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March 06, 2003

A READER SENDS THIS LINK and opines that Marcy Kaptur hasn't learned from Patty Murray:

When America "cast off monarchical Britain" in 1776, it involved the help of many religious people who had fled repression in other countries, the 11-term Toledo congressman said. Among the nontraditional American revolutionaries were the Green Mountain Boys, a patriot militia organized in 1770 in Bennington, Vt., to confront British forces, she said.

"One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped to cast off the British crown," Miss Kaptur said.

Yes, I remember Ethan Allen and Johnny Stark blowing up buildings full of civilians as their key tactic. Jeez, how pathetic. But then, we heard Mao and Ho Chi Minh compared to America's founders once, too.

But there were two rather crucial differences, then and now: their tactics, and their goals. The tactical difference is obvious. But you're not a freedom fighter unless you're actually fighting for freedom, a distinction that appears to elude many on the left. Bin Laden, like Mao and Ho, wanted to create a variety of strongman theocracy with himself at the head. That was hardly the goal of America's founders. Those who can't tell the difference don't belong in politics. Neither do those who can tell the difference, but who choose to ignore it.

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer offers a rather more extensive historical critique of Kaptur's statement. It's worth reading.

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