On Wednesday, Editor & Publisher called attention to a disturbing statement from the "national commander" of the American Legion. -- Thomas Cadmus (photo here) criticized antiwar protestors, urging those opposed to the war to confine themselves to "correspondence to their elected officials" lest their "public media events" be "picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies." -- "Public protests . . . only provide aid and comfort to our enemies." -- The American Legion, an organization of veterans who have served in wartime, claims almost three million members. -- It was founded in 1919, and is an archetypal expression of American anti-radicalism. -- Its understanding of American patriotism has been noxious from the start. -- In the 1933, a number of its leaders, including the plot's original financier, conspired to overthrow the Franklin Roosevelt in a fascist coup d'état, the commander-in-chief of the American Legion having endorsed Mussolini and fascism in 1923. -- Mussolini was invited repeatedly to address the organization. -- Despite its regular invocation of "freedom" the Legion generally practices an illiberal politics of ressentiment; it has promoted such causes as a Flag Burning Amendment and banning gays from the Boy Scouts....
AMERICAN LEGION DECLARES WAR ON PROTESTORS -- MEDIA NEXT?
By E&P Staff
Editor & Publisher
August 24, 2005
NEW YORK -- The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group's national commander called for an end to all public protests and media events against the war.
"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group's national convention in Honolulu.
The delegates voted to use whatever means necessary to "ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism."
In his speech, Cadmus declared: "It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction.
He explained, "No one respects the right to protest more than one who has fought for it, but we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events guaranteed to be picked up and used as tools of encouragement by our enemies." This might suggest to some, however, that American freedoms are worth dying for but not exercising.
Without mentioning any current protestor, such as Cindy Sheehan, by name, Cadmus recalled: "For many of us, the visions of Jane Fonda glibly spouting anti-American messages with the North Vietnamese and protestors denouncing our own forces four decades ago is forever etched in our memories. We must never let that happen again. . . .
"We had hoped that the lessons learned from the Vietnam War would be clear to our fellow citizens. Public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm's way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies."
Resolution 3, which was passed unanimously by 4,000 delegates to the annual event, states: "The American Legion fully supports the president of the United States, the United States Congress and the men, women and leadership of our armed forces as they are engaged in the global war on terrorism and the troops who are engaged in protecting our values and way of life."
Cadmus advised: "Let's not repeat the mistakes of our past. I urge all Americans to rally around our armed forces and remember our fellow Americans who were viciously murdered on Sept. 11, 2001."