I were in her shoes and I thought that a sophomore was trying to antagonize me, I'd probably do something similar.

Here's the first paragraph:

The tone of Guy Benson's April 5 guest column, "Law Prof Owes Explanation," is the kind of poorly researched "new McCarthyism" so suddenly fashionable. The reporter says he is denied "both sides of the story," unable to get a "balanced assessment." He quotes my "assistant" and the New York Times quoting my "husband" and asks me to clarify his alleged comments.

The only outright statement she makes is that the column is "poorly researched," though she doesn't say how. "Assistant" and "husband" are in scare quotes, and the comments are "alleged." She basically refuses to confirm or deny any of the assertions that Guy Benson makes, including that Bill Ayers is actually her husband, that he made any comments, or that the NYTimes quoted him accurately.

The two paragraphs following are basically: (1) I'm not a recluse and I don't hide my views (whatever they are), and (2) I oppose terrorism as I define it.

I disagree with Prof. Bernstein's characterization of the exchange, and I think that Prof. Dohrn is just telling a sophomore to buzz off, no more and no less.
4.25.2008 11:04pm
Ted F (www):
Here is the Overlawyered round-up of links, which provides more context.
4.25.2008 11:12pm
wm13:
OK, Mark Field, what about the Weathermen setting off a bomb at the Pentagon? That would be terrorism, right? (The Weathermen not being exactly a group that bore arms openly, wore distinctive uniforms, operated under a command structure, etc.) So Bernardine Dohrn's definition of terrorism is wrong, and she is a terrorist, right? And people who call her a terrorist are not McCarthyists, but simple speakers of the truth, right?
4.25.2008 11:15pm
wm13:
And, following up here, Mark Field, Prof. Dohrn's reference to the "organized terrorism" of the U.S. government is Vietnam is an out-and-out lie, since the use of military weapons by a government is not terrorism, right?
4.25.2008 11:17pm
AnonVCCommenter (mail):
Isn't it a bit odd that post-Columbine and Va. Tech, students with no history of violence are at risk of suspension and being sent for mandatory psychiatric treatment if they show any manifestation of or interest in violence, but unrepentant ex-terrorists (or, if you prefer Dohrn's narrow definition of terrorism, unrepentant activists who engaged in serious violent activities leading to several deaths, resulting in the activists hiding from prosecution for a decade)are exempt from such scrutiny if they are on the faculty? Northwestern itself has a policy regarding violence, including a list of warning signs of potentially violent people, some of which are broad enough to apply to Dohrn. Perhaps the next student who finds himself in hot water over a violent poem or t-shirt can respond, "but I'm just upset about the 'illegal, immoral war against Vietnam [or Iraq?] and the organized terrorism of my government.'" Because that makes resort to violence okay.

Not that I think that Dohrn is presently a threat, but it's interesting how unevenly "zero tolerance" policies are appied.
4.25.2008 11:23pm
Cornellian (mail):
Given an opportunity to disavow her violent criminal past as a member of the Weather Underground . . .

I'd never heard of Dohrn until this post, and I'm too young to remember the Weather Underground, but I'm immediately suspicious of a post that slides from "her violent criminal past" to "as a member of the Weather Underground." If she herself had done something violent in the past, I'd expect the post to say what that was. To say that she has a violent past because she was a member of a group in which other members did violent things just looks to me like an admission that she herself didn't do anything.
4.25.2008 11:27pm
Diggity Steve (mail):
I would be interested in hearing from someone who did come of age in the Vietnam War era (or who has studied it) and who could place Dohrn's conduct during that time in some sort of context. This context, I believe, is crucial in disarming the crude, misplaced analogies presented by AnonVCCommenter and those who would compare Dohrn's conduct to that of al-Qaeda.
4.25.2008 11:28pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
Ayers/Dorhn audio/video files:

audio

video

swine, the pair.
4.25.2008 11:36pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

but this item doesn't justify your talking about what Dohrn "appears" (your present tense) to be doing now.


true- amazingly, after 2005 Ayers and Dorhn both took vows as Carmelite nuns, Ayers having a full-op sex change prior to marrying Christ.

Wise up.
4.25.2008 11:40pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

I would be interested in hearing from someone who did come of age in the Vietnam War era (or who has studied it) and who could place Dohrn's conduct during that time in some sort of context. This context, I believe, is crucial in disarming the crude, misplaced analogies presented by AnonVCCommenter and those who would compare Dohrn's conduct to that of al-Qaeda.


That would be me, see above.
4.25.2008 11:42pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
According to Wikipedia, Dohrn is not a member in good standing of either the New York or Illinois Bar. She has a criminal record including bail jumping and obstruction of justice by refusing to testify in a criminal trial. Yet she's a professor of law. How is that anyone can demand Yoo be removed from his tenured position as a law professor?
4.25.2008 11:47pm
Diggity Steve (mail):
Obviously, A. Zarkov, it's because law school (and university) faculties have a certain amount of sympathy for 60s-era radicals, even if a criminal record is present. I am sure most faculty members of age either protested the war or dodged the draft or both. I will not speculate on whether any also potentially committed felonies. Does this surprise you?

I am severely opposed to removing Yoo from his tenured professorship solely on the basis of his work in the OLC, but, come a Democratic administration, if he is charged with some criminal offense for his OLC activities, and convicted, I would think that conservatives who support booting out Dohrn would have to do the same for Yoo.
4.26.2008 12:08am
TerrencePhilip:
Wow:

http://www.chron.org/tools/viewart.php?artid=298

apparently her career has been boosted by her father-in-law who ran Commonwealth Edison- she was hired as an associate at Sidley Austin until they realized that being unable to be admitted to the bar due to character would stunt her career, then she was hired at Northwestern, where her father-in-law had been chair of the board of trustees. I guess he must not've been one of the "bad" capitalist pigs; surely that is why they never tried to kill him as part of their glorious resistance plan. Then-prof Daniel Posby has a good quote about hiring her- he called it the "laundering of evil."
4.26.2008 12:23am
OrinKerr:
wm13 writes:
Interesting. So I guess Prof. Kerr agrees and endorses the position that crashing a plane into the Pentagon on 9/11 wasn't terrorism. What a pity that he doesn't have the intellectual courage to defend that position forthrightly.

There I go, being a McCarthyist.
????? Can anyone translate for me what this is supposed to mean? I gather WM13 is attempting to be clever, but I don't follow it. Maybe he is poking fun at the misrepresentions of Dohrn by making the most absurd misrepresentation he can imagine?
4.26.2008 12:25am
MarkField (mail):

And, following up here, Mark Field, Prof. Dohrn's reference to the "organized terrorism" of the U.S. government is Vietnam is an out-and-out lie, since the use of military weapons by a government is not terrorism, right?


Your conclusion doesn't follow at all. Governments engage in terrorism all the time (that's how the word originated). And they use the military to do it. Hell, a great deal of Stalinist Russia and Hitler's Germany involved just that behavior. And Trotsky wrote a whole book trying to justify it after the October Revolution.

Whether any particular act by US forces in Vietnam constituted terrorism, or whether certain overall policies were fairly described as "terrorist" depends on the exact facts and the goals one attributes to US forces. Dohrn is wrong to characterize the whole war as "terrorist", but that doesn't mean she's lying. There certainly were things we did there which probably were fairly described as "terrorist", but few of them constituted official policy.


OK, Mark Field, what about the Weathermen setting off a bomb at the Pentagon? That would be terrorism, right?


Might be. Merely identifying the group responsible doesn't answer the question. We need to judge the purpose and reasonably anticipated effect of bombing as well. If it was to generate fear in the US population, or would reasonably do so, then yes. If it was to destroy a military target as part of a perceived (though Quixotic) "revolution", then no.
4.26.2008 12:31am
Jmaie (mail):
Well, Diggety Steve, I'll give it a try.

Kids' emotional development tends to be stunted. Teens generally believe their elders to be annoying and stupid, with a corresponding belief in their own omniscience. They tend to grow out of this phase, although not completely by college years, and some slower than others. Dohrn was one of these.

Rebelling against parents/elders is a tradition from the beginnings of time. The difference this time was that the excesses of the sixties were seen and popularized on T.V. - with the result that this rebellion was seen to be accepted by adults.

Casual sex and drug use was now the social norm, forcing the Dohrns of the world to push the envelope. Violence "for a cause" was the next available outlet. Children are always prone to romanticism, and groups such as the Weathermen supplied the context which allowed them their self-justification.

This has not gone away either, consider the ELF and PETA.
****************

"The plague of conservative students who are loud, abrasive, ignorant, and narrow-minded is becoming worse and worse..."

This statement is completely correct. What you are ignoring is that * all * students are loud and narrow minded. It's just that you don't see liberal students in this light because you generally agree with their positions and therefore approve of their actions.

S'OK, you'll grow out of it too :<)
4.26.2008 12:31am
Jmaie (mail):
Oh, and 20 years ago conservative students were more used to keeping their heads down.
4.26.2008 12:34am
Diggity Steve (mail):
Eh, I still think anyone who has recently been on or currently is on a campus can testify that conservative students are generally the most myopic and most obnoxious of all. See, e.g., affirmative action bake-sales, the "white students only" scholarship pushes, the anti-immigrant "games" played on numerous campuses, etc. etc. The list goes on.
4.26.2008 12:43am
plutosdad (mail):
so in essence her argument was "I was against our government killing people I thought were innocent, so in response I went out and killed / orchestrated the killings of innocent civilians"

yeah, that makes sense...
4.26.2008 12:50am
BGates:
Cornellian, the backup point guard for the Indiana Pacers is "a member of a group in which other members did violent things," but since that group was formed to play basketball games, no one holds it against him. Dohrn was a member of a group which was - per wiki - "initially part of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) within the SDS, splitting from the RYM's Maoists by claiming there was no time to build a vanguard party and that revolutionary war against the United States government and the capitalist system should begin immediately." Again, this is a group that thought the Maoists weren't dedicated enough to the violent overthrow of the United States. The purpose of the group was violence.

For the commenter who thought comparisons to al Qaeda are outlandish because, hey, it's not like the Weathermen declared war on the US: yes, they did. Here's a taste.

Hello. This is Bernardine Dohrn.

I'm going to read A DECLARATION OF A STATE OF WAR.

This is the first communication from the Weatherman underground.
...
Tens of thousands have learned that protest and marches don't do it. Revolutionary violence is the only way.

Now we are adapting the classic guerrilla strategy of the Viet Cong and the urban guerrilla strategy of the Tupamaros to our own situation here in the most technically advanced country in the world.

It was a criminal enterprise, populated by criminals, many of whom - including Dohrn - have been convicted of committing violent crimes. Why are any of you defending them?
4.26.2008 12:51am
Jmaie (mail):
They're myopic because they don't see it your way. I'm sure they feel the same way about those they see as knee-jerk unthinking liberals. Just depends on what pushes their/your buttons.

Not saying you're wrong, by the way. Just partisan.
4.26.2008 12:51am
John Doe (mail) (www):
Funny that you mention Dohrn -- Brian Leiter recently suggested that Obama should name her as Attorney General (he may have been joking, but this is a guy who admires Castro, so there's no telling).

Which reminds me: Brian Leiter and David Bernstein were all hammer and tongs a while back about whether the academy is too intolerant of conservatives (or, as Leiter seems to believe, of leftists). Well, can Leiter name a top-20 law school that hired a right-wing equivalent of Dohrn? An abortion clinic bomber, for example.

That just shows how the legal academy is so skewed to the left. It would be unthinkable for such a radical right-winger to get hired at a top 20 school, because none of the liberals and leftists would put up with it, and the few moderates and conservatives would be too embarrassed. Whereas there are enough guilty liberals in law schools -- who secretly admire the courage of radical leftists -- that someone like Dohrn can find a home.
4.26.2008 12:52am
Diggity Steve (mail):
Funny you don't address the substance of my post, Jmaie. I challenge you to name me activities liberal campus groups have engaged in or staged that rival the offensiveness and obnoxiousness of those staged by conservative campus groups.
4.26.2008 12:58am
BGates:
Steve, you haven't said what was 'ignorant' about the conservative student's article. Is 'ignorant' like 'irrelevant' just a word you use because you enjoy the way it looks on the page, or do you have some idea of its meaning? Certainly the student displayed nothing like the ignorance of the Weathermen that you have here.

For that matter, what was 'abrasive'? He described Dohrn's child advocacy as 'laudable'; you suggest he is part of a 'plague'. Who is abrasive here?
4.26.2008 1:02am
John Steele (mail):
I think the real questions ought to be to the administration of the university ---how could you possibly place a person with her background in a position as a professor of law!
4.26.2008 1:09am
MarkField (mail):

so in essence her argument was "I was against our government killing people I thought were innocent, so in response I went out and killed / orchestrated the killings of innocent civilians"

yeah, that makes sense...


Wiki (yeah, I know, but it's consistent with my memory) says "Apart from an apparently accidental premature detonation of a bomb in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion which claimed the lives of three of their own members, no one was ever harmed in their extensive bombing campaign, as they were always careful to issue warnings in advance to ensure a safe evacuation of the area prior to detonation."
4.26.2008 1:10am
Al (mail):

I challenge you to name me activities liberal campus groups have engaged in or staged that rival the offensiveness and obnoxiousness of those staged by conservative campus groups.


This is a joke, right?? How about assaulting conservative speakers...or trashing campus newspapers that have the temerity to publish conservative writers...or destroying and defacing advertisements for conservative events...
4.26.2008 1:26am
Diggity Steve (mail):
Where do we start, BGates?
Let's start with the assumption that undergraduate students at a university are fully justified in attempting to publicly shame and interrogate any professor (at a graduate school at which this student is not even enrolled) for some past conduct with which they (or even a vast majority of society) disagree. Where does this take us?

Let's imagine another fellow undergrad who discovers that a business school professor at his university used to work in upper management at Union Carbide during the Bhopal disaster in the 1980s. Would this student be fully justified and not "myopic" or "ignorant" or "abrasive" in publishing an open letter to this professor inquiring into his culpability in the disaster? Of course, the student has the right to so inquire, but that doesn't immunize him from judgment for his actions.

Let's make another one even easier. Suppose there's a medical school professor who was sued for medical malpractice for the death of one of her patients and a judgment was entered against her. Would an undergraduate student be exercising non-myopic, non-ignorant, and non-abrasive judgment in attempting to publicly shame and interrogate her for her conduct in the school newspaper?

Please enlighten me.
4.26.2008 1:27am
jccamp:
Unfortunately, there's no such thing as an objective view of the Viet Nam War or the '60's and early '70's. If anything, attitudes have probably hardened (and maybe the ability to remember weakened.)

Dohrn was part of an anti-war group that practiced and preached violent resistance to the government, mostly through bombings. The group generally voiced adaptations of communist thought. Here's an interesting link, with some first hand quotes and rhetoric from Dohrn and the Weather Underground.


Contemporaneous with the Weatherman (and Dohrn), various black militant groups and native Americans were also resorting to violence. There was absolutely nothing from that era to compare with the attacks of 9-11, unless of course, you were related to one of the people murdered in this era by one or another of the groups exercising violence. But, to be fair, I don't think any of the groups ever contemplated anything on the scale of 9-11. They didn't go in for random homicide of civilians, although they did definitely target some functionaries for murder. Cops were a favored target.

I believe that Dohrn, while holding a law degree and a position as a law professor, cannot actually practice law because she's a convicted felon. That may no longer be true.

"...the crude, misplaced analogies..."

I don't know about that, but perhaps a better example might be the current view of the Iraq war by the public - mostly opposed, yes?. Now imagine people rioting in the streets and setting off bombs, killing police from ambush, robbing banks - all in the name of resistance to the war. Granted, Viet Nam was causing significantly more casualties - both military and civilian - there wasn't much room for talk between proponents and opponents to the war. Kinda' like now.

A big difference - nowadays, the idea seems to be we should elect a President and Congress that will view the war in the same way as the voting majority.

While I don't suspect the 60-ish Dohrn and Ayers would again personally resort to violence, they sound unrepentant that they once did, and they seem to justify what happened as a combination of youthful exuberance and absolute necessity. If the quotes above are accurate, Dohrn is careful to define terrorism as something she didn't do. Which, of course, is a complete fantasy. Their tactics of the time were to commit terror attacks, forcing the authorities to overreact and clamp down on the people, raising awareness among the oppressed of the true state of their miserable existence (their words, not mine). Presumably, Dohrn saw herself as one of the highly educated elite who would make all of the important decisions for the rest of us bovine-like worker class.

I do not think, however, than Dohrn was ever personally linked or charged with any attack that resulted in the loss of human life, although certainly her fellow Weathermen did commit murders. (And blew up several of their membership when a bomb detonated prematurely in a fancy NY townhouse.)

One last word...want to know what it sounded like back in the late '60's. Go here and watch the video.


Just one opinion. But I was there.
4.26.2008 1:31am
Cornellian (mail):
Cornellian, the backup point guard for the Indiana Pacers is "a member of a group in which other members did violent things," but since that group was formed to play basketball games, no one holds it against him. Dohrn was a member of a group which was - per wiki - "initially part of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM) within the SDS, splitting from the RYM's Maoists by claiming there was no time to build a vanguard party and that revolutionary war against the United States government and the capitalist system should begin immediately." Again, this is a group that thought the Maoists weren't dedicated enough to the violent overthrow of the United States. The purpose of the group was violence.

Groups with revolutionary rhetoric were a dime a dozen in the 1960's. My point still stands - saying that someone "has a violent past" because of their membership is a group is another way of admitting you can't cite anything that person actually did himself or herself.
4.26.2008 1:33am
calmom:
I don't know why your caption calls her an 'ex-terrorist'. She has not disavowed her past actions, she has not repented or asked forgiveness. She still holds those views. "Ex" implies that she has divorced herself all that.
4.26.2008 1:39am
jccamp:




Sounds of the '60's

4.26.2008 1:42am
neurodoc:
Diggity Steve: Please enlighten me.
We would if we could, but you appear to be unenlightenable and it would be a waste of time to attempt it.
4.26.2008 1:42am
neurodoc:
Diggity Steve: Please enlighten me.
We would if we could, but you appear to be unenlightenable and it would be a waste of time to attempt it.
4.26.2008 1:42am
jccamp:
OK, 3rd try to make the link command function.

This sounds like the 60's

and this is quotes from Dohrn and the WU
4.26.2008 1:45am
jccamp:
Re: what was she accused of doing...A link to a NY Times article about Ayers (and Dohrn). It cites specific incidents.

HERE
4.26.2008 1:48am
Bruce:
I'm with Orin. I don't read the letter as saying that "any attempt to question her current views about her past activities constitutes 'McCarthyism.'" Rather, it seems to be taking the position that that particular attempt to question her about her current views constituted "New McCarthyism." You could just assume that Dohrn meant to take the broader, less defensible position, but that would violate the principle of charitable interpretation.
4.26.2008 1:51am
Gringo (mail):
Diggity Steve
I would be interested in hearing from someone who did come of age in the Vietnam War era (or who has studied it) and who could place Dohrn's conduct during that time in some sort of context.
At one time I was sympathetic to the SDS and the far left, but after having listened to too many of the SDS and the far left, I came to the conclusion that they were sectarian, dogmatic. And not just a little bit arrogant.

Example of the dogmatism and sectarianism. I was a hippie dropout in Berkeley, selling "underground" newspapers on the street to survive. I sold both the Berkeley Barb and the Berkeley Tribe. The Tribe was an offshoot from the Barb- basically because the owner of the Barb didn't pay his staff a sufficient wage. I sold both. I needed the money. Once a driver took a copy of the Barb, and drove off without paying me: "it's a pig paper." Of such small incidents come political opinions.

I recall a protest moment when a SDS activist/leader at my school- not Berkeley- said in a semi private conversation that Lenin should be studied in school, be made a focal study point. Forget Plato and Einstein! Forget Piaget and Freud! Lenin uber alles! Even at the time, I found her adulation of Lenin to be disconcerting. I was a freshman, she was a senior, so we didn't know each other personally, but I will never forget her remark and her name. She went on to become a state legislator, and I assume she did not take the violent road that some in the SDS later took.

There were massive protests against the Vietnam War, most of them peaceful. They had an effect, and to have Dohrn and others claim that the nonviolent protests had no effect, and that violence was necessary, is a total fabrication of history. At the same time, I was a Conscientious Objector, so I did have a certain ideological bias.

Also consider the considerable effect that nonviolent protest had in the passage of the Civil Rights Bill and Voting Rights Bill in the mid 1960s. Those who claimed that nonviolent protest didn't work had an ideological bias- overthrow the system. The Weathermen, which later constituted the violent branch of the SDS, were crazy leftists. No more and no less.

Ex Weathermen who have not repented, such as Ayers and Dohrn, when they have violent political acts in their past, deserve no sympathy whatsoever. Perhaps there were too many refugees from Communism in my hometown for me to have fallen in step with self-professed Marxists preaching and acting on violent revolution, especially upper --class Marxists like Ayers, whose father was Chairman and CEO of Com Edison.
4.26.2008 2:03am
neurodoc:
Al: This is a joke, right?? How about assaulting conservative speakers...or trashing campus newspapers that have the temerity to publish conservative writers...or destroying and defacing advertisements for conservative events...
Al, the elipses were meant to signal that there was more?

You mention "assaulting conservative speakers" (e.g., Columbia, Concordia in Montreal, etc), but do not say that those who offend "liberal" sensibilities have been denied the opportunity to speak on campuses, even when invitations were extended by groups who wanted to hear them. Can Diggity Steve, who has asked to be "enlightened," cite examples of those conservative campus groups he finds so offensive and obnoxious denying others the right to hear invited speakers? (No, picketing does not count, that is an acceptable form of protest.)

"trashing campus newspapers that have the temerity to publish conservative writers," that refers to stealing those papers to keep them from being read by others? Again, maybe Diggity Steve has some examples of conservative campus groups doing that to cite.

You didn't mention instances of real intimidation by the "anti-colonial" Left, especially the so-called anti-Zionists of those who would support Israel on campus, e.g., San Diego State, San Francisco State, etc.

Should we bring up Duke, where the International Solidarity Movement, a supporter of terrorists, was welcomed by the campus Left; where a virulently anti-semitic piece (Philip Kurian) was published by the student newspaper in the wake of the ISM convocation; and where the Left was so intent upon visiting their own version of "justice" on the school's lacrosse team and others viewed as "privileged" or non-PC?

In Diggity Steve's eyes it is offensive and obnoxious for conservative students to object to that sort of things or seek to embarrass respected faculty like Dohrn and Ayers. And neither you, nor I can "enlighten" him.
4.26.2008 2:05am
LM (mail):
liberty,

The Weathermen, and Weather Underground used bombs and were not reluctant to kill innocent civilians to achieve their aims. They also supported the Black Panther's violent actions. (For her) To say that they didn't sanction terrorism is just a re-writing of history.

Possibly, but it's not what she said. She denied endorsing terrorism:

To clarify, I have never endorsed terrorism, the use of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population.
4.26.2008 2:06am
jccamp:
"...I have never endorsed terrorism, the use of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population."

Within the narrow confines of this statement, she's probably accurate, She practiced terrorism with the express aim of causing the government to overreact and violently subjugate the masses. Classic Marx

"one of Marx's profound propositions: revolution progresses by giving rise to a strong and united counter-revolution, i.e., it compels the enemy to resort to more and more extreme measures of defence and in this way devises ever more powerful means of attack."
4.26.2008 2:15am
bobby b (mail):
I do wish that Dohrn and Ayers would do a bit more contemporary research about their sixties' cause. Like them, I was a hard-core anti-war agitator/protester/dissident, and an SDS trouper starting in eighth grade, and and like them, I was firmly convinced that Amerikkka had no place throwing our huge killing machine at a group of peace-loving rebels who were simply working to bring their people out from serial murderous foreign yokes, especially as that throwing of weight seemed to so constantly involve killing those same people we were supposedly trying to save.

And, like them, I was firmly convinced that The War was driven by the simple profit motive for the military-industrial complex that had taken control of our government when their stooges, Nixon and Agnew, pulled their illegal coup.

Damn, we were stupid.

I've since done enough research, spoken to enough informed people, and paid enough attention to Vietnamese sources, North and South, to know now that I, and most of my generation, were just completely wrong. America really was fighting on the side of truth and justice and beauty and freedom. Even worse, my generation took actions that eventually directly drove America out of that conflict far too early.

In our profound self-centeredness and arrogance, we directly caused the needless deaths of millions of innocent people. Had we taken the time to learn what was involved, the information that would have set us straight was out there, available to us readily. We could have educated ourselves, and THEN acted.

But we were young, and stupid, and I remain convinced now that our goal had nothing to do with saving Viet Nam, and everything to do with telling our parents to go screw.

Too bad we couldn't have just stuck to the drugs and sex and music, and left that pesky "causing the deaths of millions" part out of it.
4.26.2008 2:21am
Jmaie (mail):
Diggety Steve -

Ahh, to be young and so righteous.

You challenge me to name obnoxious activities by liberal groups. The fact that you ask tells me you misunderstood my point. There is an unending supply of obnoxious campus incidents perpetrated by both liberals and conservatives.

That you see the current conservative crop as particularly offensive amuses me greatly. It tells me you are lacking in historical perspective. Good news is, you will someday realize that the vast majority of campus activists are neither good nor bad, merely pathetic.

Bottom line is, you dislike that people with whom you disagree express themselves in ways you find offensive. Welcome to the real world.
4.26.2008 2:37am
MW127 (mail):

Wiki (yeah, I know, but it's consistent with my memory) says "Apart from an apparently accidental premature detonation of a bomb in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion which claimed the lives of three of their own members, no one was ever harmed in their extensive bombing campaign, as they were always careful to issue warnings in advance to ensure a safe evacuation of the area prior to detonation."


From the same article, some more detail on the Greenwich bomb:


6 March 1970 -- WUO members Theodore Gold, Diana Oughton, and Terry Robbins are killed in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, when a nailbomb they were constructing detonates. The bomb was intended to be planted at a non-commissioned officer's dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey.


The bomb was filled with nails, and was intended to kill. Fortunately it killed its makers rather than its targets. And Dohrn's fellow weather underground people hardly forsook violence and murder, though its true they took a temporary hiatus from the killing after their botched attempt. It was only temporary though, and Dohrn was went to jail to avoid testifying against her friend Susan Rosenberg, who drove the getaway car in the deadly Brinks Robbery.

Amazing what you can find on Wikipedia these days.
4.26.2008 2:37am
Heh:

but if someone says "your tone is XXX", that's quite different from saying "your substance is XXX." "Tone" is generally about the style, not the substance.


Where I work, there is a department head who doesn't like to be disagreed with. When you write something, no matter how bland or respectful, that he disagrees with but lacks a good argument against, he rejects it for 'tone'. I've watched individuals who I know to write in a very clean, very neutral way, get this same rejection when they advance ideas this guy doesn't like.

He uses 'tone' when he can't come up with a response against substance. He's not the only person I've ever see do this. The reason they do this is that often, upper management only wants to deal with substance. When someone claims 'tone' or 'attitude' or a few other terms, management very quickly don't want to deal with it. If an individual is already in a position of authority, it usually leads to management taking their word that they've been offended or disrespected, and therefor they almost always can ignore the substance.

In a case like this, it's impossible to prove whether this Dohrn person is doing this or not. However, it would be easy to disprove if someone could show a situation where Dohrn felt this line of questioning was appropriate. I couldn't find even one. To me, it seems like she's using the 'tone' argument to escape the substance of the questions.
4.26.2008 2:40am
Ed Nutter (mail):
"Damn, we were stupid."

Bobby,

What's really sad, and scary, is that so many of the early Boomer generation (mine) are still that stupid. They haven't learned a thing in 40 years. What's scary is that one of their younger acolytes is running for President and has a serious shot at actually getting there.

I saw a great quote elsewhere that describes these characters. "You couldn't get a clue if you were covered in clue musk and set in a field full of horny clues during clue mating season."
4.26.2008 2:41am
neurodoc:
Dohrn: To clarify, I have never endorsed terrorism, the use of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population.

I fought the illegal, immoral war against Vietnam and the organized terrorism of my government -- and I unequivocally oppose the terrorism of governments, individuals, and religious, political and irregular organizations. I believe we all have an obligation to speak up about what is being done in our name.
In Dohrn's mind she was only fighting "the organized terrorism of my government." Ergo, she wasn't herself a terrorist, though she enlisted with like-minded others to employ bombs and other weapons to bring about their ideologic ends. Calling in those "war declarations" and warnings of bombs to go off was no attempt to use "violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population." Those bombs amounted to "symbolic" speech and were only a means to fulfill "an obligation to speak up about what is being done in our name," loudly.

LM, I take what Dohrn has said to be a frank admission of her endorsement of terrorism, though she may fancy it a denial. Understand her words for what they are, namely just another version of that "one man's 'terrorist' is another's 'freedom fighter'" bullshit.
4.26.2008 2:58am
John Moore (mail) (www):

would be interested in hearing from someone who did come of age in the Vietnam War era (or who has studied it) and who could place Dohrn's conduct during that time in some sort of context.

I went to college (University of Kansas) during that time, went to Vietnam as a Navy airman, and returned to college. After I returned, there were local anti-war riots where a couple of people were killed, someone burned down the student union building, and someone (SDS? Weathermen?) planted a bomb in the computer center which injured several computer operators (civilians), at least one permanently. They also kept trying to burn down the ROTC building, but the darned thing wouldn't ignite, which was amusing.

It was a time of chaos among college youth, with all sorts of wacko movements and causes, all mixed up with the sexual revolution and widespread use of drugs - mostly marijuana and LSD. Most of the energy energy went into anti-war movements, because people were afraid of being drafted and sent to Vietnam (this is shown by the dramatic collapse of all but the most radical movements when the draft was reformed). Also, it was fun to go to demonstrations - a picnic with fun people, good drugs, nice looking chicks, and a feeling that you were doing something good or part of some amazing phenomenon.

Even in the context of those times, the SDS was out there... way out there. They were Marxist and revolutionaries, advocating overthrow of the democratically elected government of the US. At my University, 5 of the 7 founding members were also members of the Communist Party, USA - which provided support to many of these movements with money furnished by the KGB.

SDS, not just the more radical Weather factions, was into violence. I saw them use it to take over an anti-war demonstration from more pacifist organizers.

In spite of all this, very few people practiced any form of terrorism or belonged to terrorist groups. There was lots of anger (and a lot of narcissism), but little violence. Thus Dohrn and Ayers represent an extremely small minority.

Put another way, almost everyone avoided violence - 99.99%, so the excuse that SDS'ers were young is just that - an excuse. The rest of us were young too, and we didn't hurt anyone or blow anything up.

Another factor many may not realize is that a lot of the leaders or ideologists of these movements were not as young. They were of the '50s, not '60s generation. They were committed leftists taking advantage of the ignorance and adolescent angst of the 60'ers to push far left causes.

Dohrn and Ayers shouldn't be professors or be in any position of respect or authority. Only the modern, corrupt and highly leftist education establishment would honor these cowards. They betrayed their fellow citizens, endangered many, and caused death and destruction. They don't deserve much more than to be shunned by society.
4.26.2008 3:01am
Flash Gordon (mail):
This argument over what Dohrn said or didn't say is rather silly. Here's what you need to know, Mr. Kerr. Dorhn and Ayers are murderers who got away with it.

Ayers joined the Weatherman domestic terror group in 1969, and took part in bombings of several police stations and the Pentagon. He became a fugitive after a bomb he and his associates were planning to place in the Fort Dix officers' club exploded prematurely, killing three. While on the run, Ayers married fellow terrorist Bernadine Dohrn. They turned themselves in 1981, but charges against them were dropped because of alleged prosecutorial misconduct.

On the day before 9/11 Ayers said he was not sorry for his terrorist acts, and wishes he had done more. Now do you know something about these two, Mr. Kerr? Now do you know something a little more important than your silly argument over what in hell Dohrn's most recent stinking lie happens to be?

They were lucky. The won the injustice lottery. It's a disgrace that they are both on an academic faculty. But then, most academic faculties are a disgrace these days.

[OK comments: News flash, Flash: I'm not defending these two scoundrels. Sorry if what interests me isn't what interests you, or if the concept of two different people having different interests is hard for you to understand or somehow offensive to you.]
4.26.2008 3:02am
neurodoc:
Dohrn was went [sic] to jail to avoid testifying against her friend Susan Rosenberg, who drove the getaway car in the deadly Brinks Robbery.
That would be the same Susan Rosenberg who William Jefferson Clinton pardoned, the one who was to teach a course at Hamilton College on memoir writing, drawing on her on experience as a writer for so many years in prison, until the Ward Churchill affair caused so much embarrassment that the school president had to rescind the job offer?

But MW127, shame on you for this guilt by association stuff. Don't you know it's the New McCarthyism?

(Note: Obama and his people accuse the Clinton camp of being the pot that calls the kettle black because they bring up Ayers, but say nothing of Rosenberg and another former 60's terrorist pardoned by her husband. And yes, all puns, ironies, and the like are fully intended here.)
4.26.2008 3:09am
Visitor Again:
One commenter wrote:

so in essence her argument was "I was against our government killing people I thought were innocent, so in response I went out and killed / orchestrated the killings of innocent civilians"

Another wrote:

It was a criminal enterprise, populated by criminals, many of whom - including Dohrn - have been convicted of committing violent crimes. Why are any of you defending them?

As far as I know, the only innocent civilians killed by the Weatherman or its successor, the Weather Underground, were the three Weathermen killed in the New York townhouse explosion when one of them accidentally set off a bomb and a graduate student at, I believe, the University of Wisconsin, killed in an explosion when he unexpectedly stayed at work all night. Bernardine Dohrn was never convicted of a crime of violence against any poerson; she was convicted for her participation in the Days of Rage, in which she and others ran rampant through the streets of Chicago, smashing store windows. She was never connected with a bombing or other event that killed or injured any person. The same is true of Bill Ayers.

Attempt to brand them as terrorists are absurd. The real terrorist of the time were Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, J. Edgar Hoover and the like. The Weatherman and Weather Underground may have talked a good game, but when it came down to it did very little.

I knew Bernardine Dohrn slightly, I was a Leftist during this time (and still am), and I represented persons connected with the Weather Underground and the Black Panther Party during the late Sixties and early to mid- Seventies.

I don't think anyone who did not live through the time can understand the passions it evoked. Practically every leader young people admired was assassinated during the Sixties. Those under 21 did not have the vote, although men over 18 were among those subject to the draft. Racism was rampant and our cities were in flames every summer. The FBI and big city police forces waged war against black protesters who dared to speak out and the Left in general. The War in Viet Nam was a horror. Violence was the order of the day, or so it seemed.
4.26.2008 3:16am
Talkosaurous:

Maybe some people are so blinded by the issue that they interpret a criticism of how a bad person is being characterized with a claim that a bad person is good. Perhaps. But I guess I'm old-fashioned in thinking that we don't need to misrepresent evil to criticize it. Perhaps I am alone in taking that approach.


Are you angling for sainthood? Here's what was written:


The tone of Guy Benson's April 5 guest column, "Law Prof Owes Explanation," is the kind of poorly researched "new McCarthyism" so suddenly fashionable..


She's using the term 'McCarthyism' to describe what she views as 'poor research'. Here the 'McCarthyism' is an action; the type of research given. Actions don't have 'tones', speech patterns do. A reasonable person, aware of the political realities of the day (especially withing the academic setting), knows exactly what a loaded word 'McCarthyism' is, and that it is certainly not trotted out to rebuke a 'tone'. It's a term brought out to stigmatize the questioner when the interviewee wishes to avoid even the slightest hint of a reasonable answer. If you wish to know why she choose to use the qualifier 'tone', my guess would be a heady mix of 'CYA' in case someone reasonably points out the cheapness of using 'McCarthyism', and also from her past activities and current speeches/explanations I'd infer she's not exactly one of the universes brightest stars.
4.26.2008 3:26am
neurodoc:
Visitor Again: As far as I know, the only innocent civilians killed by the Weatherman or its successor, the Weather Underground, were the three Weathermen killed in the New York townhouse explosion when one of them accidentally set off a bomb and a graduate student at, I believe, the University of Wisconsin, killed in an explosion when he unexpectedly stayed at work all night.
Who gets the credit for the two policemen and the armed guard killed in that '81 Brinks robbery? No ties there to the Weather Underground or their "affiliates"?

(Note: I erred when I said Clinton "pardoned" Rosenberg. He commuted her lengthy prison sentence for her part in that Brinks robbery.)

And FWIW, I was a student during those turbulent times, and don't have the same exactly the same view of went down then, as you do Visitor Again.
4.26.2008 3:30am
neurodoc:
[OK comments: Neurodoc, please give me a call at my office number or send me an e-mail and leave your phone # so we can have a chat.]
4.26.2008 3:36am
Robbins Mitchell (mail):
This from the skank who creamed her panties over the Manson killings at the Weatherman 'war council' they held...just a bloodthirsty punk like Ayers...using 'revolution' as a pretext to kill anybody they don't like or agree with...still terminally homicidal
4.26.2008 4:39am
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Visitor Again:

As far as I know, the only innocent civilians killed by the Weatherman or its successor, the Weather Underground, were the three Weathermen killed in the New York townhouse explosion when one of them accidentally set off a bomb ...

A nail bomb. Intended for a dance. With civilians present.

... and a graduate student at, I believe, the University of Wisconsin, killed in an explosion when he unexpectedly stayed at work all night.

Robert Fassnacht. A human being worth more than twenty "Distinguished Professors of Education," in my humble opinion.

Attempt to brand them as terrorists are absurd. The real terrorist of the time were Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, J. Edgar Hoover and the like. The Weatherman and Weather Underground may have talked a good game, but when it came down to it did very little.

Interesting that he doesn't mention Ho Chi Minh, Vo Nguyen Giap, Le Duc Tho, and the like. I guess they were innocent pacifist agrarian reformers.
4.26.2008 4:44am
Gregory Koster (mail):
Dear Professor Kerr: I had a long comment on your travails with neurodoc, but it seems to have vanished. So I will only say that your responses haven't been what I would expect from the Conspiracy.

[OK comments: Greg, neurodoc was obnoxious and rude to me, and kept it up: I don't think there is some rule that I have to let him do that on my blog. I gather understand that you disagree. I'll delete the rest of your comment disagreeing, as I don't think its relevant to anything in the thread. If you want to discuss this with me, please call me directly and I would be happy to discuss this one on one.]

While here, let me suggest a book for those who want to know more about the Weather Underground (WU):

DIANA: THE MAKING OF A TERRORIST by Thomas Powers, published in 1971.

Powers was a UPI reporter who covered the WU, well enough to win the 1971 Pulitzer Prize for it. He turned his reporting into this book. The book describes Diana Oughton, one of the three WU's who were killed in the explosion, but it has material on Dohrn and William Ayers. Still well wroth reading. It isn't in print, but a biggish public/academic library should have it, or use the joys of Amazon's used book market.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster
4.26.2008 4:54am
DangerMouse:
People like Visitor Again defend these terrorists because many leftists sympathize with their actions. They sympathize with revolution and murder. They think they're the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars, when really they're just another bunch of brownshirts who push decent people around and endanger the lives of innocents.

It is very dismaying to see that even today people still get starry-eyed over 60s radicals. I'd suspect that such sympathizers are incredibly, incredibly stupid, charmed into a vision of a romantic life of daring, resistance, men against society, saving the world, and etc. If not that, then it's worse - a smiling look of approval on people willing to bomb others in order to satisfy their own inflated egos and to play war games against their own government - a government they have no hope of defeating. It's all a game to them. Then they quit the game and retire and go lecture others to try it.

People who look up to terrorists like Dohrn and Ayers need to be put into a mental institution. They're either too stupid, or too depraved, for normal society.
4.26.2008 5:10am
LM (mail):
bobby b,

In our profound self-centeredness and arrogance, we directly caused the needless deaths of millions of innocent people.

I assume you're referring mainly to the Cambodian genocide. Putting aside the uncertain number of deaths, I realize that blaming the genocide on the anti-war left has become an article of faith in the right-wing narrative, but that doesn't make it more than tendentious speculation. Even if you assume our troop withdrawal from Viet Nam was pre-mature; our withdrawal of aid to Lon Nol speeded the Khmer Rouge victory; and responsibility for both belongs to the anti-war left (and that's a lot of conjectural stipulation), it still ignores all the other factors, including our policies and actions in Viet Nam and Cambodia in years prior, that paved the way for Pol Pot's ascension.

The instability that drove Norodom Sihanouk from power into Pol Pot's arms, and popular sympathy for the Khmer insurgency, both fueled by years of our carpet bombing, are a couple of examples. There were also countless factors we had nothing to do with. The shifting alliances and machinations of China and Vietnam come to mind. And don't forget the wild card of our very presence in Vietnam. To blame the genocide on our leaving when we have no idea what would have transpired in Cambodia if we had never arrived is the most selective kind of speculation. Saying the anti-war movement "directly caused the needless deaths of millions of innocent people" is at best a scurrilous distortion.
4.26.2008 5:28am
LM (mail):
neurodoc,

LM, I take what Dohrn has said to be a frank admission of her endorsement of terrorism, though she may fancy it a denial. Understand her words for what they are, namely just another version of that "one man's 'terrorist' is another's 'freedom fighter'" bullshit.

Neurodoc, to be clear, I have no idea what she took part in, so my comment pertained only to her words, not her behavior. Suffice it to say, I have no sympathy for what she did, whatever you call it. But I think distinctions like those between targeting property and people, and between soldiers and civilians, are meaningful, both definitionally and morally. At least I've always treated them so regarding behavior of the Haganah, the Irgun and Israel. So I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater and make myself a hypocrite to boot.

Again, you may think her intentions were more sinister than she admits, and you may be right. I have no way of knowing, which is why I only address her words.
4.26.2008 6:25am
Roger Schlafly (www):
Sen. McCarthy was on a mission to expose Americans with anti-American loyalties, in order to reduce harmful influences. He successfully brought attention to many such cases. The Northwestern article correctly exposes Dohrn's anti-American past. It sounds like new McCarthyism to me. What's the problem?
4.26.2008 6:30am
A. Zarkov (mail):
It does not matter if Dohrn actually planted a bomb herself as she was part of a criminal conspiracy that engaged in such acts. Moreover she was also guilty of incitement to violence. What else would you call statements like
"Kill all the rich people. Break up their cars and apartments. Bring the revolution home, kill your parents,..."
Thus Dohrn seems to think killing people you disagree with is a proper course of action. How would she like someone saying "Go kill Dohrn right now." She would instantly run to the fascist police and demand protection and that person be prosecuted for incitement to violence.

This is too bad for BHO. His failure to absolutely condemn in no uncertain terms the likes of Ayers and Dohrn makes him unfit to hold any elective office let alone the presidency of the United States. His willingness to have any associations with such people disqualify him period.
4.26.2008 7:04am
Crimso:

As far as I know, the only innocent civilians killed by the Weatherman or its successor, the Weather Underground, were the three Weathermen killed

There are two consecutive words that don't belong in this quote.
4.26.2008 7:32am
A. Zarkov (mail):
This site has links to audio files that contain statements by Dohrn and Ayers. The statements are both recent and from circa 1970. BHO's pathetic "I was only eight years old," gets revealed for what it is: a lame excuse. Dohrn calls her country a "monster" in 2007.
4.26.2008 7:40am
Roger Schlafly (www):
Yes, the Weathermen never killed anyone, except three of their own. They were evil, but let's not exaggerate.
4.26.2008 7:48am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
"Anyone else wondering whether liberal students have attempted to interrogate in similarly myopic and completely irrelevant ways persons such as William F. Buckley (for his racist past) or Scooter Libby (for his federal conviction), demanding answers as if they actually knew anything about the topic at hand and as if they, with their 20-year-old wealth of knowledge, actually have any context with which to inquire?"

Myoptic? The Weather Underground was considered a terrorist organization "back in the day". As for Buckley's racism how about some info to back that up. All I remember about his views on race is that he broke away from a group for it's antisemitism to form his own organization. That was back when antisemitism was prevalent throughout society.

As for Scooter Libby, didn't they get him on "lying to federal investigators" when there wasn't any underlying fundamental charge? That is, there was no crime but he's in jail anyway. Hardly equivalent to murdering people with bombs. Wasn't quite clear on how they proved that he had lied either. Seemed more like a difference of recollection than intent to deceive. In any case it wasn't important.
4.26.2008 8:31am
Arkady:
Orin wrote:


David,

Well, I think all writing has a tone. Sometimes a tone is sarcastic and bitter, sometimes it is generous and open. I think tone is really important. But perhaps I am quirky in those beliefs.


Well, except for DB's writing, which is tone-deaf.
4.26.2008 8:31am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Diggity,
<i>"I would be interested in hearing from someone who did come of age in the Vietnam War era (or who has studied it) and who could place Dohrn's conduct during that time in some sort of context."</i>

No you wouldn't. I was around then and she was a leader of a terrorist organization that was planting bombs and also killing people. She wasn't some girlfriend of a terrorist. She was the terrorist. The Weather Underground weren't liked by anyone except the crazies. Even the peace and love crowd didn't like them.
4.26.2008 8:39am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Yes, and I know he's not in jail. That's just a phrase.
4.26.2008 8:42am
Skyler (mail) (www):
Terrorists do not deserve the benefit of "nuance" when interpreting their rants.
4.26.2008 8:46am
Gringo (mail):
Visitor Again:
As far as I know, the only innocent civilians killed by the Weatherman or its successor, the Weather Underground,….

Fortunately, there is a difference between competence and intent. Do we praise the Weatherman for not always being competent, in the same way that we are glad that a two year old in the midst of a temper tantrum does not have a finger on The Bomb? As others have pointed out, you ignore those killed in the Brinks robbery, or is it that you do not consider them civilians? Guardians of the Evil Empire and all that?


I don't think anyone who did not live through the time can understand the passions it evoked.
I was there, and here is my take on the Weathermen: arrogant sectarian dogmatic self-righteous SOBS. Let me repeat in the event that it did not register the first time: arrogant sectarian dogmatic self-righteous SOBS. Did that register with you, Mr. Pettifogging Visitor Again ?


She was never connected with a bombing or other event that killed or injured any person. The same is true of Bill Ayers.

She was jailed for refusing to testify about the people involved in the Brinks robbery. While it is possible or even probable she knew nothing about the robbery, her refusal to testify removed the possibility of her proving that she knew nothing about the robbery.

Bill Ayers: "I don't regret setting bombs. I feel we didn't do enough."
"Guilty as sin, free as a bird, America is a great country."

Once again, Visitor Again, pettifoggery on your part. I wish you had had the opportunity to represent those killed in the Brinks robbery.

The War in Viet Nam was a horror
Many on the left have been strangely silent about the genocide in Cambodia. There will be no bloodbath in Vietnam after the US leaves, many of the left shouted out. Doesn't leave the left with a lot of credibility, especially considering WHO committed the genocide in Cambodia. Hint: it wasn't the right wing thugs from the FBI. Perhaps you regret not having had the opportunity to represent Pol Pot and his buddies. After all, you defend Marxists. Just wondering.
4.26.2008 8:55am
davod (mail):
"1981: The unofficial end of the Weather Underground occurs when Kathy Boudin resurfaces to participate in an armed robbery in Nanuet, New York, which results in the shooting deaths of three men. Boudin is sentenced to 22 years in prison, and is released in 2003."*

Wasn't the the Vietnam war finished well before 1981? Don't tell me they were just common thieves.

* From The Independent Lens.
4.26.2008 9:25am
davod (mail):
The Kathy Boudin whos daughter was rauised by Ayers and Dohrn. So they cannot be all that bad, taking in a stray off the street.
4.26.2008 9:28am
Laurence (mail):
I like Dohrn's clever turn of phrase: "To clarify, I have never endorsed terrorism, the use of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population."

So she has not endorsed terrorism against a "civilian" population. However, as others have pointed out, her group was busy constructing "nail bombs" to use at an NCO dance at Ft Dix when their bomb factory exploded. I guess you lose your civilian status when dating a soldier. By this logic, Debra Winger's character was an acceptable target in "An Officer and a Gentleman."
4.26.2008 9:55am
Heh:

I like Dohrn's clever turn of phrase: "To clarify, I have never endorsed terrorism, the use of violence to intimidate or coerce a civilian (or any other) population."


I suppose if she gets to re-define terrorism, then this is ok as well: The government does not endorse torture, the infliction of intense pain (as from burning, crushing, or wounding) to punish or coerce people we like.
4.26.2008 10:10am
Brian Macker (mail) (www):
Diggity,

"I challenge you to name me activities liberal campus groups have engaged in or staged that rival the offensiveness and obnoxiousness of those staged by conservative campus groups."

Oh, come on, you're not paying attention. Liberals go out of their way to be offensive. Ever hear of "Act up". Ever here of Yippies, Hippies and the like. You don't think it's offensive to throw pies at speakers, and disrupt talks by other groups?

Often times the "offensive" stuff that the conservatives do is to mock liberal policy. For instance a bake sale where whites are charged different prices than non-whites.
4.26.2008 10:20am
p. rich (mail) (www):
Just a reminder for those who didn't directly participate in it (I did) that the Vietnam War was filtered through the same left-leaning press we have today. And the press used the same tactics: selective coverage, distortion of the political situation, emphasis on the negative, doctored photographs... You know the drill. Consequently, many today falsely believe we "lost" that war, and that it had no legitimate basis anyway and was therefore evil.

Look, objectively if you can, at the parallels in Iraq with its media coverage and objectors. The left is doing the same things and making the same statements 40 years later. They lied and distorted then, and they continue. And remember also that academia (then and now) provides a haven for the far left and its rhetoric. Where do you think students get those Marxist/Communist ideas in the first place? The idea of a "new world order" is a very old one, and it just gets shiny modern packaging in order to attract the current crop of ignorant and naive "idealists" who cannot, or will not, see the underlying fallacies.
4.26.2008 10:28am
mls (www):
I posted the following yesterday at Balkinization with regard to efforts to challenge John Yoo's tenure:


I am not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet, but here is an obvious case to test the neutrality of the principles folks want to apply to Yoo. It involves Bernardine Dohrn, recently renowned for her association with Senator Obama. According to Wikipedia:

"Dohrn became one of the leaders of the Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM), a radical wing of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), in the late 1960s. The ninth annual national SDS conference was held in Chicago in the summer of 1969, and the SDS collapsed in an RYM-led upheaval. In July 1969, Dohrn, Eleanor Raskin, Dianne Donghi, Peter Clapp, David Millstone and Diana Oughton, all representing "Weatherman", as Dohrn's faction was now called, traveled to Cuba and met with representatives of the North Vietnamese and Cuban governments.
The Weathermen, as they were known colloquially, conducted a series of bombings against the US government throughout the early 1970s, bombing several federal buildings. Dohrn is a principal signatory on the group's "Declaration of a State of War" (1970) which formally declared war on the U.S. Government, and completed the group's transformation from political advocacy to armed resistance. Dohrn also co-wrote and published the subversive manifesto Prairie Fire (1974), and participated in the covertly-filmed Underground (1976)."

Dohrn is an Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern. Do the reasons for firing/investigating Yoo apply to her?



No takers there. Anyone here care to comment?
4.26.2008 10:30am
Gaius Marius:
If this was the Roman Republic, Bernardine Dohrn would be thrown off the Tarpeian Rock.
4.26.2008 10:34am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Since universities hire folks like these two morons, the use of a university as a jumped-up trade school is what's left. A liberal education in the old sense is simply not credible in the university today. Even if you are lucky enough to get one, who'd believe it?
If you followed the Duke non-rape case, you'd know about the Gang of 88, who, although not felons as far as we know, are not educators, except as bad examples.
Too many examples like this for higher ed to be more than an advanced voc ed venue.
4.26.2008 10:38am
Gaius Marius:
Universities today are nothing more than profit making machines masquerading as higher centers of learning.
4.26.2008 10:40am
SenatorX (mail):
I agree with Heh (and DB) the "tone" argument doesn't fly to me. It's just an excuse to avoid the substance.
4.26.2008 10:54am
MaggieW:
It doesn't matter about 'tone'. Dohrn and Ayers are unrepentant in their acts of terrorism.
They both need to answer for the destruction and death
they are still responsible for. They are both classic
examples of justice gone awry. The arguments that distract
from the main subject are foils so commonly used by those
who are having the light of truth shined on their wrongs.
4.26.2008 11:30am
Asher (mail):
Diggity Steve

Funny you don't address the substance of my post, Jmaie. I challenge you to name me activities liberal campus groups have engaged in or staged that rival the offensiveness and obnoxiousness of those staged by conservative campus groups.

Well, conservatives, and other "rightists", tend to have a much higher threshold for what they consider "offensive" or "obnoxious". We're adults and, frankly, you all tend to be whiny little b*tches. Oh, and you're confusing loud with obnoxious. I have seen leftists shout people down in class, both students and professors, for expression alternative viewpoints.

I have never seen that from rightists students or professors. Ever. You'll get feisty debate and sharp words but never attempts to actually silence people. Again, we're adults and tend to enjoy a good disagreement.

BTW, the bake sales you're talking about are legitimate satire regarding minority preferences and set-asides. Much of what we call affirmative action today is discrimination, pure and simple. Now that doesn't necessarily make it morally wrong but that is simply the facts of the matter. You may approve of this type of discrimination, I'm not completely opposed to them myself, but don't deny that it is what it is.

What's the height of being obnoxious is attempting to stifle discussion of obvious facts because they hurt people's feelings.

Grow up Steve, and stop trying to compare satire with attempts to silence dissent. They are worlds apart.
4.26.2008 11:43am
MarkField (mail):

As others have pointed out, you ignore those killed in the Brinks robbery


By the time of the Brinks robbery, Dohrn and Ayers had already turned themselves in and pleaded guilty. The chronology makes it a wee bit hard to hold them responsible for that.

As for the planned Fort Dix bombing, I've never yet seen any evidence that Dorhn or Ayers had any involvement in that whatsoever.


Do the reasons for firing/investigating Yoo apply to her?


In order to keep this thread mostly on point, I'll skip the details and make you a deal: if John Yoo pleads guilty and serves out his sentence, then I, as a bleeding-heart liberal, will support his effort to rehabilitate himself when he applies for re-admission to the Boalt faculty.
4.26.2008 11:47am
Asher (mail):
Diggity Steve,

I was going to mention things like disinviting conservative and libertarian speakers, refusing to public right leaning articles, trashing announcements for conservative events, but someone beat me to it.

The right produces satire. The left actively uses force suppress dissent. You think these are equivalents?

Heh.
4.26.2008 11:50am
Asher (mail):
Diggity Steve

Let's imagine another fellow undergrad who discovers that a business school professor at his university used to work in upper management at Union Carbide during the Bhopal disaster in the 1980s. Would this student be fully justified and not "myopic" or "ignorant" or "abrasive" in publishing an open letter to this professor inquiring into his culpability in the disaster? Of course, the student has the right to so inquire, but that doesn't immunize him from judgment for his actions.

You're comparing Union Carbide and the Weather Underground as organizations? Hilarious. The entire purpose of UC was to make money, provide jobs and give services to customers. The entire purpose of the WU was nihilistic violence. Yet, you equate the two.

Again, heh.
4.26.2008 11:53am
justme:
What more would we expect from the Academy?
4.26.2008 11:57am
Flash Gordon (mail):
Mr. Kerr; My comment may have been a little strong. I was reacting to your statement that you don't know anything about Dohrn. Seems to me anybody with any connection to the academic world would know everything about her. Anyway, I should have been more polite about it.
4.26.2008 12:10pm
The Drill SGT:

Unrepentant Terrorists and Cop Killers


1. Terrence, you missed the money quote:

Some faculty members opposed the hiring of Dohrn.

"I thought that what we were doing was participating in the laundering of evil," noted legal scholar Daniel Polsby told the Chicago Tribune. Polsby was a Northwestern law professor at the time, and is now an associate dean of George Mason University's law school.


2. Mark field said in part...

Wiki (yeah, I know, but it's consistent with my memory) says "Apart from an apparently accidental premature detonation of a bomb in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion which claimed the lives of three of their own members, no one was ever harmed in their extensive bombing campaign, as they were always careful to issue warnings in advance to ensure a safe evacuation of the area prior to detonation


What isn't noted there is that the Bomb was intended to be a record setter in terms of death and destruction (nail studded) and targeted for a Dance at the Ft Dix NCO Club Dance ( a classic military industrial target). Then there was the Armed robbery with 3 death police/guards in 1981 long after the end of the war. Dorhn was implicated as an accessory, but only jailed on the felony contempt charge. AND they clearly didnt always issue warnings.

3. Jcamp said in part...
I do not think, however, than Dohrn was ever personally linked or charged with any attack that resulted in the loss of human life, although certainly her fellow Weathermen did commit murders. (And blew up several of their membership when a bomb detonated prematurely in a fancy NY townhouse.)


she was linked to the Brinks robbery, but not charged on that, she went to jail for refusing to testify. Link: She was the Manager of a NYC store, the Broadway Baby, from which two identities were taken from patrons, which resulted in fake driver's licenses being gotten, and the getaway cars rented.
4.26.2008 12:19pm
Buckland (mail):
Is it possible that DB gets a bonus added to his VC paycheck for each thread that generates 100+ comments? He does seem to be quite proficient at attaining that goal.
4.26.2008 12:35pm
Diggity Steve (mail):
Asher, you obviously missed the point of my hypothetical exercise back there. Try rereading it. My point is in demonstrating the obnoxiousness and ignorance of conservative undergraduate students who believe they are entitled to publicly shame, challenge, or interrogate professors at their university (even at a school in which the student is not enrolled) for the professor's long-ago, ambiguously culpable conduct with no context and shoddy research, as if they're some sort of justice-maker. Does Guy Benson think that he is the first smart-aleck to challenge Dohrn's past conduct? Does he think that reading Wikipedia and Frontpage magazine and Newsmax gives him insight into Dohrn's past behavior? The self-righteousness just kills me.
4.26.2008 12:42pm
MarkField (mail):

What isn't noted there is that the Bomb was intended to be a record setter in terms of death and destruction (nail studded) and targeted for a Dance at the Ft Dix NCO Club Dance ( a classic military industrial target).


It's noted later in the Wiki article and has been mentioned a couple of times in this thread.


AND they clearly didnt always issue warnings.


For which incidents did they not issue warnings?
4.26.2008 1:08pm
kertmfd (mail):
Something deeply disturbing has happened here.
Orin Kerr intruded on another's thread (David Bernstein's) with his opinion about 'tone' over substance, and then banished a commenter --and deleted the comments-- for the commenter's attitude or 'tone'. This may be Kerr's perogative, but is offensive for this blog and especially offensive without prior warning.

A far more substantial reason to be concerned is Orin Kerr's statement "neurodoc was obnoxious and rude to me, and kept it up". There are no posts where Neurodoc was attacking, snarky, obnoxious or rude to Orin Kerr; but I do find where Neurodoc was debating and snarky toward other commenters. This indicates Orin Kerr has been posting as other commenters. Given Volokh's status, this is absolutely shameful.
4.26.2008 1:14pm
jccamp:
"s it possible that DB gets a bonus added to his VC paycheck for each thread that generates 100+ comments?"

Actually, I'm enjoying both this and the contentious thread re: FLDS. Keep it up.
4.26.2008 1:42pm
myn0ck:
While some may disagree with OK's actions in regards to ND, there should be no problem with him participating in the discussion, regardless of whether or not he agree's with DB. He is still a member of the VC Community AND a contributor.

Nor should there be a problem with him "policing" the thread. I would expect any member of VC with such powers to exercise such powers as necessary and responsibly, regardless of who started the thread.

.... Back to the subject at hand.

Dohrn is a disgrace and should be in jail.

Yoo has done nothing illegal.

There is not a problem with an individual questioning Dohrn about her past actions. She has spoken about her previous acts on numerous occasions and thus opens herself up to questioning, accusations and public humiliation for being part of a terrorist organization. There is no ambiguity about her culpability. She was part of the organization and participated in its activities. Maybe not every activity directly, but its doubtful that she did not have any part in planning or preparations.

Since when is it self-righteous to challenge a member of a terrorist organization? We should all do the same thing.
4.26.2008 1:49pm
OrinKerr:
Orin Kerr intruded on another's thread (David Bernstein's) with his opinion about 'tone' over substance, and then banished a commenter --and deleted the comments-- for the commenter's attitude or 'tone'. This may be Kerr's perogative, but is offensive for this blog and especially offensive without prior warning.

I think it is in my right to comment in David's thread, as it is his right to comment in mine. As for "banishing" the commenter, I did no such thing: nor did I take any action without prior warning. I did delete comments that directly insulted me, and I did ask the commenter to call me so we could discuss this one on one: if you think that is insufficiently respectful of commenters here at the blog, then I am afraid we'll have to disagree.

I'll hold open the offer to anyone: If you don't like what I did here in the comment thread, call me in my office next week and we'll discuss it over the phone, for as long as you like. I would be happy to pay for the call.
4.26.2008 1:59pm
OrinKerr:
A far more substantial reason to be concerned is Orin Kerr's statement "neurodoc was obnoxious and rude to me, and kept it up". There are no posts where Neurodoc was attacking, snarky, obnoxious or rude to Orin Kerr; but I do find where Neurodoc was debating and snarky toward other commenters. This indicates Orin Kerr has been posting as other commenters. Given Volokh's status, this is absolutely shameful.

This is a hilarious accusation, but completely false. As for the shamefulness of making such accusations without any evidence, given the status of the comments on this thread, that is, well, left as an exercise for the reader.
4.26.2008 2:02pm
MW127:

who believe they are entitled to publicly shame, challenge, or interrogate professors at their university (even at a school in which the student is not enrolled)


Aren't they?


Does he think that reading Wikipedia and Frontpage magazine and Newsmax gives him insight into Dohrn's past behavior?


Unless his facts are wrong, I'm not sure it matters where he gets them. Most people don't need to work too hard to get insight into Dohrn's past behavior as it is relatively straightforward -- she and her friends participated in a number of criminally violent and in some cases deadly attacks against her country. It's just not that complicated an issue.

On a related note, I suppose the above is one reason why this weather underground thing is so potentially damaging for Obama. He can explain away Wright easily enough, since Wright basically is all talk. It's harder for him to explain away a casual friendship with an unrepentent terrorist because so many people accept, probably as an axiom, that one shouldn't hang out with such people.
4.26.2008 2:02pm
SenatorX (mail):
I went through basic training at Ft. Dix in January 89 and got my ass handed to me. Last thing those poor boys need is a nail bomb at the dance hall. I wonder their reasoning behind targeting NCOs? Seems an odd choice to me.
4.26.2008 2:08pm
jccamp:
"She was the Manager of a NYC store, the Broadway Baby, from which two identities were taken from patrons, which resulted in fake driver's licenses being gotten, and the getaway cars rented."

I stand corrected. Drill Sgt is right.
4.26.2008 2:23pm
inmypajamas:
Visitor Again: As far as I know, the only innocent civilians killed by the Weatherman or its successor, the Weather Underground, were the three Weathermen killed in the New York townhouse explosion when one of them accidentally set off a bomb


Yeah, "innocent civilians" who were building bombs to kill fellow Americans who stood for something they disagreed with.

Wow, the mental gymnastics that you have to engage in to view domestic terrorists making bombs to kill people as "innocent civilians" floors me. I guess all that twisting and gyrating puts you in the same place that leads to thinking an American president is a terrorist. Sad.
4.26.2008 2:40pm
ronnor:
Interesting stuff about Dohrn and Ayers the unrepentant terrorists who excaped justice and made fools of the courts and law-abiding. What if someone thought that scenerio wasn't right and used their "techniques of change" and blew Dohrn and Ayers up and then turned themselves in, how would you feel about this? Would you send money to the defense team? Seems that this isn't good for the body politic somehow and should be rectified.
4.26.2008 3:10pm
Orson Buggeigh:
I graduated from high school at the same time Nixon ended the draft, so I am not quite old enough to have been in the middle of the anti-war events,but I was a high school student in a university town, and well aware of what was going on. Looking back on my own youthful rebelliousness, I find it hard to give any credibility to anyone who defends people like Ayers, Dohrn, Angela Davis and the rest of the academics who are either convicted or were indicted for criminal acts during that time. These folks were always beyond the pale. As previously noted, we all thought it was good, youthful zeal. Until the real victims of this behavior started to show up in the news. Ordinary folks like the cops and Brinks guard. Not political leaders or generals, but everyday folks like my old man or the cop next door. That put the lie to the notion of this radicalism as a glorious revolutionary cause. While some of us grew up and realized this,usually before we received our BA, many of us did not - and many of these people with the permanently arrested development seem to have become academics, who continue to think Dorhn is a good role model for young people.

That a university would hire such a person as faculty is troubling to me. But, as I remarked about John Yoo,if Dorn and Ayers were hired and tenured, and they have not failed their functions as tenured faculty, no one should be able to force their removal for what are political purposes. That applies to the 60's radicals, and it applies to John Yoo. Tenure is something which should guarantee faculty an ability to take unpopular stands in their research and in their classroom, provided that it is pertinent to the subject being taught, and that it is not a work of academic fraud. (Which is why Bellesiles, Churchill, and various others don't get a pass on free speech grounds. They, like Comrade Lysenko, committed academic dishonesty in support of a political agenda) Yoo's work away from campus sounds pretty ugly,but it wasn't part of his academic work, and so far, he has not been either disbarred or indicted. His academic work has passed muster, andno one has questioned its validity. Interestingly, Dorhn has been disbarred,and many of the people arguing that Yoo's work for the government is so far beyond the pale that he deserves disbarment and dismissal from his tenured post. Yet her is Dohrn, a convicted terrorist, hired and tenured, and it does not seem to bother a lot of people who are demanding Berkeley investigate John Yoo. This does seem to give considerable credibility to the complaint that the academy has a leftward bias.

I agree with the previous poster who asked how many of the people calling for Berkeley to cashier John Yoo will support a move to cashier the violent 60's criminals on campus with equal vigor? I'm still waiting to hear from them, and I'm not expecting any replies. Personally, I believe Dohrn should have ended her life in prison, ideally at the end of a rope. I have no sympathy for her and her fellow terrorists. The academic sophistry that renders violent criminals "activists" and conservative students holding bake sales as "dangerous bigots" is clearly on display. I agree with the poster who argues that the university system no longer offers a liberal education, and that it has become a glorified trade school. Too true - but a trade school with a heavy helping of political indoctrination in the form of required diversity classes which bloat the general undergraduate requirements at many universities. Students are much better served to get a community college diploma in a useful trade,such as being a carpenter, plumber or electrician rather than the sort of fashionable nonsense being taught by Ward Churchill or any of Duke's Gang of 88.

Short answer: Dohrn and her terrorist pals should not be teaching, but they are. Which says nothing complementary about the state of higher education in this country.
4.26.2008 3:57pm
Diggity Steve (mail):
Orson - your post is a murky, discombobulated soup of assertion and argument. Sorry, but I can't follow it.
4.26.2008 4:08pm
The Drill SGT:
Here is the Dohrn connection to the Brink's cop killing robbery from a recent MSM article
4.26.2008 4:22pm
The Drill SGT:
A robbery/murder where there clearly wasn't a warning in advance, 9 years after we left Vietnam. Just the murder of church going, gun loving blue collar guys with kids (Vietnam vets all as I recall). It would seem that the WU was bent more on revolution or greed than anti-war protests 9 years later.
4.26.2008 4:27pm
MarkField (mail):

Here is the Dohrn connection to the Brink's cop killing robbery from a recent MSM article


I read the article. What's the connection?
4.26.2008 4:50pm
Orson Buggeigh:
Diggity Steve, I suspect the problem with following my post is that it presumes a greater knowledge of the academic community than just Dohrn. My apologies. However, the people who support Dohrn seem to pretty much be part of the group that feels sympathetic to her viewpoints, and there seem to be a large number of these people on college and university faculty.

My advice - before presuming that the political perspective of Dohrn, Ayers, and the others sympathetic to the 60s radicals is accurate,you take a look at _The Black Book of Communism_ for starters. We supported the good guys in Viet Nam. Sorry, but there it is. Most of us were too naive to see that Che and the boys were a bunch of murderous thugs, until we grew up a bit. Many of the faculty in departments of English,history, government, social work, etc are far to the left of center,and many are still supporting their old undergraduate political viewpoints. Political viewpoints many people have come to recognize are not valid.

That's the whole point of the support for Dohrn issue. She is not someone who has views that are consistent with those of most Americans. You are welcome to your opinion, of course. Judging from the comments of others, and your responses to them, it seems futile to try to explain this further. Either you understand the problems with the political viewpoint of Ayers and Dohrn, or you do not. You believe that her philosophy is valid. Many of us disagree. I will not try to educate you or others about the sorry aspects of the failures of overtly politicized work by academics, and its failings as scholarship. That would take a full book.
4.26.2008 4:53pm
The Drill SGT:
The connection is that she likely stole the identities of 2 of her customers. Their ID data was on file at the Broadway Baby and they shared no other commonalities. Those identities were used by the killers.

the statistical likelihood that being random happenstance, give neither knew each other, a sample size of 3 million, and common shopping pattern at a small boutique seems difficult in the extreme.
4.26.2008 4:59pm
BT:
As for the current damage that Bill Ayers is doing, I happen to know a kid who got a PHD from the department where Ayers teaches. This guy now runs a high school out east. He worships Ayers, but like Ayers, is white and comes from a great deal of money but has got "street crede" for a number of reasons that I won't go into here. I always found this kid to be a posuer.

Ayers radical legacy will live on through his position at UIC and through those he indocrinates. That to me is more of a concern than his past.
4.26.2008 5:16pm
MarkField (mail):

The connection is that she likely stole the identities of 2 of her customers. Their ID data was on file at the Broadway Baby and they shared no other commonalities. Those identities were used by the killers.


I'll agree that it's reasonable to assume she stole the customer identities. What's lacking is any connection between those ID thefts and the Brinks robbery. Unless you know the fact from some other source, the column you linked does NOT say that the Brinks robbers used those (or any other) false IDs.
4.26.2008 5:27pm
mls (www):
Mark Field-


if John Yoo pleads guilty and serves out his sentence, then I, as a bleeding-heart liberal, will support his effort to rehabilitate himself when he applies for re-admission to the Boalt faculty.



It is true that Dohrn pled guilty to some charges (others were thrown out based on prosecutorial misconduct) and served some jail time (less than a year), but the point of this thread is that she is unrepentant. So I guess your view is that it is ok to give tenure to unrepentant convicted criminals, but not ok to give tenure to persons who, in your view, are criminals, but have not charged with or convicted of anything?
4.26.2008 5:30pm
MarkField (mail):

It is true that Dohrn pled guilty to some charges (others were thrown out based on prosecutorial misconduct) and served some jail time (less than a year), but the point of this thread is that she is unrepentant. So I guess your view is that it is ok to give tenure to unrepentant convicted criminals, but not ok to give tenure to persons who, in your view, are criminals, but have not charged with or convicted of anything?


I don't pretend to know all the details about Dohrn (nor, for that matter, about Yoo), and I was trying to keep the thread on topic. So no, you have not accurately stated my view.

Dohrn does appear to be unrepentant about her violent rhetoric and her opposition to the US government. I'm not praising that, but it's hardly grounds for denying someone a professorship.

I have seen lots of assertions here that Dohrn was guilty of other crimes, but the evidence for that hasn't yet been produced, so I'm not quite sure what she's unrepentant for.

As for denying tenure to those not convicted of crimes, I didn't think there was any dispute about that. I take it nobody would offer tenure to OJ Simpson or think it wrong if he were denied tenure. Nor do I think all crimes necessarily should cause a denial of tenure. It depends on the crime, the circumstances, the person, and the subject matter of the faculty position.
4.26.2008 6:32pm
LM (mail):

I agree with the previous poster who asked how many of the people calling for Berkeley to cashier John Yoo will support a move to cashier the violent 60's criminals on campus with equal vigor? I'm still waiting to hear from them, and I'm not expecting any replies.

And how many of the chronically outraged over liberal intolerance will moderate their views in light of the Berkeley law faculty's apparent rejection of those calls?
4.26.2008 6:44pm
LM (mail):

As for the shamefulness of making such accusations without any evidence, given the status of the comments on this thread, that is, well, left as an exercise for the reader.

I suspect you'll have to grade that exercise on a curve.
4.26.2008 6:47pm
virgil xenophon (mail):
I fully agree with those who here who opine that trade-school diploma's have more intellectual heft than an undergraduate degree from "elite" (pick ANY) universities these days--both because of lack of academic rigour(Sixty per-cent of all undergraduate degrees issued at Harvard contain transcripts with a GPA of A-or better???!!!)and because of left-wing propagandizing/indoctrination by the professoriat--but for those of us who are so inclined we should rally to the cause of the immediate past President of St. Bonaventure who honored the certificate of completion from a welding school as an academic credit in order to achieve eligibility for an athlete(and was fired as a result). What was all the hullabaloo? At least the welding certificate meant that the individual actually had a grasp of knowledge concerning SOMETHING!

As far as I'm concerned the president of that institution should have been lionized for recognizing what most know to be true anyway: Namely that (call it what you will farce/scam/sham-whatever)undergraduate time in the classroom ain't education. But then are not the groves of academe populated by instructors in the social sciences who are nothing so much as resurrected clones of dear comrade Lysenko anyway? As modified by the trained habits of Pavlov's dogs insofar as their immediate and violent reaction to any ideas not PC are concerned? I would refer you to the decades-long on-going wars in Univ. Anthropology Depts. between the "hard" science end of that discipline and the "cultural" types over whether certain "Native American" tribes practiced cannibalism. I'll let everyone guess which "tribe" constitutes the cannibal "deniers." And for what reason. Any "noble savage" ...so long as he is not white and of European extraction....

All of which, of course, leads us back to views within academia (where Obama is a runaway favorite)concerning the respectability of Professors Dohrn, Ayers, et al. Rarely mentioned is the fact that it is no small irony that the voters that Obama is romancing are some of the very same
people that Ayers and his lovely wife and their friends would have willingly, gladly, and smugly killed.
4.26.2008 6:51pm
grackle (mail):
Having read this entire thread, gone to each of the linked bits of information about the Dohrn and Ayers family, as well as having experienced the late 1960's and 1970's first-hand, as a young adult, I am amused and entertained by this thread. It is a wonder the lengths to which some folks will go to experience some wholesome outrage. Most entertaining. I note the project to recast the war in Vietnam as a noble project. Good luck with that. It might get some traction in another sixty years, when there is no one left who experienced it. And I'm so sure Henry Kissinger would have kept Cambodia safe from the indigenous Khmer Rouge.

Professor Bernstein has a need to define himself in terms of those with whom he disagrees. Being a young man, he has the luxury of proclaiming enemies whom he will probably never meet, such that his life may be rich in enemies before he has personally encountered too many real antagonists. I find that acceptable, although I agree completely with Professor Kerr in this instance, that there is a bit of over-reaching. I also admit to having - as a regular reader for a long time who almost never agrees with Professor Bernstein except in matters of real estate - to having an affection for him in which I constantly hope to see him act both in his own best interests and in a becoming manner as befits a true human being, one who acts both charitably and generously toward the foibles of others; in that sense, I hope this is not a veiled attack on Obama, because I want to think better of him than that.

So these two folks, Dohrn and Ayers, having given up the outlaw life, surrender and submit to the law; they are to some modest extent punished and they take their place in society, having paid their debts, in the imperfect sense that is constantly acknowledged on this site devoted to this imperfect institution, the Law. Both of them now work in fields that are quite apolitical - both working in the area of child advocacy. They have raised three children, all of whom, one assumes are productive members of society. Is this not a great outcome?

My impression from this thread is that for many expressing opinions here, there can be no such thing as having paid a societal debt. Several have expressed the desire to string them up, others merely to banish them. (Cue Daffy Duck saying "despicable!") My suggestion is that you just remove them from your thoughts, it's a much simpler way to lower your blood pressure. A number of commenters seem to feel that statements have been made recently on the parts of Dohrn and Ayers that prove a treachery toward some beliefs the commenters hold and for which the aforementioned Dohrn and Ayers should at this late date be held accountable.

Let me just suggest that neither of them owe you any justification for who they are now, for their beliefs nor for their modes of life. Sorry to be so Libertarian about it, but none of their views now are any of your business. However, being that this is a free country, you are certainly free to not associate with them.
4.26.2008 6:55pm
davod (mail):
"Last thing those poor boys need is a nail bomb at the dance hall. I wonder their reasoning behind targeting NCOs? Seems an odd choice to me."

NCOs are the backbone of the military.
4.26.2008 6:59pm
devoman:
grackle said it best.
4.26.2008 7:34pm
The Drill SGT:
Mark,

You seem very dense when you say:

What's lacking is any connection between those ID thefts and the Brinks robbery. Unless you know the fact from some other source, the column you linked does NOT say that the Brinks robbers used those (or any other) false IDs.


what part of the article don't you understand? The only connection between 2 strangers in NYC and the robbery was Dorhn who knew the killers.


At Broadway Baby, customers often paid by check and used driver's licenses for identification. On Dec. 28, 1979, information from two customer files was used to apply for two driver's licenses at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The fraudulent licenses were used to rent getaway cars for the gang.
4.26.2008 8:02pm
SenatorX (mail):
NCOs are the backbone of the military.

Agreed. But they are also primarily from poor families (often minorities) and if you were an elite-hating political minded terrorist I would think people like officers or politicians would be their targets.
4.26.2008 8:11pm
The Drill SGT:

NCOs are the backbone of the military.


And at this point in time, many, at least the single ones at an NCO club dance would have been draftees or draft movtivated volunteers like me.

I enlisted in late 69 and was a SGT in 18 months and a SSG at 2 years.
4.26.2008 8:18pm
Smokey:
Apart from an apparently accidental premature detonation of a bomb in the Greenwich Village townhouse explosion which claimed the lives of three of their own members, no one was ever harmed in their extensive bombing campaign...
Oh, well then. That makes everything A-OK, huh?
4.26.2008 8:42pm
CDR D (mail):
>>> NCOs are the backbone of the military.

Agreed. But they are also primarily from poor families (often minorities) and if you were an elite-hating political minded terrorist I would think people like officers or politicians would be their targets.

<<<<

88.4% of the men who served in Viet-Nam were Caucasian, including Hispanics; 10.6% were black;

76% of those who served in Viet-Nam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds.

75% had family incomes above the poverty level; 50% were from middle income backgrounds.

79% had a high school education or better when they entered service. Only 63% of Korean War vets and only 45% of WWII vets had completed high school upon separation.

(source: VFW)

p.s. Quite a few NCOs today have advanced degrees.

p.p.s. I don't think the Dohrns of the world at that time gave a damn who they hurt.

JMHO.
4.26.2008 8:50pm
MarkField (mail):

what part of the article don't you understand? The only connection between 2 strangers in NYC and the robbery was Dorhn who knew the killers.

"At Broadway Baby, customers often paid by check and used driver's licenses for identification. On Dec. 28, 1979, information from two customer files was used to apply for two driver's licenses at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. The fraudulent licenses were used to rent getaway cars for the gang."


Maybe I am dense, but I don't see it. The column didn't discuss a single robbery, it described a gang which committed multiple robberies.

What's missing is a statement that getaway cars obtained through the fraudulent licenses were used in the Brinks robbery (as opposed to "used generally" in the other robberies mentioned). The sentence you put in bold supports a charge against Dohrn in those other robberies, though the fact that she wasn't charged leaves me doubting the strength of the evidence. Perhaps the prosecutorial misconduct explains this failure, but perhaps the evidence was lacking.

But the column isn't specific enough to tie the identity theft to the Brinks robbery specifically. This link is of particular importance because of the chronology. The Brinks robbery took place not only two years after the identity theft, but after Dohrn turned herself in and after she had pleaded guilty and been sentenced (I believe I got the sequence right from Wiki).

Maybe, assuming the specific link was made, there would have been some way to hold her responsible despite the sequence of events. Even then, I'm not sure how she'd continue to be liable after turning herself in. However, I don't practice crim law, so it's possible there's a basis for that, but in that case I don't see why she wasn't charged.
4.26.2008 9:13pm
virgil xenophon (mail):
Re: Grackel

Ah yes, the condescending tone of sweet reason. If only we "enlisted swine" would come to our senses and ape the detached logic and "realism" of our intellectual "bettors." Where to begin? Laugh or cry? To say that Ayers' position on a key education curricular reform committee--and the philosophical stance that committee takes--is "apolitical" is to live in an alternate universe many dimensions removed from our own. And to say that the views held by instructors at institutions that mold minds of children of the very taxpayers who fund these institutions (either directly or indirectly) is none of the taxpayer's business is to stagger the imagination. Late date? Late date? Last time I checked there was no statute of limitations for treason/sedition--either legally or socially. That's why there is no national groundswell to erect a statue to one B. Arnold on the Washington Mall. Sooo---just because these
swell people got off on a technicality doesn't mean by-gones
be by-gones--especially when they (a) are still in a position to mold minds and (b) are demonstrably unrepentant.

And, yes, these comments SHOULD indeed be construed as a
DIRECT attack upon Obama. Obama himself, as a defense against his lack of legislative or leadership track record, has pointedly stated that his "judgment" should be the focus of analysis. Well, what indeed does the fact that Obama willingly and actively sought out Ayers to help launch his
career say about said judgment and Obama's world-view? I can guarantee that if a junior officer in the Armed Services was found out to be consorting with known terrorists--however much "retired"--his career would be effectively over. Especially if his duties involved the handling of nuclear weapons. If the Armed Services expects mature judgment from its junior officers and bars those who whose judgment is lacking from ever holding positions of authority, should the public expect no less from a young Obama who today seeks to hold the ultimate finger on the nuclear trigger? Shouldn't the public fel free to deny him high office for youthful judgmental error? If junior officers are expected to exercise mature judgment should not the same be expected of someone vying to be their Commander-in-Chief? Unless, of course, one does not consider Ayers and Dohrn to have ever been "terrorists" and views willfully associating with them as a badge of honor.
4.26.2008 9:26pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"My impression from this thread is that for many expressing opinions here, there can be no such thing as having paid a societal debt."

Of course there's such a thing. It's just that Dohrn and Ayers haven't paid near enough. Many people have gotten far more punishment for far less of a crime than criminal conspiracy to bomb defense installations. Suppose they tried to bomb an abortion center. Do you think for a moment they would have gotten off so lightly? Or gotten on the faculty of a university.
4.26.2008 9:28pm
1ReligionFREE (mail):
HOW BILL &BERNADINE AYER may "BOMB" OBAMA
An article titled, "Meet Mr. and Mrs. Ayres" is at the following site:
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId= 62481

Read the article and ask yourself if you would have any kind of relationship with either Bill Ayer or Bill's wife, Bernadine Dohrn. Obama held his first organizational meeting for his campaign for the Illinois senate at Bill and Bernadine's home in Chicago.

Here's a sample of what is revealed in the article:
Following the mass murders of actress Sharon Tate and others by disciples of Charles Manson, Dohrn (Bill Ayer's wife) had this to say: "Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, and then they even shoved a fork into a victim's stomach! Wild!" Dohrn went on to suggest adopting a "fork" salute might be appropriate for her fellow homicidal maniacs.

Check out the audio excerpts below to hear how little the Ayers have changed since their days as domestic terrorists during their 20s, when they set off bombs at the Pentagon and many other places. The FBI used illegal wiretaps, so Bill was never prosecuted, even though Bill said he was "guilty as hell" and "free as a bird. At the following site are "then" and "now" recordings made of the Ayers both during their terrorist years and in 2007:
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/04/020362.php

What do the Ayers have to do with Obama's chance to become president? At the very least the Ayers are one more example of how Obama has chosen to be involved with bad companions. Rev. Wright's rage and racism against whites and Jews was bad enough, but at least Rev. Wright didn't bomb the pentagon or other targets. Obama claims he wants to be a unifier, but I don't think the majority of Americans of any color want to be unified with domestic terrorists or racists. Wouldn't it be interesting if the "Ayer's BOMB" blows up in Obama's face and allows Hillary to win the nomination?
4.26.2008 9:49pm
SenatorX (mail):
@CDR D, I stand corrected! I was projecting what I saw from 89 to 92 and if I had to guess the demographics in vietnam were completely different because of the draft?

Not sure about many NCOs today having advanced degrees though. Doesn't make too much sense to me but then again I admit I really don't know. I wasn't making a disparaging remark about NCOs though just that the military has always been a decent option for people down on their luck and seemingly going no where to get on a different track. That they succeed and want to make a career in the military is no surprise to me.
4.26.2008 10:00pm
Smokey:
The seed that was planted by these '60's terrorists has grown into the majority faculty at many of our colleges and universities. And it isn't pretty.

When I enlisted in 1966, most all my high school classmates went on to college -- and majored in Education. Why Education?

Because during the Viet Nam war, college students majoring in Education were given a deferment from the draft. When I was able to get home on leave, I was razzed for being foolish enough to enlist [and to volunteer for Viet Nam, which I did and that's where I was sent].

To keep their draft exemption, lots of young men went on into teaching -- which maintained their draft-deferred status, unlike almost all other professions. [For instance, police officers were also exempt. But that's a dangerous profession, too, and the whole idea of a draft deferment was to avoid danger].

Those draft-dodging students were very aware that other American boys had to step up and fight for our country in their place. But their guilt was not enough to make them step up and serve their country.

So colleges had a very large influx of draft-dodgers, who majored in Education.

These 'educators' had to rationalize their guilt and cowardice, knowing they had put their tails between their legs and hid out, rather than serve our country like most American boys did.

So for 35+ years they've taught impressionable students that the draft-dodgers were the heroes, and the soldiers who served were the villains. That's where Ayers, Dohrn and their ilk are coming from.

Today's students are simply reacting to this continuous false indoctrination by those same guilt ridden draft-dodgers who, rather than serving our country in its time of need, cut and ran.

So be careful which seeds you plant. The result might be like Audrey 2 in Little Shop of Horrors.
4.26.2008 10:06pm
Visitor Again:
Just for the record, I don't consider those three killed in the townhouse explosion in New York to be innocent civilians even though I wrote a sentence that said so--a result of my failure to proofread my comment. The sentence should have referred to "the only persons killed as a result of Weather actions" instead of "the only innocent civilians, etc."
4.26.2008 10:14pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>Not sure about many NCOs today having advanced degrees though. Doesn't make too much sense to me but then again I admit I really don't know. I wasn't making a disparaging remark about NCOs though just that the military has always been a decent option for people down on their luck and seemingly going no where to get on a different track.

<<

Ok, fair enough. But check this out:

Google landmark destiny group, or google NCO advanced degrees. (the format here won't let me paste the page, too long I guess).

Anyway, it says in part:

"NCO/PO: Non-Commissioned Officers and Petty Officers are enlisted personnel that have chosen to remain in the military service beyond their first enlistment and may range from 4-30 years of service. They have proven supervisory skills, technical skills, and years of hands on experience. Although most would consider this group the "blue collar" workforce supervisors of the military, there are many instances where this group has demonstrated tremendous responsibilities and expertise. Over 46% have graduated or attended college, and some even have advanced degrees. Personally, having served as an officer myself and having a father who was a NCO, I would consider these individuals the backbone of the military."



Also, those who might be interested in the demographics of the Viet-Nam era military should give a look at the exhaustively documented book "Stolen Valor", by B.G. Burkett.

Google it.
4.26.2008 10:20pm
LM (mail):

Those draft-dodging students were very aware that other American boys had to step up and fight for our country in their place. But their guilt was not enough to make them step up and serve their country.

Smokey, that brush is broader than you probably want it to be. I don't have to mention any names.
4.26.2008 10:35pm
The Drill SGT:

Those draft-dodging students were very aware that other American boys had to step up and fight for our country in their place. But their guilt was not enough to make them step up and serve their country.


Smokey, that brush is broader than you probably want it to be. I don't have to mention any names.



Having enlisted in 69, I would not quibble with that view.
4.26.2008 11:07pm
jvarisco (mail) (www):
What about these from 2007?
4.26.2008 11:08pm
Bleepless (mail):
No terrorist could fluorish in today's America without the active support of organized liberalism. Liberals are filth.
4.26.2008 11:09pm
The Drill SGT:

Even then, I'm not sure how she'd continue to be liable after turning herself in. However, I don't practice crim law, so it's possible there's a basis for that, but in that case I don't see why she wasn't charged.


She was ordered to testify, and sent to jail because she would not. That implies to me that she was granted immunity for some set of crimes, one would argue, for those crimes that she was asked to testify about. THEREFORE, since she didn't testifiy, she didnt get immunity, and was still liable for the crimes.

what am I missing?
4.26.2008 11:12pm
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
LM: "And don't forget the wild card of our very presence in Vietnam. To blame the genocide on our leaving when we have no idea what would have transpired in Cambodia if we had never arrived is the most selective kind of speculation. Saying the anti-war movement "directly caused the needless deaths of millions of innocent people" is at best a scurrilous distortion. Saying the anti-war movement "directly caused the needless deaths of millions of innocent people" is at best a scurrilous distortion."

The scurrilous distortion is the Marxist excuse for their own violence that they were driven to genocide by the "wild card" of an American presence. On the contrary, the Communists had a plan to commit genocide from the start — it's part of every Communist takeover in every country where they won power. The only "wild card" was that fighting the US forced the North Vietnamese to tame down their class warfare for as long as they were in active battle. As Stalin discovered too late, it's a bad idea to purge your army in the middle of a war.

As soon as the Americans withdrew both troops and funds for South Vietnam, the predicted slaughter that the student activists pooh-poohed took place. (Read, for instance, The Bamboo Gulag.)

Some peace activists, those who genuinely had hoped to help the Vietnamese people, acknowledged their mistake and repented of it right after it happened. But many American Communists, who had never been interested in peace, only the overthrow of capitalism and democracy, continued to lie about the genocide. When it could no longer be denied, with amazing illogic, they turned around and blamed the genocide carried out by the victorious Southeast Asian Communist governments on America. Presumably, America had somehow "provoked" them to genocide by trying to stop them from commiting genocide in the first place. No doubt abused wives provoke their husbands to beat them by trying to defend themselves as well.

If Communists had been able to take over Vietnam without contest from America, the genocide would have still taken place — possibly it would have been even worse, and certainly not as many Vietnamese would have escaped to freedom in the US. One has only to look at the 60 million murdered in China to see what unimpeded Communism looked like in Asia.

Had America stayed and protected South Vietnam, it's also not hard to guess what South Vietnam would look like now. Probably a lot like South Korea.

The problem as I see it with Dorhn and Ayers is that they took the side of genocidaires back in the 70s and still take the side of genocidaires today. Their own crimes were small. But they aspired to commit crimes on a much vaster scale, to fill America with death camps and political famines that would "kill the rich" on a scale only achieved in China, Russia, Cambodia and Vietnam. It's like Holocaust deniers. They are dangerous not because they are too incompetent to understand the facts of history, but because they understand very well that they need to twist history in order to repeat it — their real goal.
4.26.2008 11:21pm
Visitor Again:
I do not think the Brinks robbery and murders of 1981 can fairly be attributed to the Weather Underground.

By the late Seventies the Weather Underground had been inactive for some time, several years in fact. Its members were living quietly and separately in a largely successful effort to avoid capture. A couple of years before the Brinks robbery, the Weather Underground disbandoned altogether when most of its members surfaced and surrendered.

After the Weather Underground broke up, some of its former members who had not surfaced formed a new group, the May 19 Communist Organization (M-19C0), which declared itself to be in solidarity with and a support group for the Black Liberation Army (BLA). The Brinks robbery and murders were committed by the BLA with some members of M-19CO, identifying themselves as the Revolutionary Task Force, serving in a support role. The actual robbery and the killings were committed by BLA members. The Revolutionary Task Force members who participated in a support role were guilty of the robbery and murders under the normal rules of complicity.
4.26.2008 11:28pm
AST (mail):
This had nothing to do with the war. It was an attempt to repeat the Marxist revolutions in Russia and China. Sow discord and foment civil war and then grab the levers of power during the civil unrest.

Their problem was that very few Americans really had it so bad that they were willing to hit the streets in protest of their poverty and mistreatment by the government.

Economic prosperity even in a recession is inoculation against tactics like those of the Weathermen, the BLA or other radical groups. All they accomplished were the crimes.
4.26.2008 11:41pm
Elliot123 (mail):
If Dohrn is a professor of law at Northwestern, I can't help thinking the rest of the faculty of law must be morons or sheep. Can anyone fron Northwestern tell us why she was hired, and what her contribution to the school has been? What does she teach? What are the requirements to be a professor of law at Northwestern?
4.27.2008 12:21am
Diggity Steve (mail):
I think the unrepentant liberal-bashers on this site (see "liberals are filth") are just incredibly anxious that a liberal is more likely than not going to become our next President. At that point, I suspect that conservatives' brains will likely explode from the massive cognitive dissonance that results from being forced to accept that perhaps a majority of this country is content with a moral gray area in the fact that politicians have associated with persons of questionable past conduct, when conservatives can will immediately turn red in the face and begin incomprehensibly sputtering at the mere mention of the Weather Underground, 60s leftists, or socialist sympathizers.
4.27.2008 12:25am
Gringo (mail):
For those who would like more information regarding the Broadway Baby false identity scam and also the Brinks robbery, there is an article from the New York Times.
NYT, "BEHIND THE BRINK'S CASE: RETURN OF THE RADICAL LEFT," M.A. FARBER ,16 February 1982.

Unfortunately, it does not appear to be free. I got it from Factiva, but will not post it in deference to not wanting to clog things up, as it is a 4700 word article.
4.27.2008 1:02am
A. Zarkov (mail):
" ... being forced to accept that perhaps a majority of this country is content with a moral gray area in the fact that politicians have associated with persons of questionable past conduct,..."

Would that also apply to politicians who associated with the KKK, or abortion center bombers? Do you really think that the word "questionable" is the appropriate adjective to describe Dohrn an Ayers?
4.27.2008 1:22am
LM (mail):
Mutant Pacifist,

Your comment is posed as an answer to mine, but all you addressed was my conclusion. And even that only seems to have been a pretext for a stream of red baiting and doctrinaire conjecture. I'll pass on the bait, since I've never thought much of Communism or the regimes that practiced it. My response to the rest of your comment is everything you ignored in my last one.
4.27.2008 1:45am
Dave N (mail):
Some have posted asking why the Weather Underground would have targeted an NCO dance. I think that part of that has to do with one aspect of the anti-war movement from the 1960s/1970s that is not present today.

Today the mantra is "I support the troops; I don't support the war." Even the exceptions (F.A.I.R. v. Rumsfeld comes to mind) are directed at the policy-makers and not those charged with carrying out the policy.

In the earlier anti-war movement, there was a hostility directly aimed at the service members. Buffy St. Germain wrote a song called "Universal Soldier" (also performed by Glen Campbell, which causes me to think much less of him) that essentially said, "If there weren't soldiers, there couldn't be war, so the soliders are to blame, too."

Remember, soldiers were spat upon and held in absolute contempt by many on the left (Jackie Cooper spends several pages in his autobiography discussing this attitude prevelant in the original cast of M.A.S.H.). John Kerry's VVAW sullied the reputation of troops on the ground (THAT, and not whether he really earned his DSC is the reason many Vietnam veterans worked overtime to defeat him in 2004).

So yes, if the Weather Underground was at all simpatico with Buffy St. Germain, targeting an NCO dance makes perfect sense.
4.27.2008 1:56am
TerrencePhilip:
Elliot123 (mail):
If Dohrn is a professor of law at Northwestern, I can't help thinking the rest of the faculty of law must be morons or sheep. Can anyone fron Northwestern tell us why she was hired, and what her contribution to the school has been? What does she teach? What are the requirements to be a professor of law at Northwestern?


As I posted above, and you can find with a little googling, her father-in-law had been a member of the board of trustees at Northwestern. Call me crazy but I think this played a tiny role in the decision to hire a former fugitive with a criminal background whose character prevented her admission to the bar.
4.27.2008 2:02am
rxlawstudent:
I'd be interested to hear what the Volokh conspirators think about the spirited condemnation of the value of universities and higher education expressed by posters in this thread and elsewhere.
4.27.2008 2:51am
Gringo (mail):
Buffy St. Germain
Correction. Buffy Sainte-Marie.

the spirited condemnation of the value of universities and higher education expressed by posters in this thread
Huh?
4.27.2008 3:03am
Californio (mail):
ha ha ha ha. The weathermen were bourgeoisie domestic terrorists who killed members of the very working class that they were purporting to liberate. They got off on violence and anti-social behavior - but did not then and do not now have the balls to baldly state they did whatever the F*** they wanted because it felt really really goooood. Truly, comrades, do you not see yourselves as the counter-revolutionary jokes that you are? Any self-respecting true revolutionary would realize each on-going breath was a cooption further into the BS capitalist delusion - and would promptly put a gun in their mouth and pull the trigger. FEAR NOT - these piles of flesh are not revolutionaries. They are only spoilt children of the middle class.
4.27.2008 4:55am
virgil xenophon (mail):
CALIFORNIO is half-way there. All he left out is the easily verified fact (see Ronnie Radosh's memoirs "Commies") that the majority of the leadership of the various permutations of the far left in 60's were all Red Diaper Babies even if largely "middle class." All the rest of the hangers-on simply played the role of "useful idiots" so common to naive and gullible youth. Has anything changed? A useful exercise in gaging the "sucker factor" of the young--especially women--is to review (a) old newsreels of women fawning over Hitler(strewing roses, etc.) in the 30's (b) vhs tapes of women fawning over William Jefferson Clinton as he worked the rope-lines at ANY public appearance either as President or when campaigning for office and (c) any of the You Tube clips of women fainting at Obama campaign rallies. Cynical? Yes I am. Remember the old aphorism of Lilly Tomlin: The scope of one's personal cynicism and paranoia is never large enough to cope with the real world.
4.27.2008 6:02am
LM (mail):
virgil xenophon,

Kudos on the self-restraint. Because, really, once you've compared Adolph Hitler to an ex U.S. President and maybe a future one, some people might give in to the temptation to get carried away.
4.27.2008 8:46am
neurodoc:
LM, I think you have distorted virgil xenophon's meaning. As I read it, he was not likening either Clinton (ex U.S. President) or Obama (would be U.S. President) to Hitler beyond observing that all could really excite a crowd, especially the young women among them. Would it have been OK if his (a) had not been Hitler, but instead the Beatles or Stones circa '65? There is a basis, is there not, for what many have called "Obamania."
4.27.2008 9:12am
A. Zarkov (mail):
A blog host is of course free to delete anything he likes as it's his blog. Nevertheless I think deletions should be used sparingly and always with a warning and an announcement. The worst thing is to just throw a post down a memory hole. The UCB professor Bradford DeLong is famous for doing this, and I think his blog has really suffered for it. He's chased away virtually anyone who would introduce a little balance into the discourse. I've seen (and experienced) him delete without any notice, even short, on-topic and polite posts simply because he doesn't like the viewpoint expressed. On the other hand, he'll sometimes retain abusive rambling posts simply because they're in agreement with him. I'd hate to see this sort of thing come to the VC which as far as I can tell has remained fairly free of this sort of thing.
4.27.2008 10:05am
neurodoc:
In today's Washington Post on pA2: "At Columbia, Remembering a Revolution: The 1968 Protesters, Then and Now." (Sorry, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I can never create links here. But Google.)

A Zarkov, I would tell you it is a pretty strange feeling to be voted off the island along with the likes of Revonna LaSchatze. Never imagined it happening to me. Maybe the lesson in my case is that Churchill was truly inimitable, and I shouldn't have tried.
4.27.2008 10:41am
Dave N (mail):
Gringo,

Thank you for the correction. Buffy Ste. Marie. Regardless, her sentiments are loathesome and might help explain why the Weather Underground might target a dance at an NCO club.
4.27.2008 11:07am
MarkField (mail):

She was ordered to testify, and sent to jail because she would not. That implies to me that she was granted immunity for some set of crimes, one would argue, for those crimes that she was asked to testify about. THEREFORE, since she didn't testifiy, she didnt get immunity, and was still liable for the crimes.

what am I missing?


That you're resting your conclusion of guilt on a chain of conjecture. Look, I don't have any sympathy for Dohrn; I'm prepared to believe she did bad things. But I do want to see some actual evidence, not a series of "maybes".
4.27.2008 11:31am
Ted10 (mail):
Understand her words for what they are, namely just another version of that "one man's 'terrorist' is another's 'freedom fighter'" bullshit.

Ah, to have such clarity! As Mr. Field stated 'Governments engage in terrorism all the time (that's how the word originated). And they use the military to do it.'

Using today's definition of terrorist,in the revolutionary war Americans were terrorists to the British. In WWII the French resistance were freedom fighters to the French and terrorists to the Germans. To the Japanese, our dropping atomic bombs was most certainly terrorism at it's worst because of the large civilian populations we dropped them on. In Vietnam, the VC would be considered terrorists to us, but freedom fighters to the North Vietnamese people.

Having our government overthrow another government that didn't attack us, didn't have the means to attack us, and wasn't attacking our allies would be considered state sponsored terrorism to me. Of course we never call it that but if I were one of the civilians whose family members were killed by our attacks, or whose house was being broke into at will, I wouldn't call anything they chose to do in response terrorism.

'Terrorist' acts that I'm aware of have been the result of people or governments getting to the point where they feel there are no other options. I wish the world had such moral clarity that I could rightly judge it, but from everything I've seen in the last 50 years, one mans terrorist is another's freedom fighter.
4.27.2008 12:08pm
grackle (mail):
re neurodoc @ 8:37 and 9:41, maybe a quick read of the comments policy, always available below, would have forestalled your tragedy. I'm an enthusiastic supporter of paragraph four myself, but sadly, few others seem to be. On the other hand, a well vocalized , "Harumph, fap!" communicates quite well, but maybe not as one intends.
4.27.2008 12:37pm
Bleah:

'Terrorist' acts that I'm aware of have been the result of people or governments getting to the point where they feel there are no other options.


That's just not true; there are always other options. And if you have the facilities to pursue a violent option, then you could be doing something else.

Living in the US, as a child of a well-off parent, you really don't have any excuse for any terrorism. You absolutely have options. You choose violence, because you already know the majority will not go along with your radical ideas. There is nothing excusable or sympathetic here.
4.27.2008 12:42pm
MarkField (mail):

Buffy St. Germain wrote a song called "Universal Soldier" (also performed by Glen Campbell, which causes me to think much less of him) that essentially said, "If there weren't soldiers, there couldn't be war, so the soliders are to blame, too."


Interesting. I interpreted the lyrics somewhat differently. Buffy St. Marie was, and as far as I know still is, a pacifist. I read her as calling for everyone to take personal responsibility for war instead of blaming it on "bad men" or "leaders". I thought the key passage was this one:

"His orders come from far away no more
They come from him, and you, and me
and brothers can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war."

YMMV, of course; they say every listener hears a different song.
4.27.2008 1:04pm
Michael B (mail):
"In Vietnam, the VC would be considered terrorists to us, but freedom fighters to the North Vietnamese people."

Yet what does such seemingly "objective" language serve? That even presently, April, 2008, the regime in Vietnam would regard themselves as freedom fighters whereas the Hmong would regard them as terrorists, or "terrorists"? Excerpt, emphases added:

"After the abandonment of South Vietnam, about two million Vietnamese fled the country, half a million of whom eventually found their way to America. Two million Cambodians died from the "re-education" efforts of the communist Khmer Rouge. But while these catastrophes are well known, the genocide in Cambodia even having been made into a Hollywood movie, the tragedy that befell the Hmong was forgotten with the 1960s. Unlike Tony Poe, who believed in keeping faith with peoples who joined America's cause, the Hmong who stayed behind were forgotten by their "friends"; but they were remembered by their enemies. In the years following the Vietnam War, the Hmong were "hunted like animals." And they still may be. The Center for Public Policy analysis reported that the Laotian and Vietnamese governments have begun a campaign to wipe out the last holdouts against their regimes."

Again, that's April, 2008. Such "objectivity" serves, in the real world, what and whom?
4.27.2008 1:17pm
Dave N (mail):
Here are the full lyrics for "Universal Soldier":
He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
He's been a soldier for a thousand years.

He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.

And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.

And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned him at Labau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.

He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put an end to war.
So, while I agree with you that every listener hears a different song, what part of "he really is to blame" is not a direct condemnation of members of the military?

Buffy Sainte-Marie herself decribed the song this way: "It's about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all."

So regardless of what you personally get out of the song, my point was as explanation for why the Weather Underground might target an NCO dance.
4.27.2008 1:24pm
virgil xenophon (mail):
Thank you NEURODOC for coming to my defense. I only left out
the Beatles because I was trying to limit my examples to politicians.I guess I should have included both RFK and Huey
Long while I was at it. There have been other great speakers (Eugene V. Debs comes to mind) who were inspirational, but
not in the rock-star way that the others I mentioned have. Call it the "IT FACTOR" if you will, but some have it and some don't. A veritable army of psychologists, sociologists and cultural-anthropologists would be needed to explain why. Like a Supreme Court Justice once remarked of obscenity that, while he couldn't define it, he knew it when he saw it.

The importance of this phenomenon to the original thread here is that human beings such as Obama who apparently are gifted with these unusual powers (if only fleetingly bestowed upon them by the times) are potentially very dangerous, thus it behooves us to closely and carefully examine their world-view. Ayers and Dohrn serve as markers both as guides to Obama's thinking (in that he willingly
associates with such people) and as to the nature of the sources of some of the possible inputs that influence his
thinking--especially in the case of someone with such a sketchy background in public life.
4.27.2008 1:40pm
Ted10 (mail):
That's just not true; there are always other options. And if you have the facilities to pursue a violent option, then you could be doing something else.

Once again I'll refer to the revolutionary war. Lot's of well off Americans at the forefront...

If you look at it from Professor Dohrn's point of view, in her opinion the US government was responsible for the killing of millions of innocent civilians. The most deplorable, abhorrent situation imaginable. Neither the legislative, judicial, or executive branches of our government were willing to stop it so I'm guessing she felt at that point like there were no other options available.

It's easy to say that what she did was a crime and that she should be punished for it. However, when they opened Nixon's archives a few years ago they found a statement from him back in '71 where he said he knew we couldn't win in Vietnam but he wasn't going to be the first President to lose a war. Think about the enormity of that. When he came to that realization did he order an immediate halt to the carpet bombings and order all our troops home? No, he continued the war. IMO every American and Vietnamese that died after he came to that realization was a war crime. Did he or anyone else ever get punished for that?

I don't think Dorhn didn't commit a criminal act, I just don't know how history, the courts, and her University should regard her when thousands of people were dying every month due to one man's vanity and no one received any punishment for that. Our country was founded on the notion of equal justice for all.
4.27.2008 1:49pm
MarkField (mail):

Buffy Sainte-Marie herself decribed the song this way: "It's about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all."


I'd say this comment supports my reading of the song. As I understand her, she's saying that when "we" serve as soldiers, we take on responsibility for war. I have no problem with that as a general rule. The difference between her and me is that I'm not a pacifist, so taking on that responsibility isn't, to me, a bad thing. To her it would be.

On your larger point, I agree that the Weather Underground, like much of the New Left, condemned the US troops in addition to the political leadership in Vietnam. This stemmed from a common (though not universal [pun intended]) view in post-WWII America that the German soldiers bore some responsibility for Hitler. Sauce for the goose, they believed.

It's more complicated than that, of course. And the same is true of St. Marie's pacifism -- it's nice of her to condemn Hitler, but she failed to mention those who brought him down.


MarkField and I have very different political views, and I disagree with much he has said in the course of this thread.


Ditto. But I always read your posts.
4.27.2008 2:02pm
Diggity Steve (mail):
Conservatives love to hold activists (esp. radical ones) to the standard that they are not above the law, which is all well and good, but when government officials commit or cause atrocities in the name of those who it seeks to subjugate to the law, such officials are rarely, if never, held responsible. Think about that, for a sec.

An even easier example is to look at the Jim Crow era in the South. State and local officials were committing acts, which may not have been illegal at the time, but which were certainly morally reprehensible. If civil rights activists were terrorizing southern police stations and policemen with bombs and such, would conservatives find those "terrorist" activities to be morally reprehensible and beyond the pale? There is a moral ambiguity that pervades some normative ethical scheme when morally reprehensible acts are being committed by officers of the State. To believe otherwise, is, in my opinion, to deny the complexities of human life and behavior and is to essentially stick your superficial head into the sand and see no gray area.

This is why so many conservatives hate academia (as has been demonstrated, above). Academia has never and will never be focused on superficial morality plays and unwavering certainty in all affairs. See Eugene's recent post on the contributions of academics to issues like age of consent laws. Unfortunately for many conservatives, their lack of nuance and open-mindedness will forever banish them to the fringes of intellectual life, as least as it is borne out in the halls of higher learning. Sad.
4.27.2008 2:09pm
grackle (mail):
Well neurodoc, I guess subtlety is lost on you. Of course, I could point out that one man's 1 am is another man's 10 pm. I did indeed read the whole unexpurgated thread, and based my comment on the "knowledge" so derived. To be blunt, I would say, even generally about your comments, that they tend toward "rants,invective, substantial and repeated exaggeration..."(Comments policy paragraph two) and that even reasonable people would often view you, through your words,"as a crank, a blowhard, or as someone who vastly overdoes it on the hyperbole..."(Comments policy paragraph four). You are, no doubt, "one of the few who sees the world clearly," but it's just the breaks that one can't always dominate the venue.
4.27.2008 2:09pm
Dave N (mail):
MarkField,

I think we are in basic agreement--and thank you for elucidating on my point.

I always read your posts. They are often thoughtful, even when I disagree with them, which is more often than not.
4.27.2008 2:15pm
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
LM said: "Your comment is posed as an answer to mine, but all you addressed was my conclusion. And even that only seems to have been a pretext for a stream of red baiting and doctrinaire conjecture. I'll pass on the bait, since I've never thought much of Communism or the regimes that practiced it. My response to the rest of your comment is everything you ignored in my last one."

LM, I wasn't trying to give short shrift to your comments. In my mind, my comments answered yours, not just your conclusion. We may be talking at cross-purposes, or simply disagree, but I'll try to clarify anyway.

I agree with you that it is unfair to hold anti-war demonstrators *directly* responsible for the genocides and famines in South East Asia. The murderous regimes who killed and starved people were *directly* responsible. And, as you pointed out, a number of factors led those countries to turn to Communism.

By analogy, the murderous regime in Rwanda which organized the genocide of the Tutsis was *directly* responsible for murdering 800,000 Tutsis. So why did Clinton go to Rwanda, after the fact, and apologize? He apologized because we did nothing to stop them. America or Europe had the military might to have stopped the genocide, but we didn't.

Suppose we had sent troops to Rwanda. Or suppose we were serious about stopping genocide in Darfur, and sent troops there. We could have saved as many as 4 million lives in the ongoing Congo wars. But it would have cost us, in blood and gold. And you had better believe that the same ANSWER and Code Pink activists would be out in the street, trying to tell us that 4000 American lives aren't worth 4 million African lives, and -- with breathtaking hypocrisy -- at the same time accusing us of being racist for daring to fight in an African country.

Clinton knew that and I think it's why he never sent troops to Rwanda. (Btw, unlike many here, I voted for a Clinton twice, and would be happy to do so again.)

We had already made a commitment to South East Asia, and we knew a genocide would result if we left. It was openly discussed, including in anti-war circles. Most activists -- including Kerry, in his testimony -- claimed it wasn't true. To the extent they really believed that, they were simply misguided. But after we withdrew, the genocide took place, exactly as predicted. To then *continue* claim that we can't know for sure why that happened, is worse than misguided. We *do* know why it happened. It happened because that's what Communists do when they take power, and we didn't stop them from taking power.

And if we followed Obama's idea of immediate withdrawl from Iraq we will leave them vulnerable to civil war and genocide as well. And yes, I will hold the the so-called "anti-war" crowd, and all the other selfish isolationists, indirectly but morally responsible. I belong to several peace groups. I always ask, "But if we withdraw, what will happen to the Iraqis?" Most people won't answer. But several are quite blunt, as the man who told me point blank, "I don't give a d*&n about the Iraqis."

Exactly.

Is that uncaring man a murderer? No. But he's like the New Yorkers who did nothing while Kitty Genoese was being stabbed to death. And Dohrn and Ayers are much, much worse. They actively cheer on the murderer while the victim is being killed. I actually think they've probably done far more damage through their nonviolent activities -- teaching and writing -- than they did through their petty bomb spree. I normally vote the Democratic ticket, but if Obama is the nominee, I will not. I simply can't trust a man whose moral compass points in the same direction as people like Dohrn, Ayers and Wright. They aren't liberal. They're as illiberal as one can get.

Sorry for ranting again. Maybe I still didn't reply properly to your original comments. But the purpose of bringing up Dohrn and Ayers was, I believe, originally related to the election at hand, so I just brought it full circle.
4.27.2008 2:23pm
Pin Head (mail):

neurodoc: (Sorry, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I can never create links here. But Google.)


The syntax for the html anchor tag for linking a URL is:

{a rel="nofollow" href="url"}Text to be displayed{/a} (where you replace the curly braces with pointy brckets. If you omit the "Text to be displayed" there is nothing to click on.

HTML links
4.27.2008 2:28pm
elim:
I also like that wonderful word "activist" that applies to these two psychopaths. what exactly is an activist? Ayers is an educational activist but the Chicago public schools are failures. Dohrn is a juvenile justice activist but that system is a failure in Chicago (all Democratic Chicago, I hasten to add). I imagine, like obama and most other "activists", that they sent their kids to private schools. The Chicago Tribune had a nice column today about the wreckage left behind by their activism-unfortunately, I could not find it in the online version. It questioned both their past and why, given the murders, that Chesa Boudin was seen as an important figure while the children of the police murdered by his parents were nothing.
4.27.2008 3:39pm
BT:
Thanks pin head. I am clueless as well when it comes to this stuff so this should help immensely.
4.27.2008 3:42pm
Smokey:
Ayers and Dohrn wouldn't be in the news, except for the fact that they are long-time friends of the chameleon who recently burst on the national scene, Barry Obama -- who seems to have nothing but unsavory friends.

And as everyone knows, you are known by the friends you keep.
4.27.2008 3:44pm
elim:
by the way, if you really really hate abortion (or any other topic of choice), does that give you carte blanche to murder under the sophisticated moral reasoning of Dohrn/Ayers?
4.27.2008 3:45pm
SenatorX (mail):
I've always found the terrorist/freedom fighter argument false because throws in a sort of moral argument that all sides are equal, all philosophies are equal, all methods are equal and there are just different sides and viewpoints. While it's true that some soldiers join the military for a sort of blind love of fatherland it ignores that many who join because they find values in their country worth defending. It's also a denigration of the individual's choice in volunteering, as if the judger were wiser then them when looking around and taking the lay of the land.

For example of the things I look at when judging a country is how it treats its weaker members and women. Are we going to say all soldiers are equivalent when one may be fighting to defend the rights of women and another is defending the right to oppress them? There a host of values and reasons why a citizen might volunteer to risk his/her life for country. It seems to me to be a clear mistake to lump all soldiers as killers because it assumes there is no hierarchy of morality. Moral equivalence is a nihilist argument.
4.27.2008 4:13pm
Diggity Steve (mail):
Sure. The United States engaged in acts of terrorism in Latin America in the 70s and 80s, just as the Weather Underground did here at home. Neither were militants. Not sure where the confusion results, except if it's to destroy the false presumption that just because someone or something engages in terrorist activities, they are by default morally reprehensible.
4.27.2008 4:28pm
MarkField (mail):

They are often thoughtful, even when I disagree with them, which is more often than not.



Am I safe in assuming that the word "often" bears the same quantitative meaning each time? :)
4.27.2008 5:07pm
LM (mail):
neurodoc,

Would it have been OK if his (a) had not been Hitler, but instead the Beatles or Stones circa '65? There is a basis, is there not, for what many have called "Obamania."

I'd disagree, but sure, that would be a legitimate comment. But using Hitler to make that point in this forum is loaded with obnoxious meaning that's lost on no one. Would you think it's OK to make the same point about Ronald Reagan, with Hitler as the reference? I wouldn't.


[...] with LM's teaser at 5:47 PM that same day

That comment was about reading comprehension, so it certainly wasn't directed at you. Your argument with Orin was gone before I could see it, and I wasn't taking sides. In fact, my only reaction to it was I was sorry to see it had gone so far, since I like both of you. If my comment added any fuel to the fire, I apologize.
4.27.2008 5:31pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
It seems to me that since the Weather Underground had formally declared war on the US, and commenced terrorist activities on behalf of themselves and for the aid and comfort of North Vietnam, they qualified as unlawful combatants under Ex parte Quirin. SCOTUS held in pertinent part:
… Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to capture and detention, but in addition they are subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who ... or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.
Now one can argue that the WU including Dohrn and Ayers, were probably not acting under the specific direction and command of North Vietnam, but I'm not sure that matters because they choose to act on their behalf with the intent of subverting the war effort.
4.27.2008 5:35pm
Smokey:
I see what you did there, Diggity Steve. You deliberately conflated individual acts of terrorism [AKA criminal activity] with state terrorism, in an attempt to shore up a losing argument. Iran is not a terrorist. It is a terrorist state. They are different and they must be dealt with differently.

See, words matter. It's like when "global warming" became "climate change" as soon as global temps started falling. You can move the goal posts all over the field, but only at the expense of your probity.
4.27.2008 5:36pm
Gringo (mail):
Diggity Steve :
Sure. The United States engaged in acts of terrorism in Latin America in the 70s and 80s
Such as....

Neither were militants
What, pray tell, does this mean?
4.27.2008 5:44pm
Bleah:

If you look at it from Professor Dohrn's point of view, in her opinion the US government was responsible for the killing of millions of innocent civilians. The most deplorable, abhorrent situation imaginable. Neither the legislative, judicial, or executive branches of our government were willing to stop it so I'm guessing she felt at that point like there were no other options available.


A close friend of mine is a huge anti-abortion zealot (and even though I say that, he's still a dear friend). He and his church are probably a leap of logic like the above from considering bombing clinics. They certainly have the resources for it. They certainly have members of their church who could be counted upon to do it.

If they came to the conclusion at some point, that there was nothing else they could do to stop abortion other than killing doctors or bombing clinics, does that somehow mean that in the grand history they will be seen, in parlance, as freedom fighters vs terrorists? It seems like by your analysis of Dohrn, that's the only hurdle they need to cross to reach moral equivalence. Will this classification be subjective to who eventually writes the history, or will it be objective to their actions? From the reactions I see to Dohrn, I worry that if the right people are in the right places, they may just get away with slaps on the wrist were they to do something.

To me, the right course of action for them is to continue to protest, to continue to lobby elected officials, and continue to speak out. It is not to take justice into their own hands. And Dohrn of course had exactly the same options open to her. She errantly made the wrong choice, and there should be no mistake that she and her cohorts were absolutely, completely wrong.
4.27.2008 5:57pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
In the wake of the publication of Ayers Fugitive Days, The Daily Northwestern published this interesting tidbit about how Ms. Dohrn made it on the NU faculty.

Law Prof. Ronald Allen said [in Nov 2001] Dohrn has not come under scrutiny since her arrival in 1991. She was hired by former Dean Robert Bennett, who led the school from 1985 to 1995.

"There is a conception that she is a member of the faculty, but her hiring was done exclusively by the dean as a low-level administrator and was never dealt with as a faculty issue," said Allen, who has been at the school since 1984. "Some individuals were upset back then, and others thought she deserved a chance to make a positive contribution. But it was never under the faculty's purview."


The Weather Underground formed during the 1960s and bombed government buildings in protest of the Vietnam War. None of their actions resulted in deaths because they made warning calls before the explosions, but the group was blamed for detonating a bomb in the Pentagon in 1972.

As a leader of the organization, Dohrn was once on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. J. Edgar Hoover called her the "most dangerous woman in America," and she spent 10 years as a fugitive.

But in a letter of support for Dohrn, Law School Dean David Van Zandt said she has been a valuable member of the community since joining the faculty.

"While many would take issue with the views Ms. Dohrn espoused during the '60s, at the end of the day, her career here at the Law School is an example of a person's ability to channel one's energy and passion into making a difference in our legal system," he said in a statement. "We are an academic institution and, as such, expect there will be issues, faculty members and policies that are controversial from time to time."

A short time earlier, the Daily ran an article carrying this snippet:

As director of the Children and Family Justice Center, Dohrn has worked for reform of Cook County's juvenile justice system, established a community law clinic in a neighborhood settlement house and started a no-cost children's law program that has trained 80 volunteer attorneys from major law firms, Van Zandt said.

The question I would like to present is this: Can serving on behalf of children for over a decade rehabilitate a terrorist who ceased her activities a quarter-century before, turned herself into the authorities, plead guilty, and served her sentence, in the absence of a specific showing of repentance?
4.27.2008 6:26pm
Ted10 (mail):
Such "objectivity" serves, in the real world, what and whom?

Well, my point is that without moral clarity it serves no one. That's why I felt the statement that 'one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter' was not bullshit.

If I were a judge I wouldn't have a problem sentencing Dohrn to the death penalty for her actions as long as Nixon were tried and hung as a war criminal too. That's equal justice. Sentencing one but not the other seems to be highly unjust.

In the case of the abortion bombers mentioned above, the same holds true for them. Moral clarity would suggest that both activities are equally immoral and in America would justify the same sentence for the bombers and the doctors.

If you find killing innocent people objectionable, than all people doing it should get the same penalty. I'm not advocating any of the above, nor am I trying to justify anyones actions, I'm just saying equal should be equal.
4.27.2008 6:28pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Oh poop. This whole thing is the quote from the earlier article in the Daily Northwestern:.

A short time earlier, the Daily ran an article carrying this snippet:

The Weather Underground formed during the 1960s and bombed government buildings in protest of the Vietnam War. None of their actions resulted in deaths because they made warning calls before the explosions, but the group was blamed for detonating a bomb in the Pentagon in 1972.

As a leader of the organization, Dohrn was once on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. J. Edgar Hoover called her the "most dangerous woman in America," and she spent 10 years as a fugitive.

But in a letter of support for Dohrn, Law School Dean David Van Zandt said she has been a valuable member of the community since joining the faculty.

"While many would take issue with the views Ms. Dohrn espoused during the '60s, at the end of the day, her career here at the Law School is an example of a person's ability to channel one's energy and passion into making a difference in our legal system," he said in a statement. "We are an academic institution and, as such, expect there will be issues, faculty members and policies that are controversial from time to time."


As director of the Children and Family Justice Center, Dohrn has worked for reform of Cook County's juvenile justice system, established a community law clinic in a neighborhood settlement house and started a no-cost children's law program that has trained 80 volunteer attorneys from major law firms, Van Zandt said.
4.27.2008 6:41pm
LM (mail):
mutant

We had already made a commitment to South East Asia, and we knew a genocide would result if we left. It was openly discussed, including in anti-war circles. Most activists -- including Kerry, in his testimony -- claimed it wasn't true. To the extent they really believed that, they were simply misguided. But after we withdrew, the genocide took place, exactly as predicted.

That all pertained to Viet Nam, and I'll leave that argument for another day. My comment was about Cambodia.

To then *continue* claim that we can't know for sure why that happened, is worse than misguided.

Again, I'll put aside your reasons for what happened in Viet Nam for another thread. But what this argument omits, whether it's about Viet Nam or Iraq, is the cost of staying. We might disagree over how you define and predict "cost," but I think we'd all agree we should only pursue policies we expect to be more beneficial than costly. And that requires more thoughtful and, frequently, honest assessments of both sides of the ledger.
4.27.2008 6:55pm
LM (mail):
Mutant Pacifist,

Sorry, I forgot to finish typing your name.
4.27.2008 6:57pm
LM (mail):
A late thought about the dust-up between Orin and neurodoc. A point that seems to have been missed is whether the Conspirators have any common understanding about editing or deleting comments on each other's threads, and if so what. I don't know whether David or Orin or Eugene still monitor comments at this stage, but in case they do, I'll go out on a limb and say many of us would be curious to know about that understanding, and would appreciate their sharing it with us if they were to do so.
4.27.2008 8:40pm
Michael B (mail):
"And that requires more thoughtful and, frequently, honest assessments of both sides of the ledger." LM

Yea, more thoughtful and, frequently, honest. Would that include Chomsky & Herman, or Hildebrand & Porter, or others still, very effectively apologizing for the Khmer Rouge? Or is some thoughtful selectivity on order at such points?

Such "objectivity" serves, in the real world, what and whom?
"Well, my point is that without moral clarity it serves no one. That's why I felt the statement that 'one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter' was not bullshit." Ted10
It seems you passed over the note concerning the Laotian and Vietnam governments ongoing cleansing/oppressions against the Hmong, or Montagnards in general, a repressions that continues to this day, with notable ease. But those are merely the more recent and on-going examples. I could also break down - and variously source with citations to various studies and estimates - subdivisions of the appx. 500,000 or more that were variously killed in Vietnam alone since April, 1975.

And how is it that Nixon becomes such an unimpeachable authority when an isolated quote of his dovetails with received opinion concerning South Vietnam? Or, in general, how does "equal should be equal" lend "moral clarity" to anything at all?

I'm susceptible to a sound argument, but repeating dubious mantras about what could not be won, especially so when ample documentary evidence suggests precisely the opposite, does not persuade.

Then there's the storied mendacity of august members among the press, beginning c. 1961/2, v. Moyar on Halberstam or, covering far greater depth and breadth, Rollins on Sheehan. Is it moral clarity that is sought? Or the continued obfuscation of same?
4.27.2008 8:41pm
Dave N (mail):
MarkField,

Sorry for using "often" twice in one sentence, since that does confuse things--so let me rephrase:

I frequently disagree with your viewpoint, but your viewpoint does make me thoughtfully reappraise my own. While I believe you, on occassion, engage in a bit of verbal snark, I do as well. Overall, you contribute to the conversations here--even when I think you are absolutely wrong--which is usually :).
4.27.2008 8:52pm
OrinKerr:
I added this to one of neurodoc's comments above, but I thought I would add it here, too:

"Neurodoc, I think I'll keep up your latest set of rude and obnoxious posts to make clear to everyone that you are a troll. You may actually be a nice person in real life, but you tend to act like an asshole online. Please re-read our comment policy carefully and understand that you have been warned; permanent banning will result from your continued trollish and/or obnoxious comments.

To other VC readers, I would GREATLY appreciate anything you can do to express your opposition to trollish comments such as neuroduc's; conduct such as his is tremendously frustrating for bloggers, and I would appreciate your support if you want to keep VC threads open and worth-reading going forward. "

Also, neurodoc, I meant what I said about calling me; I should be in the office most of next week. (202) 994-4775.
4.27.2008 9:03pm
Asher (mail):
Asher, you obviously missed the point of my hypothetical exercise back there. Try rereading it. My point is in demonstrating the obnoxiousness and ignorance of conservative undergraduate students

Um, you're all over the place. Your initial claim was that right-leaning students are more obnoxious, which you clearly failed to demonstrate, provided your primary example is satirical bake sales. The problem, Diggity, as I will demonstrate is that you really have no point, other than that you intensely dislike people disagreeing with you.

who believe they are entitled to publicly shame, challenge, or interrogate professors at their university (even at a school in which the student is not enrolled) for the professor's long-ago, ambiguously culpable conduct with no context and shoddy research, as if they're some sort of justice-maker.

Justice? Huh?? WTF, are you babbling about? No one's talking about "justice" here. What we are talking about is that a man who wants to be the President of the US is clearly willing to associate with individuals, Ayers et al, who openly and unabashedly detest the very country he wants to lead. The fact that Obama chooses to associate with Ayers and Dorhn says something about him and it is up to voters to decide what exactly it implies; some voters will care a lot, some not at all, and some radicals will like Obama even more for this association.

Does Guy Benson think that he is the first smart-aleck to challenge Dohrn's past conduct? Does he think that reading Wikipedia and Frontpage magazine and Newsmax gives him insight into Dohrn's past behavior? The self-righteousness just kills me.

I have no idea what Wiki, et al have to do with anything as the only source referenced in Benson's essay was the New York Times. Oh, BTW, why don't you learn to use basic words properliy; your use of "self rightous" was completely baseless. I refer you to the dictionary where it describes self-righteousness: confident of one's own righteousness, esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others.. Nothing in Benson's essay even remotely smacks of self-righteousness; Benson is simply informing readers as to the type of radical with whom Obama chooses to associate. If Benson's tone and message are self-righteous then pretty much any criticism of anyone could be labeled as such. Try again.

Unfortunately for many conservatives, their lack of nuance and open-mindedness will forever banish them to the fringes of intellectual life, as least as it is borne out in the halls of higher learning.

Odd. If it's conservatives who are so closed-minded then why is it only leftists who are actively attempting to stiffle differing opinions. Steve, as I pointed out before the difference between politically active leftists and rightists on college campuses is that the former attempt to use force to stiffle debate and the latter do not. You have had ample time to dispute that contention and have failed to even address it, the obvious conclusion being that you concede the point.

Game. Set. Match.
4.27.2008 9:22pm
MarkField (mail):

Sorry for using "often" twice in one sentence, since that does confuse things--so let me rephrase:

I frequently disagree with your viewpoint, but your viewpoint does make me thoughtfully reappraise my own. While I believe you, on occassion, engage in a bit of verbal snark, I do as well. Overall, you contribute to the conversations here--even when I think you are absolutely wrong--which is usually :).


This is very nice, and I appreciate it. I wasn't trolling for compliments in my last post, though, just making a (very) small funny.

And I plead guilty to the snark charge.
4.27.2008 9:25pm
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
LM wrote, "My comment was about Cambodia."

Oh, I see. You were making a distinction between what happened in Vietnam and Cambodia. Yes, I suppose it's possible that Cambodia could still have gone Communist even if South Vietnam had been maintained as a separate, non-Communist country. I was perhaps being too optimistic to assume that if the US had kept a presence in Vietnam, it would have been easier to stop the genocide by the Khmer Rouge.

LM: "But what this argument omits, whether it's about Viet Nam or Iraq, is the cost of staying. We might disagree over how you define and predict "cost," but I think we'd all agree we should only pursue policies we expect to be more beneficial than costly. And that requires more thoughtful and, frequently, honest assessments of both sides of the ledger."

Fair enough. Different people have different reasons for supporting or opposing the war in Iraq. My reasons are based in liberal internationalism. I really believe we are one global village. The family across the sea is a deserving of life, liberty and happiness as my own family. (Sappy, I know, but I'm a sappy person.)

I see it this way. America is the richest nation in the world, with the strongest and most advanced military. We also import brainpower from all over the world. And because of that, ironically, it would cost us less, for instance, to end genocide in Darfur than it would the African Union. (Plus, we would actually have a chance at success). If all human lives are equal in value, and it would cost 500,000 African soldiers to stop a genocide of 4 million civilians, versus the lives of 5000 American soldiers, then to my mind, the cost is worth it.

On the other hand, I realize that political will is itself a limited resource, much harder to come by than recruits for the army or money for tanks. So I believe we have to concentrate on one fight at a time, and tackle the mess in the Middle East before we can do anything about Africa. If the Iraqis had to fight alone to defend their democracy, I think it would take many more decades and millions more lives to secure it. We can help them out, reducing the time and cost to a mere handful of years and many less lives.

The benefit to us of a free and democratic Iraq cannot be measured in security alone, although certainly that is a factor. But democratic nations make contributions to world civilization that dictatorships don't. Think of all the technological and medical advances that have come out of South Korea -- versus those from North Korea. One day, your children or mine could be cured of a terrible disease by an Iraqi scientist, who, under a dictatorship, would have been languishing in a gulag. (Did you know that Syria has a higher percentage of doctors in prison than any other nation in the world?) So, yes, I believe we should weigh the costs and benefits. But let's be honest. The monetary cost of this war is very little compared to our nation's wealth and resources. At worst, it is an inconvenience to the lifestyle of most Americans. The exception, of course, is to those families who make the ultimate sacrifice.

I try not to ask of other people what I'm not willing to do myself. I'm not a soldier, so I can't ever truly understand the risk and sacrifice of a soldier, but I have travelled to a war-torn nation and tried to do my best to help defend a fledgling democracy. My risk was not as great as a real soldier, nor my contribution, but if I had lost my life, I would not have considered it in vain. I suppose that's one reason that I find the anti-war propaganda counting American body bags to be so insulting. A true pacifist may believe that it is wrong to *kill* to defend freedom, but never that it is wrong to *die* to defend freedom. Those protesters, most of them, are not pacifists at all. They simply (a) believe that protecting the lives and freedom of strangers is not worth even mere inconvenience to Americans, or (b) actively support the wrong side. And, finally, there are those who, though patriotic, actually believe that *we* are the ones hurting the Iraqis, rather than the ones defending the Iraqis. I don't expect to convince any of the first two groups, but I hope those who genuinely care about Iraqi lives will see that for us to abandon Iraq too soon would put the Iraqis in much, much more danger.

P.S.
As for my name, don't worry about it. There is some doubt about whether I am a real pacifist. But no one who knows me doubts that I am a mutant.
4.27.2008 9:37pm
mls (www):
There must be a great joke that begins "John Yoo and Bernardine Dohrn walk into a bar."

But I'll be darned if I know what it is.
4.27.2008 10:12pm
Ted10 (mail):
Michael B - Is it moral clarity that is sought? Or the continued obfuscation of same?

I mentioned a number of things, not just southeast Asia.

You mentioned ample evidence that we would have or could have won if we stayed. You may be 100% correct although that's a moot point now. However, if Nixon believed we had no chance of winning he should have stopped the bombing and got us out right then. To continue anyway amounted to wasting innocent lives and was morally wrong.
4.27.2008 10:28pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Ayers and Dorhn are a package, as far as being Friends of Obama. But only Dohrn is being discussed, presumably because she can't be connected to the crimes, not very closely, anyway. So we can talk about her not being a problem and, if nobody listens very hard, Ayers rides that same horse.

The type who would cheerfully accuse conservative Christians as being abortion bombers are being particularly finicky about degrees of separation in this case. Funny, that.
4.27.2008 11:04pm
LM (mail):
neurodoc,

I don't think Ronald Reagan had anything like that affect on women [...]

I had in mind his more general charismatic appeal to young people. And I resent that my forgetting to mention that compromises my ability to criticize you for failing to notice it. ;)
4.27.2008 11:14pm
neurodoc:
[OK comments: neurodoc, I am extremely frustrated to have to do this, but in light of your latest here, yes, I think it's best if you cease commenting here. Sorry it had to come to this, but I understand that you don't want to comply with our comment policy and don't want to discuss this with me one on one as I have requested. Very frustrating for me, but I see the choice as yours and I understand your choice.]
4.27.2008 11:31pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"My impression from this thread is that for many expressing opinions here, there can be no such thing as having paid a societal debt."

There certainly is such a thing as paying one's debt. However, there still is the issue of their current views as they have repeatedly expressed them, and the support they gave Obama, and which he accepted, in launching his political career. The fact that they may have paid a debt says nothing about their current views, nor does it say anything about Obama's acceptance of their support.
4.27.2008 11:38pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Can someone tell us exactly what the tone of the new McCarthyism is? Exactly how does it differ from the substance? It sounds really good, but does anyone know what it means?
4.27.2008 11:41pm
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
Ted10: "However, if Nixon believed we had no chance of winning he should have stopped the bombing and got us out right then. To continue anyway amounted to wasting innocent lives and was morally wrong."

Nixon proved he lacked honor in making peace as well as in waging war. So I won't argue the point that Nixon was morally reprehensible.

However, it *is* possible to fight a war you know you will lose without being dishonorable. Poland and Belgium, for instance, knew they would lose against the Nazis, but fought anyway. Did they waste those lives?

I have a friend who recently visited Vietnam, who said that, to his surprise, many people there still remembered the Americans, and American values, which they now wanted to put into practice. Many Vietnamese believe Communism was a mistake and want their country to be a capitalist democracy -- and they have an idea of what that would look like in part because they still remember the American influence in their country from years ago.

Tom Hayden discovered this too, and was bitterly disappointed with them.

I believe you can only say those lives given to defend Vietnam's freedom were wasted if you believe it is a waste to die for freedom.
4.27.2008 11:44pm
Diggity Steve (mail):
Asher - not sure I'd be so sure of myself back there. You demonstrated very little aside from ignoring the substance of my post and obfuscating the very issues I was trying to raise. Oh, and you obviously have never encountered Guy Benson before or you wouldn't question my use of self-righteous (which, by the way, is entirely appropriate even if you didn't know Guy Benson).
4.28.2008 12:17am
Asher (mail):
Steve, you simply have no substance. You made a specific claim that students on the right were more obnoxious than those on the left. This claim is categorically silly given that the difference is, respectively, satire versus suppression of dissent; the two are not even in the same ballpark. There are no "issues" to obfuscate, at least nothing in what you've said.

Basically, the entire corpus of your every post is one big, fat nothing. It's completely devoid of any intellectual content.

Next, the only evidence regarding this discussion of Guy Benson is the essay in question. Nowhere in that essay is there even a hint of self-righteousness. Look, someone is self-righteous when they operate as if their positions are above criticism, often regarding claims of a moral nature.

See, Steve, the problem is that you make assertions and then utterly fail to substantiate them. Your every word is substance-less.
4.28.2008 12:55am
LM (mail):
neurodoc,

virgil xenophon said: "The importance of this phenomenon to the original thread here is that human beings such as Obama who apparently are gifted with these unusual powers (if only fleetingly bestowed upon them by the times) are potentially very dangerous, thus it behooves us to closely and carefully examine their world-view."

.. a context in which Hitler references are anything but innocuous.

As for "whether charisma is taking him farther than it should and because of it he is getting less scrutiny than he should" (your words, not virgil xenophon's), I'd say that if that was ever so it certainly isn't any more. But considering that a Gallop Poll last year showed a plurality of Republicans think Ronald Reagan was our greatest President ever, and Democrats chose Bill Clinton -- Before anyone damns the Republican choice with the faint praise of its "obvious" superiority to the Democrats,' consider that #5 for Republicans was George W. Bush -- I see no reason to think availability of information makes the electorate any more informed. And even for those of us who find such stuff interesting, our choices are often more visceral than calculated.

I take the public personas of all celebrities and politicians with a big grain of salt (e.g., I like John McCain, but by many accounts he's somewhat of a dick; I'm totally put off by Hillary, yet David Brooks says she's considered collegial and down to earth by other Senators, left and right, and there's the conventional wisdom about Bush gaining 20 IQ points when cameras are off). But the accounts you read and hear from people who've known Obama, e.g., Brad Berenson, (from HLR) Cass Sunstein, are uniform in their admiration, and in confirming that his public brand and message really are the actual guy. I take that with some skepticism too, but I credit enough of it to allow myself my own positive intuition about him. The worst thing I can say about that is that my positive intuition about a candidate bodes poorly for his electoral prospects (e.g., the Republican who struck me most positively in this campaign as a sincere, decent person was Sam Brownback).
4.28.2008 2:12am
LM (mail):
Mutant Pacifist,

I share many of your motives, but if Viet Nam and Iraq have taught us anything it should be that we shouldn't get into wars we're not prepared to win decisively, and the popular American will to do what's required to win decisively won't last very long for anything except a defensive war in response to actual, direct aggression.
4.28.2008 2:32am
LM (mail):
By the way, what that means for what we should do in Iraq going forward, I have no idea. I don't trust either partisan narrative to be taking the other one seriously enough.
4.28.2008 3:02am
Ted10 (mail):
Mutant Pacifist - I believe you can only say those lives given to defend Vietnam's freedom were wasted if you believe it is a waste to die for freedom.

I've never heard we were there to 'defend their freedom'. I heard we were there to stop the spread of communism whom they turned to for help to get rid of the French after we turned down down their pleas for that help. My understanding is that we never really gave a crap about their freedom, we just wanted to fight the commies in someone else's backyard.

I wouldn't disagree that a lot of Americans were able to touch some peoples lives, but that role could have been better served by the Peace Corps than the military.

Also, ditto to LM's comments above.
4.28.2008 8:50am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Ted. Stopping communism is the same as protecting freedom. Unfortunately for some, it's done better with military means.
4.28.2008 10:16am
Elliot123 (mail):
"But the accounts you read and hear from people who've known Obama, e.g., Brad Berenson, (from HLR) Cass Sunstein, are uniform in their admiration, and in confirming that his public brand and message really are the actual guy."

I think this may be the core of Obama's problem. I can't really detect the substance of his message. He talks of hope and change, but says very little about what he hopes for, and less about what he wants to change.

There is little difference between any candidates ultimate wishes for society: they all want a prosperous, healthy, and well educated society in which all people can participate. Where they differ is in the means to achieve it.

But Obama provides little substance regarding how he will do this. If this actually is the real man, then what is there behind the rhetoric and powers of presentation?

The most telling moment in his campaign to date was the exchange in the last debate where he was asked about the relationship between increasing capital gains taxes and total tax revenue. He appeared clueless about the fact that experience shows that decreases in capital gains taxes increase total revenue. All he could fall back on was complaining that a few hundred hedge fund managers make a fortune and that's not fair. Substance or ignorance?
4.28.2008 12:17pm
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
Ted10: "I've never heard we were there to 'defend their freedom'. I heard we were there to stop the spread of communism whom they turned to for help to get rid of the French after we turned down down their pleas for that help. My understanding is that we never really gave a crap about their freedom, we just wanted to fight the commies in someone else's backyard."

The "realist" school of thought did not believe it was necessary to specifically built democracies in nations like Vietnam. Personally, I think this was our single biggest mistake in the Cold War.

Nonetheless, as Richard Aubrey said, "Stopping communism is the same as protecting freedom." I didn't always think that. I used to believe authoritarian dictatorships were just as bad as Communist dictatorships. But I was wrong. The totalitarian nature of Communism is more kin to Nazism in its capacity for evil, far outstripping your average corrupt oligarch.

Still, I agree that we should have had a much clearer strategy of democratization in Vietnam.

Ted10: "I wouldn't disagree that a lot of Americans were able to touch some peoples lives, but that role could have been better served by the Peace Corps than the military."

I've also come to the sad conclusion that Aubrey's second statement, "Unfortunately for some, it's done better with military means," is also true. My parents were in Peace Corps during the Vietnam war, but not in Vietnam. Peace Corps cannot serve in a country where terrorist groups (as the Communists were in South Vietnam) are assassinating and killing people (as they were, before Americans ever arrived).

Look, I've been a pacifist since I was twelve, I've read every pacifist philosopher and activist (Thoreau, Gandhi, King and many, many others), I'm a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, I've worked as a humanitarian aide in Third World countries and I've been a human shield. I've wracked my brains for a way a purely nonviolent movement could be used against an enemy like al-Qaida. If you have ideas, please, let me know. Those who are trying-- end up as targets. (http://www.emu.edu/news/index.php/1316) I admire their courage, but is this a realistic approach? Would it work in the absence of an ongoing military effort to secure their safety? The Jews of the Warsaw ghetto could not have nonviolence against the Nazis, because the Nazis had one goal, to kill them all. Al-Qaida likewise would not hesitate to kill all pacifists who tried to demonstrate against them. To them, a pacifist is just another infidel.

In the months before 9-11, 2001, while most of the world ignored Afghanistan as just another basket-case, I was working as volunteer abroad. The aide community was desperate, absolutely desperate to get food into Afghanistan. We knew that about 4 million people were on the verge of famine. The weakest were already dying. The Taliban had made it impossible to get the food into the country. Several aide workers had been killed or arrested trying to sneak it in, it was just impossible. We were all bracing ourselves to watch millions of people die, while the world did nothing.

9-11 saved the people of Afghanistan.

To my disgust, "anti-war" people who hadn't cared a whit about the starving people in Afghanistan, now suddenly began to say we should be "dropping food, not bombs" on the Afghanistan. Their ignorance infuriated me. What had they thought the aide community had been trying to do for years? As for the idea you can just drop food in parachutes, there's a lot more to food distribution than that. The entire "food not bombs" argument ignores the fact that sometimes you have to bomb the government who is stopping their own people from getting food.

Then you can send in Peace Corps.
4.28.2008 3:27pm
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
LM: "I share many of your motives, but if Viet Nam and Iraq have taught us anything it should be that we shouldn't get into wars we're not prepared to win decisively, and the popular American will to do what's required to win decisively won't last very long for anything except a defensive war in response to actual, direct aggression."

An accurate description, I have to say, though I hope, for the sake of Iraq and Afghanistan, that our will can last just a few years longer.

I've heard it called "the democratic trap." Democracies are more inclined to negotiate their way out of conflicts, and so ignore escalating aggression from dictatorships. The dictatorship regards each negotiation as a sign of weakness, rather than reasonableness, and so just escalates more, until finally it does something the democracy can't ignore. This "trap" is not just true of modern democracies. The history of the cantons of Switzerland contain similar incidents from back in the days when Switzerland was surrounded on all sides by monarchies. It's funny, because we all know Switzerland as a peaceful nation, but there was a time when they had the strongest army in Europe. Not by coincidence, their army was composed of citizen-soldiers, who were much doughtier in a fight than the serfs forced to march for their feudal masters.
4.28.2008 3:37pm
LM (mail):
Elliot123,


The most telling moment in his campaign to date was the exchange in the last debate where he was asked about the relationship between increasing capital gains taxes and total tax revenue. He appeared clueless about the fact that experience shows that decreases in capital gains taxes increase total revenue.

... or that the increase is a timing spike, followed by a dip, the net result of which is either higher or lower than under the old rate, depending on the ideology of the economist you ask. I thought that was substantively his worst moment of the campaign. Hillary wouldn't have that kind of lapse, McCain will have many. I take the Republicans' customary President-as-CEO view that those differences don't matter much if you're smart enough to be brought up to speed. Obama is.

His website gives enough detail for what are necessarily aspirational policies to let you know his organizing philosophy is mainstream liberal. His personal style comes into play in his process, which is inclusive. He reportedly (Berenson, Sunstein) gives respectful audience to views adverse to his own philosophy, and is open to persuasion by the best idea, whatever the source.
4.28.2008 3:58pm
Ted10 (mail):
Richard Aubrey - Stopping communism is the same as protecting freedom. Unfortunately for some, it's done better with military means.

Taken at face value I'd usually tend to agree with this. However, in the case of Vietnam my understanding of how we got into it was this was; (From a great series on the History channel)

In the late '50's Vietnam was a French colony that wanted its independence from France. They came to the US for assistance in getting it. We asked the French, they didn't want to give Vietnam up, and we didn't want to go to war with France over it so we told Vietnam we couldn't help them.

Then they went to the communists and asked for help getting rid of the French and they said we'd love to help.

So, the commies were invited by the Vietnamese to help them gain independence. Once they got involved the US said we've got to stop the spread of communism so we got involved.

Admittedly, it was a strange set of circumstances that led to our involvement. But, once there, by fighting against the commies who were there to help the Vietnamese gain independence we in effect were fighting to keep a country from gaining its independence.

Which brings me back to my original post that one mans terrorist is another's freedom fighter.
4.28.2008 6:26pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>In the late '50's Vietnam was a French colony that wanted its independence from France. They came to the US for assistance in getting it. We asked the French, they didn't want to give Vietnam up, and we didn't want to go to war with France over it so we told Vietnam we couldn't help them.

<<<


By the late '50s, Viet-Nam had already gotten rid of the French. The French were gonzo after the debacle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and the resultant cease fire.
4.28.2008 8:42pm
Ted10 (mail):
CDR D - I looked that up and you're correct. Guess I should stop watching the history channel....
4.28.2008 8:57pm
CDR D (mail):
>>>Guess I should stop watching the history channel....

<<<

No, no, no...

I like the History Channel and watch it frequently. Just don't take everything as gospel. Check facts.

The HC makes mistakes.

I like Roman History, and enjoy the HC when they have programs on that subject. But they DO make mistakes.
4.28.2008 9:22pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mutant. Long journey you had.

BTW. After 9-11, we were dropping food to the
Afghans. Heavy transports were flying out of Ramstein dropping the Humanitarian Daily Ration (quite a tour de force, good for Hindus, Jews, Muslims, needs no local water, tastes so bad it doesn't interfere with local food markets) by the tens of tons.

Talked to a big shooter in a sideline denomination (Presbyterian Church USA) who objected because it was "muddying the waters". Another lib who needed dead people and wasn't getting them. Oh, well, we saved a bunch of lives and he can go to Hell.
4.28.2008 9:48pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Ted. Are you serious that what you know about SEA came solely from the History Channel?

Well, I guess I can't be surprised. Took a 1985 grad of U-Mich out to lunch, he was a history major, to find out what the Berkeley of the midwest taught about SEA. "We read a book,", he said.

Nothing says independence like being run by communist tyrants who took over with massive aid from other communist tyrants. Long as they're local communist tyrants, I guess, it's all good.
4.28.2008 9:55pm
Ted10 (mail):
In the interest of moral clarity:) my sincere apologies for spouting off on the last post as if I knew what I was talking about when I obviously didn't.
4.29.2008 1:20am
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
Richard Aubrey: "Talked to a big shooter in a sideline denomination (Presbyterian Church USA) who objected because it was "muddying the waters". Another lib who needed dead people and wasn't getting them."

Yeah, I never understood that attitude. It goes back quite far, though. During a Russian famine in the 1890's, Lenin opposed helping the victims, because he believed the worse off the people were, the faster the Revolution would come. Ironically, the Communists still managed to portray themselves as heroes during the famine, the only ones who "cared".
4.29.2008 1:46am
Diggity Steve (mail):
In light of the original purpose of this thread:
4.29.2008 1:59am
Diggity Steve (mail):
http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/much-ado/index.html
4.29.2008 1:59am
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
From the article linked above: "We were there not because of what Ayers and Dohrn had done 40 years ago, but because of what they were doing at the moment."

Which is also the problem now. What they're doing at the moment. Sure, they're too old and sedate ("establishment") to go out and raise hell now, but their ideology hasn't changed one bit, and they're eagerly indoctrinating the next generation of anti-American terrorists.

I'm not saying they should be arrested and beheaded. Turning former terrorists into establishment figures, even if they aren't really repentant, is the strength of democracy. It's what we hope for in Iraq, after all. No one expects every ex-militia member or ex-Baathist or ex-AQ to give up their poisonous ideology, we'd be happy if they simply moved their argument into the debate hall and out of the battle zone.

But that doesn't mean the next president gets the same pass, if he shares an ideology, which, taken to its logical conclusion, results in declaring war against America. As others have said, if these two were Obama's *only* connection to such extreme rhetoric, it wouldn't be a big deal. But they seem to be just two of many.

Sorry, I still find that disturbing.

And the fact that journalists at the New York Times also dine with these people and can claim with a straight face that there was no "ideology" involved, is hardly an argument in Obama's favor. All it proves is that the New York Times is so out of touch it is oblivious to its own bias.
4.29.2008 4:07am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Mutant.
Let me explain that attitude:
Dead civilians are like currency. But only one side gets to spend it. If the Americans or their proxies cause the dead civilians, that's money in the bank for our enemies, to include the American left. The dead reproach our actions, our cause, our national morality.
If our enemies cause the dead civilians....hey, look, a squirrel.
Our enemies know they can count on our lefties to give them a pass on all the killing they do. Thus, they are not reproached, the killing does not exemplify their cause, and they are pure as the driven snow.
Should the killing by our enemies be forced into public consciousness, the vics are either the local version of kulaks who deserved it (should have seen what was said of Vietnamese boat people), or you can't make an omelet, or the US does worse (almost always not true).
4.29.2008 1:53pm
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
Richard Aubrey: "Dead civilians are like currency. But only one side gets to spend it."

Interesting analogy. I think you're right. But it seems even worse than just ignoring the murders committed by the other side -- those are our fault too. So if 3000 people are killed in 3-11, that's the fault of US policy, if the Khmer Rogue murders 2 million people, that's because our bombing made them "crazy", hey even if Dorhn and Ayers join a terrorist group and kill police officers, it's because US policy made them insane.

The Quakers, one of the few pacifist groups with legitimate claim to that title, have an exhibit of shoes of the violence in Iraq. They include Iraqi civilian shoes -- but they make no mention of whether the civilians were killed deliberately by AQ or were killed accidently by the US military. It seems that should make a difference, but no, apparently not. All deaths, by either side, are our fault.

What the Quakers don't seem to realize is that this attitude is exactly why sending pacifists over there wouldn't work. More dead pacifists just means more blame on us.
4.29.2008 5:16pm
LM (mail):
Richard's description of a small cohort on the left is fairly accurate, if exaggerated. There's also a blindly chauvinistic one on the right. Neither is helpful. But if Richard touched on the view of a vocal minority here, that seems to be the plurality if not the majority view in the rest of the world. That extent of global anti-Americanism is a recent development,* and apart from being wrong and obnoxious, it hurts us tangibly. Some people buy Toyota instead of Ford, or visit Canada rather than the U.S. To some, it makes killing Americans in Baghdad seem more forgivable. The popularity of those views convinces others that killing Americans is virtuous enough to take matters into their own hands.

So whether we treat the people who believe that stuff as despicable or just naively wrong-headed, not trying to change their minds is as predictably harmful as is not getting Al Quaeda before Al Qaeda gets us.** One of the Bush administration's arrogant blunders was dismissing public diplomacy as not worthy of our concern. We were going to impose our will regardless, or so the thinking went. Had they never heard "talk softly and carry a big stick" or did they think they knew better? We'll never know how much more support and less opposition we might have had for our mission in Iraq if the administration had even seriously pretended to care what the rest of the world thought. They treated a crucial lever of power (public diplomacy) as being so inconsequential that they insulted it repeatedly, in my opinion just to score political points with their base. Teddy Roosevelt may never stop spinning in his grave.

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* I trace a lot of the increased anti-Americanism since 2003 to Dominic de Villepin blindsiding Colin Powell at the U.N. That signaled to the world it was OK not just to disagree with us about invading Iraq, but to pre-judge us as immoral for doing so. Ironically, I now agree that the invasion was morally wrong, though for different reasons than de Villepin's (at the time I thought it was morally justifiable, but strategically ill-conceived), but I still think we have a score to settle with France for the damage it caused by treating us like an enemy, not an ally.

** And conflating everything into "they're evil so we have no responsibility for anything that happens to us" only elevates chest thumping above concern for our own well-being. In fact we do facilitate some of our own losses and those of other innocents by negligence and arrogance, and that has its own moral consequences, apart from the immorality of our enemies. Saying so doesn't pretend any moral equivalences. It's a false choice to say that holding ourselves accountable for our own behavior diminishes our enemies' accountability, or the legitimacy of our cause.
4.29.2008 7:34pm
Cato (mail):
Diggity Steve,

The difference between the obnoxious things conservative students do to provoke debate and what liberal kids do is that CONSERVATIVE KIDS DON'T GET ACADEMIC CREDIT FOR THEM.

See link below:

http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/24513
4.30.2008 1:22pm
Mutant Pacifist (mail) (www):
LM: "One of the Bush administration's arrogant blunders was dismissing public diplomacy as not worthy of our concern."

I agree, the failure to recognize that this is as much a war of images as of substance has been critical. I believe I read somewhere that Saudi Arabia alone has spent $80 billion on anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda, yet the Bush government seemed to have no coherent plan to deal with this.
4.30.2008 2:28pm
LM (mail):
I think their plan was Karen Hughes...(sigh). Obviously there was a power struggle during the first term, and Cheney, Addington, Rumsfeld, et al, beat out Colin Powell, Armitage, etc. If Bush had been listening to Powell, we'd be better off now both diplomatically, and, assuming we had nonetheless invaded Iraq, militarily.

Even if we made no more effort diplomatically than the Karen Hughes show, Powell understood the "cheap is dear" moral peril of Rumsfeld's military strategy. If you go, you go heavy, crush your enemies one at a time, and only then move on. You don't try to fight all over the place at once by cutting corners everywhere. If we had kept our powder dry in Iraq, followed through on the good start in Afghanistan, (so we didn't now have to conquer much of the same territory twice), and only when Afghanistan was sufficiently Taliban-free and stabilized moved into Iraq with a heavy footprint, the world would look very different, and would be less hostile to us generally.

And the raving leftists who thought we had it coming on 9/11 were a very small part of the opposition to Bush's policies. Remember, he had a 90% approval rating after 9/11. But the Administration demonized everyone who dissented publicly, including non-liberals like Eric Shinseki and Larry Lindsey, who dared to point out that the Emperor had no clothes. Cheney, Rove and company poisoned the whole well of responsible debate and criticism. That was an immoral act far more damaging than the few nuts like Dohrn or Ayers, whose ideas had no place in most of the legitimate, loyal opposition.

Now, if we had followed Powell's military advice and made a serious effort at public diplomacy....
4.30.2008 5:17pm