Giving heroism its due

Since 9/11, America’s just use of force to ensure national security has come under attack from ostensible allies such as France and Germany and been criticized by spinelessly liberal elements domestically. For a while, it has been difficult to distinguish legitimate concerns about evidence with genuinely hostile beliefs about the exercise of American power and the legitimacy of Israel’s statehood. We have watched the faux-activists create a supposed “anti-war” buzz around Williams College, and have stepped around signs blaming the United States and the United Kingdom for Saddam Hussein’s refusal to provide food and medicine for his people. On Poets Against the War.org (www.poetsagainstthewar.org/displaypoem.asp?AuthorID=2096), Williams English Professor Cassandra Cleghorn, musing thoughtfully, writes “Talking to my mother about the space shuttle makes me want the astronauts/ deaths/ to have been painful, sustained,” and “My mother fears war, listens/ with horror to the President’s sneer.”

I would argue that such bloodthirsty lyrics deployed against “Republican Guard” or even “al-Qaida members” would result in liberal hand-wringing about the coarse “cowboy” nature of American society. I would like to be the first to say, publicly, that I believe Ms. Cleghorn’s “poetry,” if indeed that is what it must be called, is unacceptable. I am not proud to be part of a community that revels in the downfall of America. I am ashamed of Ms. Cleghorn’s remarks, which are in offensively poor taste, since I feel that they embody a virulently un-American, vituperatively hostile and terribly self-nullifying desire for a new Munich, for perpetual appeasement—a wish to let history pass us by, a hope that all responsibilities can be shirked, and a feeling that just force and the fruits of Western technical achievement are something that must be apologized for. I don’t feel that way, and I hope that America quickly eliminates the great threat that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction pose, finishing the job that Colonel Ramon, who perished on Columbia, started in 1981. We must not be ashamed to be Americans but we must stand proud. I would hope that my fellow Williams students would feel that way too.