Ralph Nader Conducting His Own War
(CNSNews.com) - Once again, Ralph Nader is bucking a trend. The former Green Party presidential candidate and consumer activist is firing away at the Bush administration for its invasion of Afghanistan, warning that we "can't bomb our way to justice," and accusing the administration of siding with dictators instead of workers.
But, a prominent defense analyst in Washington says Nader resents the fact that so many Americans "feel a patriotism that [Nader] does not."
Nader has been on the offensive since October, giving a series of speeches across the nation dubbed "Democracy Rising."
At a peace rally in San Francisco, he asked rhetorically: "When are we going to learn from history? When are we going to learn that we can't bomb our way to justice?
"[We need] to side with the millions and millions of workers and peasants for a change, instead of dictators," Nader said.
During his speech to a cheering crowd of 1,500 at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, Nader labeled members of the media and government hypocrites for supporting the government's military offensive.
"In our press and government, there is a heavy preponderance of hawks who have never worn a uniform. Maybe [FOX News anchorman] Brit Hume and [Asst. Defense Secretary Paul] Wolfowitz and [Vice President Dick] Cheney ought to go over there."
He has called on the public to reject the "thought police."
"We should never allow Washington to say, 'Shut up, get in line and wave the flag,'" Nader said.
He also told the Boston Globe last month the U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan was a "riverboat gamble" and said President George Bush is "basically in the process of burning down the haystack to find the needle."
Nader warned of a possible backlash against the U.S. after the Afghanistan campaign was completed.
"Every time we get involved - Somalia, Grenada, Panama - we back out like the Wild West tavern guys backing out with their six-guns flaming," Nader said.
He added, "History has shown that once the pressure is off, Congress is less likely to appropriate money for reconstruction."
Tian Harter, a college student who attended Nader's speech in San Francisco, praised his message.
"[Nader] said so many things I needed to hear, about the way children in Iraq are being killed and about what we're doing in Afghanistan," Harter told Salon.com. "I'm so glad he said what he did. We needed to hear it, hear that our foreign policy is way too brutal."
Frank Gaffney, a leading national security analyst and president of the Center For Security Policy, called Nader's attacks on U.S. military policy "ignorant."
"There is obviously a resentment on the part of the hard left like Nader, that the American people feel a patriotism that he evidently does not," Gaffney said.
Gaffney mocked Nader's view that the U.S. is siding with "dictators" against the will of the Afghan people.
"I think that is not the view that is shared by the millions of peasants in Afghanistan at the moment. [Nader's views] seem both ignorant of history and unfamiliar even with current events," Gaffney said.
Views like Nader's are "born of the counter-culture hostility to the instruments of American power, the military, the intelligence community and our nuclear forces," Gaffney said.
He also rejected Nader's contention that the American people are supporting the military actions in Afghanistan because of the "thought police."
"I think that is not because of thought police, but because people are actually thinking about national security and what makes sense in a way that they haven't in a long time," Gaffney explained.
Nader refused repeated requests for comment.