From the December 6, 2008 New York Times letters section
December 10, 2008
by Ronald Radosh
In “The Real Bill Ayers”(Op-Ed, Dec. 6), William Ayers tries to paint himself and his former comrades in the Weather Underground as just part of a broader coalition that did nothing more than carry out “symbolic acts” that were not terrorism, but simply a “screaming response” to the failure of peaceful protests to end an unpopular war.
The Weather Underground was actually planning a major bomb attack at Fort Dix, N.J. The explosive that killed the members at the March 1970 town house explosion in Greenwich Village was meant to be used at a noncommissioned officers’ dance for new recruits and their dates at Fort Dix. The bomb was a homemade antipersonnel device filled with nails, meant to cause as much harm to human beings as possible.
If it had gone off where planned, it would have killed hundreds of innocent victims, and possibly more. It was hardly an effort that, as Mr. Ayers once wrote, “aimed only to educate.”
Of course their actions proved inadequate to end the war earlier. All they did was provide much ammunition to supporters of the war, by undermining the antiwar movement’s motives and goals, thus allowing supporters to paint it as not patriotic and supporters of Communist revolution. In the case of Mr. Ayers and the Weatherman group, this charge was accurate.
Martinsburg, W.Va., Dec. 6, 2008
Ronald Radosh is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute; Prof. Emeritus of History at the City University of New York, and the author of many books, including "The Rosenberg File;" "Divided They Fell: The Demise of the Democratic Party, 1964-1996," and most recently, "Commies: A Journey Through the Old Left, the New Left and the Leftover Left."
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