No Reason for Treason

David Horowitz gave a remarkable speech at Georgetown University on October 14, 2004 that was later broadcast on C-Span. I’ve included some pieces from that speech but I would highly recommend that you go read the whole thing here:

…In the second place, the fact is that nobody in America takes treason very seriously anymore — and hasn’t for a long time. In 50 years, no one has been charged with treason in the United States, not since Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally were tried for broadcasting enemy propaganda to American troops during WWII. Not the Rosenbergs, who stole atomic secrets for the Soviet Union; not Jane Fonda, who in the precise manner of the aforementioned traitors went on enemy radio in the midst of a war and called on our soldiers to defect, denouncing them as war criminals at the same time. Fonda also collaborated with the Communist torturers of American POWs. Nor were spies like Aldrich Ames, or defectors like John Walker Lindh – who fought with the Taliban against his own country — ever charged with treason. So let’s not pretend there is any real threat in the word “treason” that would serve to chill the criticism of current foreign policy. If there were, Michael Moore would be in jail instead of being on the short list for an Academy Award. When leftists complain that their patriotism is being questioned to stifle their criticism, the claim is little more than a red herring designed to stop others from thinking about issues that affect our national security, implicit in the positions they are supporting…

Treason is really not that difficult to define. Treason is when your country is at war and you want the other side to win.


Are there such people in America? Michael Moore comes to mind. Moore is on record saying that the terrorists in Iraq who are beheading our citizens and are killing our soldiers are “not terrorists.” According to Moore, they are “patriots” and — in his words — “they will win.” Michael Moore is rooting for the enemy. That’s just a fact. But what are the consequences? Treason has made Michael Moore rich. Moore has rooted for the enemy all his life – in the Cold War, and now in the War on Terror, without adverse effect on his career and fortune. In fact the opposite could be said to be true.

At this point, it might be appropriate to ask how the Democratic Party got to the place where it is a party of appeasement in the approach to war and a saboteur of the war when it is underway. How did the Democratic Party get to the point where its leaders would break a fifty-year tradition of bi-partisanship in foreign policy, and over matters of war and peace? How did it come so powerfully under the influence of an historically anti-American left as to allow its presidential politics to be dominated by that left?

The short answer to these questions is that the leftward slide of the Democratic Party began with the McGovern campaign, when the anti-Vietnam left marched into its ranks and assumed positions of power in its congressional party. Obviously, the circumstances of the Iraq war and the movement to oppose it have a lot to do with the Howard Dean campaign, in particular, which was funded this left and driven by its passions, and whose success in the primaries turned John Kerry and John Edwards against the war. It also has a lot to do with the fateful decision of Jimmy Carter and Al Gore to make the war a partisan issue and break a half-century’s tradition. But even before this moment it has to do with the McGovern campaign of 30 years ago, which was the original “anti-war” political campaign, demanding that America abandon its ally in Vietnam and leave the field of battle. Virtually all leaders of the anti-Iraq movement, including most of the leaders of the Democratic Party who supported that movement, were veterans of or affected by the anti-Vietnam campaign.

The left has never learned the lessons of Vietnam, a fact underscored by the way in which Howard Dean and Ted Kennedy and leaders of the movement against the war in Iraq invoked the history of Vietnam as though it showed that they were right and their opponents were wrong. As you probably know, I began my life on the political left and was one of the founders of the movement against the Vietnam War. My parents were, in fact, card-carrying Communists, and my first political march was against an even earlier war. I was nine years old in 1948 and marched down 7th Avenue with my parents and their political comrades in New York chanting, “One, two, three, four, we don’t want another war.” “We” called ourselves “progressives” and supported the Progressive Party candidacy of Henry Wallace, who had once been Franklin Roosevelt’s Vice President but was now a captive of the Communist left. The war we marched against was Harry Truman’s “Cold War” to prevent Joseph Stalin from conquering more of Europe than he had already acquired. The peace movement of that time wanted Stalin to “liberate” Eastern Europe, which he had in fact enslaved. This campaign was the seed of the anti-war movements of Vietnam and Iraq, and also of the political left’s influence in the Democratic Party. George McGovern began his political career in the Progressive Party’s 1948 campaign against the Cold War. The Democratic Party of Harry Truman was committed to the Cold War. But as far as the peace movements are concerned, not much has really changed in 50 years.

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