The Anti-American Loathing of Many War Hawks

by Harry Browne

May 30, 2003          

Last month TV minister Jerry Falwell published a diatribe against anti-war protestors, in which he displayed an anti-American mindset displayed by many war hawks.

So I am reproducing the article in its entirety here, with Falwell's statements in quotation marks and my comments interspersed in red.

Falwell: "I recently took some flack for an article I wrote in the April issue of my National Liberty Journal newspaper in which I took to task some of Hollywood's leftist elites who have recently been involved in condemning the war in Iraq and President Bush.

"In the article, which I titled 'Smart Bombs and Dumb Americans,' I noted that 'spoiled Hollywood brats' and leftist academics have been trashing the country in the name of 'patriotism.' Quite frankly, I've had my fill of it. Patriotism starts with a love of country; the sentiments of these loopy liberals begin with an absolute loathing and distrust of America."

Does this mean that anyone who opposes any American war is automatically loathing and distrusting America? Or is it just this war? Is it impossible for someone to love America without agreeing with everything the current President wants to do?

Did Jerry Falwell agree with Bill Clinton when Clinton said it wasn't possible to love your country and hate your government at the same time?

"They are not devoted to preserving the American spirit of our forefathers — a spirit that sometimes includes war to advance the cause of freedom."

If by "forefathers" you mean the country's founders, when did they ever go halfway around the world to attack a country that had never aggressed against America?

"They are, rather, dedicated to a false spirit of detached neutrality that says a George Bush-led America is no better than a Saddam Hussein-led Iraq."

I've never heard any war opponent say that. What they've said is that George Bush is doing something terrible and that Hussein's dreadful reign in Iraq is not an excuse for the U.S. to go to war. And why does anyone who advocates Middle East neutrality have "a false spirit"? Are the only genuine sentiments those of Falwell and Bush?

And, by the way, I've never heard Jerry Falwell object to the dictatorship in Pakistan. Does that mean he believes that a Bush-led America is no better than a Musharraf-led Pakistan?

"In their typically valueless world of ever-changing morals and situational ethics, there is no right or wrong, no cause for advancing truth because no truth can actually exist. In such a world, we don't even know what 'is' is."

How in the world did you arrive at all that from the fact that millions of Americans oppose the war in Iraq? Does disagreeing with Jerry Falwell automatically mean that someone believes in a "valueless world of ever-changing morals and situational ethics" in which "there is no right or wrong"?

Why would these people say the government is wrong if they believe "there is no right or wrong"? If you're going to attack someone, at least make some sense.

And while we're on the subject of values and "situational ethics," let me get this straight:

  • You believe it's wrong for Iraq to invade Kuwait over an oil dispute, but it's right for the U.S. to invade Iraq when Iraq hasn't aggressed against the U.S. in any way.

  • You believe it's wrong for Iraq to have weapons of mass destruction but quite right for the U.S. to have an arsenal of them that's larger than the rest of the world combined.

  • You believe it's wrong for Iraq to have a government that hasn't been chosen by the people, but quite right for Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to be ruled by dynasties that haven't been chosen by the people.

And you accuse others of having "ever-changing morals and situational ethics" and having no fixed values or sense of "right or wrong"?

You need spiritual help, Mr. Falwell. Perhaps you should talk to your pastor.

"Consequently, the spirit of America — our goodness, our compassion, our generosity — dies because only our shortcomings are underscored and we are presented as evil destroyers instead of earnest liberators."

You have no evidence that war protestors underscore only "our shortcomings." And if one government sends missiles, bombers, and troops to destroy another country, why is it so absurd to characterize the invaders "as evil destroyers instead of earnest liberators"?

"Even the people of Iraq seem to realize the sincerity of our effort while the trendy left continues to demean America."

So I assume you've been on the streets of Baghdad talking to Iraqis. Or have you been taking it easy in Virginia, watching Donald Rumsfeld on television and egging on other Americans to kill Iraqis?

"Newsday reported this week that Columbia University assistant professor Nicholas DeGenova, appearing at an anti-war gathering, called for the defeat of U.S. forces in Iraq, saying, 'The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military,' Newsday said."

It is understandable that some people believe the only way to stop this insatiable lust for invading countries is for the U.S. military to be defeated somewhere. If you could offer an alternative solution for stopping the rule-the-world mentality in Washington, perhaps Mr. DeGenova might no longer feel the need to hope for a U.S. military defeat.

"The Columbia administration refused to take action, instead hiding behind 'academic freedom' that allegedly protects a professor's right to speak his treasonous derision."

When did it become treason to oppose a government policy? Just exactly what do you think America is supposed to be a land in which we all jump up and praise our Glorious Leader, while ostracizing anyone who chooses to dissent?

Is Mr. DeGenova killing Iraqis like our government is? Is Mr. DeGenova to be denied to speak if he doesn't agree with Jerry Falwell? "Academic freedom" isn't required. After all, we're all supposed to have the freedom to speak our minds. Apparently, you want us to be more like a "Hussein-led Iraq."

"Thankfully, more than 65 members of Congress have called for professor DeGenova's firing. Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Arizona., called the professor's statement 'an intemperate, unreasonable muttering of a person who surely is not qualified to teach students at one of this nation's elite universities.'"

"Thankfully"? You're happy that members of Congress are trying to fire a professor in a private university? Where in the Constitution is that listed as a function of Congress? Have you ever read the Constitution? Do you know what limited powers are given to Congress by Article I, Section 8? Are you familiar with the 10th amendment?

Is it "the spirit of America" for government to decide who can teach in a private university? Is that what you think America is supposed to be?

"How far down the proverbial slippery slope will this blatant hatred for America take us if it is not challenged?"

How far down the proverbial slippery slope of world domination will this blatant desire to rule the world take our government if it is not challenged by people like "spoiled Hollywood brats" and Professor DeGenova?

"Look no further than the recent California 'peace' demonstration in which a memorial to those who died on September 11 was destroyed by the 'peaceful' protesters. Additionally, 87 American flags there were ripped up. While the memorial has been rebuilt, Gary Bauer, chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, noted that we must 'rearm the hearts and souls of our children' if we are to preserve the American spirit."

If property was destroyed, the destroyers should be prosecuted. But by your logic and that of George Bush, the protestors' destruction of private property in California probably serves as an excuse to invade Canada.

"Just as the terrorists who seek to harm our nation are our enemy, so too are these reckless protesters who seek to tear down the spirit of our nation from within."

The "spirit of our nation" was supposed to be freedom from government individual liberty, personal responsibility, very limited powers for the federal government, and freedom from the endless wars that plagued Europe and Asia.

There's precious little of that left, thanks to people like Jerry Falwell who have destroyed America's uniqueness by calling on the government over and over for things they want.

"This demonstration was far from an isolated instance.

"With the polls indicating that growing numbers of Americans support our liberation of Iraq, 'Hanoi Jane' Fonda said this week that Americans are 'ignorant of reality and history.'"

Since polls show a majority of Americans believe Iraq was involved in the September 11 attacks, it would appear that many Americans are indeed "ignorant of reality and history." So what’s your point?

"Eddie Vedder, lead singer for the band Pearl Jam, this week brought a mask of President Bush on stage and trounced on it. (Several fans booed while others walked out of the concert.)"

People do get angry when they feel powerless to stop big government — a big government that Jerry Falwell is doing a great deal to promote.

"A few weeks ago, actor Danny Glover called President Bush a 'racist' who wants to 'eliminate everything Americans had accomplished so far in matters of race and equality.''

That’s his opinion. So what? Are you going to ask your friends in Congress to call for Glover’s firing?

"These are just a few examples of the lunacy that spews out of Hollywood. These pampered pin-ups are so keen on advancing their nebulous politics that they become blinded to the good that is being accomplished in Iraq."

That's your opinion. You probably think that the current civil war and chaos in Afghanistan are excellent examples of the "good" that American foreign policy achieves. You probably believe our government's attacks on Grenada, Haiti, Panama, and Serbia to be more "good that is being accomplished." I doubt that any of the Founding Fathers would agree, but then you'd probably call them "anti-American" as well.

"WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah hit the nail on the head when he said, 'Many dangerous, violent and profoundly anti-American organizations are using the current war as cover to try to bring America to its knees. They hate this country and openly advocate destroying it. Their cause has nothing to do with opposing war, but everything to do with opposing America. In some cases, both their tactics and their goals are not far from those of the very terrorists we are fighting.'"

You mean their protests are the same as killing people in the World Trade Center and the same as George Bush bombing civilians in Iraq? Is that what you mean by their tactics? I must have missed all that. Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that bombing civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq represents tactics and goals that "are not far from those of the very terrorists we are fighting"?

As to trying "to bring America to its knees," perhaps they're just trying to bring America to its senses. But then I guess that's just "treasonous derision." After all, the Founding Fathers weren't really serious when they inserted freedom of speech into the Bill of Rights, were they? They didn't really mean that Americans should have the right to disagree with the government, did they?

"So we come to the ultimate question: Should I have called these haters of America 'idiots'? Possibly not."

Then why did you?

And why are you calling them "haters of America"?

Do you ever think before you speak and write?

"But my passion for this nation sometimes brings about zealous words. I will never apologize for defending the Judeo-Christian values on which this nation was founded."

One of those values is supposed to be the principle that you fight only in self-defense, not because your Glorious Leader wants to pad his approval rating.

"And I will never back down from a battle with those who seek to destroy this nation that has traditionally embraced and pursued those historic values. I think it's time we drop the gloves and start fighting for a return to moral sanity in our nation."

You're on. So let's begin the "return to moral sanity" with an end to the policy of the U.S. starting wars — such as with Grenada, Panama, Serbia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Or did all those wars become moral simply because our Presidents wanted them? Is anyone who disagrees full of "treasonous derision"?

"Maybe 'idiots' was the wrong word, but I really can't think of a better one."

Try "people who don't bow down to government." And try spending a little time trying to define what is supposed to make America different from all the empire-building nations of old.


Harry Browne was the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, and is now the Director of Public Policy for the American Liberty Foundation. You can read more of his articles at