Bill Bennett and AVOT: Intergenerational Thieves

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By now, most
of us on the Old Right are painfully aware of the project spearheaded
by Bill Bennett, the organization called Americans for Victory over
Terrorism (AVOT).
According to Jim Lobe's AlterNet piece, "War
on Dissent Widens
," one of the goals
of AVOT is to propagandize college campuses in order to prevent
a public backlash against the War on Terror similar to the one that
doomed the Vietnam War. Bennett's choice of the Vietnam War as his
point of departure reveals much about his statist commitments, and
exposes him as an intellectual accessory to the crime that the War
on Terror constitutes against America's youth.

Bill Bennett's
statist roots stretch back to the 1960s, when he spent his time
for Martin Luther King, Jr. to encourage the government to abrogate
the freedom of association. My parents spent those years going to
school, working for a living, and then supporting Governor George
Wallace's presidential campaigns. They hoped to defend the America
they grew up in, and countervail both Bennett's efforts as well
as those of the counter-cultural Left.

Bennett, as
a statist cheerleader of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, harmed
my generation before it was born. As a fervent war propagandist,
Bennett again threatens to harm my "Twentysomething" generation,
some forty years later. Bennett's warmongering activities constitute
a theft of terrible and enraging magnitude, for it violates the
pact between the dead, the living, and the yet unborn that was spoken
of by Edmund Burke. It is sad and ironic that someone young like
me has to remind Bennett about the implications of true conservatism.

The short familial
political history I provide above is meant to set the proper context
in evaluating Bennett's Vietnam comparisons, which are straw men.
Bennett is wrong to portray the anti-war position as Leftist or
otherwise unpatriotic. The true opposition to the War on Terror
does not come from the minuscule yet loudmouthed counter-cultural
Left, which can always be expected to shill for the latest cause-of-the-month
at a moment's notice. The true opposition arises from those on the
unreconstructed Right that Bennett and his neocon allies have forsaken,
those who still love the more permanent things, the "little
platoons" that make life worth living.

AVOT proselytizes
for a War on Terror that runs the risk of becoming perpetual and
much more destructive. It is following a course that will needlessly
sacrifice America's flower, Midwestern farm boys, across the world,
from far-flung Philippine jungles to the burning sands of the Middle
East. My parents saw their friends return home in body bags from
Vietnam. I do not want to see my friends (who are part of the "little
platoons" that make life worth living) meet that same fate
in the War on Terror, which is merely another war that is neither
necessary nor justified.

Bennett's "Remember
9/11" crowd fails to grasp that 9/11 stems from an immigration
problem, not a military problem. The events of 9/11 are ultimately
traceable to the resentment caused by America's interventionist
foreign policy abroad. The very fact that 9/11 occurred is a striking
testament to the congenital incompetence and malignancy of government.
Government is forever cursed with the Midas touch in reverse. As
my parents saw from its behavior in Vietnam, government always brings
pain and betrayal. It never delivers on its promise of a quality
product or outcome. It never restrains itself within limited,
rational objectives
. The War on Terror is
a classic example of these inherent failures of the State. We still
have not captured Osama bin Laden or Mohammed Omar, and the war
has expanded across the world with no end in sight.

The War on
Terror reveals a slight difference between liberals and neocons
in their orientation toward government: liberals want to spend other
people's money on projects intended to benefit special interests,
while neocons prefer to sacrifice other people's lives in service
of their pet crusades. Life and private property are inextricable,
so the varying tactics of the liberals and the neocons are equally
dangerous and immoral.

Another slight
difference between the liberals and the neocons lies in their choice
of which special interest they favor. Lobe's article traces a major
source of AVOT's funding to Lawrence Kadish, showing that the special
interest that the neocons slavishly promote is the State of Israel.
Israel is to the United States what Cuba was to the former Soviet
Union: an entity that remains solvent only through massive transfer
payments from the host nation. The liberals, in contrast to the
neocons, have always tended to be fans of the Soviet Union privately,
and of Cuba more openly. This analogy becomes stretched, however,
when one considers what the United States gets in return from Israel.
At least the Cubans sent the Soviets oranges and sugar cane. All
the United States receives from its relationship with Israel are
Mossad agents and Arab hatred and terror. In the likely event that
the United States one day collapses in the same manner (and from
many of the same causes) as the Soviet Union, at least some measure
of justice will come when Israel withers on the vine just as Cuba
has in the absence of Soviet backing.

While we await
that ultimate collapse to arrive, it is useful to "hasten the
day" by chipping away at the intellectual foundations of the
liberals and neocons. The Old Right must counteract the efforts
of AVOT by proclaiming the truth that there has never been a worthy
war in the twenty-first or twentieth centuries. All wars during
that span were unwise and unnecessary, including the two wars most
sacralized by the Establishment: the Second World War and the Cold
War. The War on Terror – the Cold War substitute implicitly
touted by men like Bennett as the "Vietnam done right"
– must be exposed as just another act of state-sponsored intergenerational
fraud and theft.

22, 2002

Fallavollita [send him mail]
holds an M.A. in political science from Purdue University. He
has written for, EtherZone, Enter
Stage Right, OpinioNet, Spintech, and The American
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