When I first came to these shores, almost 20 years ago, an escapee from communism’s lethal embrace, a sort of antiwar was raging here. I felt be­trayed. As anyone who lived under the most intricate tyranny of mind and body, I believed it every free man’s sacrosanct duty to combat commu­nism’s reptile stranglehold on truth and humanness with every means pos­sible. Anyone I knew in Eastern Eu­rope who did not serve communism felt the same way: to us the Vietnam War was a just and noble war, a valiant attempt to slay the foulest dragon in history. Yet, the magnitude and depth of the American antiwar protest had impressed me. “Perhaps they know something I don’t?”  I  asked myself. “Perhaps I’m emotionally disturbed and they’re sane?”

Eighteen years of recriminations, the heinous treatment of the Vietnam War veterans, Afghanistan’s and Po­ land’s martyrdoms, and the public’s reaction to the Vietnam War Memori­al in Washington later, I must confess that my past surmise of the protesters’ correctness makes me now feel ashamed of that instant of debilitated judgment. Clearer than ever, it seems to me, the war looms in our common awareness as right, noble, morally jus­tified, and geopolitically necessary. For all the exertions of countless Cron­kites arguing to the contrary, that war was not lost on the battlefield but at home, where a powerfully vocal mi­nority had decided to terminate it in the name of allegedly moral reasons. Allegedly, for this minority was for a long time involved in a ruthless fight for self-advancement by claiming a sway over the nation’s soul and con­science. This minority had established an ideological control of the opinion­ making mechanism that then verged on a monopoly, and looked forward to a political hegemony in the future. At the peak of the war, this minority forged a coalition of radical activists, fellow travelers, liberal intellectuals, hyperactive clergymen, and overtly procommunist agitators, and produced some of the most manic public events in the history of Western statehood.

raison d’etat, with its global in­terests, with its dearest intentions of what to do with the rest of the world. Somehow it did not bother their con­science that their endeavors contribut­ed to the killing of sons of their own people–the spokesmen of which they probably considered themselves in all sincerity–and that thereby they were committing a high treason with com­plete impunity, a fact that should have told them something about their own country whose institutions they kept condemning so bombastically and mendaciously.

During all that time, President Johnson maintained that there was no evidence of Soviet meddling in the American antiwar movement. He was perfectly correct. The Soviets would have been foolish to interfere and tam­per with a satisfactorily performing mechanism of sedition and subversion that flawlessly worked to their advan­tage. What could do a better job for them than an overwhelming chunk of the American intellectual elite, clergy, and plutocracy that was willing to act on behalf of their most immediate geopolitical goals, eagerly representing the Soviet Union’s label in America?

Surely enough, the moral conse­quence of sabotaging and aborting our efforts for the sake of international decency, was the Southeast Asian slaughterhouse after the communist takeover. Soon thereafter, we deliv­ered a good part of Africa to the same fate, then came Afghanistan. Now we have the Soviet encroachment in Central America on our hands. But the heaviest defeat we have suffered was at home: the whole notion of service to the country, the heritage of 200 years of crafting the sense of relationship between·Americans, their historic mis­sion, and their freely elected govern­ment, has been blown to shreds. This was perhaps the greatest victory of the alliance between Politbureau, Hanoi, and these American visitors who turned into their comrades-in-arms. And now, it seems to me, my first impulse of loathing the protest march­ers in the streets, and the sophisticated essayists in the fine literary journals, back in 1966, was right after all.  cc

As someone who ardently wishes a better world for my family, my neigh­bors, my compatriots, all people of goodwill, and myself–I suspect that my desire for betterment is a plaything for philosophies and ideologies that propose how human affairs should be arranged. In the end, making up my mind about these matters brings me somewhere between the liberal faith in man and the conservative faith in something more than man’s well­ being as the ultimate measure of prog­ress. Unfortunately, the position in the middle can be a source of considerable distress.       cc