Glenn Greenwald has got a great post about the wrongness of those who say speaking out against administrations or wars during a time of war is treason.
I've heard that argument for many years, from my mom who was driven to distraction by Vietnam protesters. As recently as the run-up to GWII, I had talked to her of wanting to go to downtown Jacksonville, FL (where I lived at the time) to join protesters. I didn't because I had a toddler, and you just don't take toddlers to demonstrations. But we had some heated arguments about it, and I think we didn't speak for a couple of months after this particular one.
I understand the sentiment that's behind the urge to not speak up in protest during wartime. But the mere idea of doing anything more than just tsk-tsking those who speak out has always felt like a basic betrayal of what it means to be American. Particularly when people like Frank Gaffney (see the Greenwald post) suggest it should be a hanging offense:
If there's one thing that really should be a hanging offense, it is behavior that results in our being even less equipped to deal with such threats than we were before this phase of the War for the Free World began on September 11, 2001.As Greenwald says,
The idea that war opponents were committing treason by virtue of marching against the invasion of Iraq -- or that Senators who currently criticize the war should be treated as traitors -- is as repugnant to our political values and as radical and dangerous as anything which, say, the widely discredited Joe McCarthy ever urged.Plus, it's simply stupid.
Because if one were to look at the reality behind whose behavior is making us less safe, it would be the Bush Administration, their Democratic and Republican enablers, and all their neocon friends, including Gaffney himself.
The President isn't a king or a dictator, as much as he thinks he is. It is not only the job of the Congress to oversee how the President conducts a war, it is our job as the President's and Congresspeople's employers to make sure they are doing their jobs properly. One method is voting, another is poll-taking, and yet another is gathering en masse to show our numbers and commitment when we're between elections and a pollster hasn't called. Being deposed for egregious wrongdoing by large numbers of very dissatisfied Americans should always be a possible consequence.
To suggest otherwise is to do something to the American people which RWNJs apparently hate; it infantilizes American citizens. Gaffney would pat us on the head and say, "The grown ups are in charge, you just sit there and be quiet and let them take care of everything," even when it is obvious that those grown ups are being criminally irresponsible and corrupt.
Oh, except when it's a Democrat in charge.