ON THE MORNING OF THE ATTACKS on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, along with a million other readers of the New York Times including many who would never be able to read the paper again, I opened its pages to be confronted by a color photo showing a middle-aged couple holding hands and affecting a defiant look at the camera. The article was headlined in an irony that could not have been more poignant, “No Regrets For A Love Of Explosives.” The couple pictured were Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, former leaders of the 1960s’ Weather Underground, America’s first terrorist cult. One of their bombing targets, as it happened, was the Pentagon.
“I don’t regret setting bombs,” Ayers was quoted in the opening line of the Times profile; “I feel we didn’t do enough.” In 1969, Ayers and his wife convened a “War Council” in Flint Michigan, whose purpose was to launch a military front inside the United States with the purpose of helping Third World revolutionaries conquer and destroy it. Taking charge of the podium, dressed in a high-heeled boots and a leather mini-skirt – her signature uniform – Dorhn incited the assembled radicals to join the war against “Amerikkka” and create chaos and destruction in the “belly of the beast.” Her voice rising to a fevered pitch, Dohrn raised three fingers in a “fork salute” to mass murderer Charles Manson whom she proposed as a symbol to her troops. Referring to the helpless victims of the Manson Family as the “Tate Eight” (the most famous was actress Sharon Tate) Dohrn shouted:
Dig It. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!
Embarrassed today by this memory, but unable to expunge it from the record and unwilling to repudiate her terrorist deeds, Dorhn resorts to the lie direct. “It was a joke,” she told the sympathetic Times reporter, Dinitia Smith; she was actually protesting America’s crimes. “We were mocking violence in America. Even in my most inflamed moment I never supported a racist mass murderer.” In 1980, I taped interviews with thirty members of the Weather Underground who were present at the Flint War Council, including most of its leadership. Not one of them thought Dohrn was anything but deadly serious. Outrageous nihilism was the Weatherman political style. As soon as her tribute to Manson was completed, Dohrn was followed to the Flint platform by another Weather leader who ranted, “We’re against everything that’s ‘good and decent’ in honky America. We will loot and burn and destroy. We are the incubation of your mothers’ nightmares.”
It has long been a fashion among media sophisticates to ridicule the late J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI men who sought to protect Americans from the threats posed by people like Ayers and Dohrn in their “days of rage.” But Hoover’s description of Bernardine Dohrn as “La Pasionara of the lunatic left” is far more accurate than anything that can be found in the Times profile.
Read the article which was written based on the interview discussed in the above excerpt:
If you have a favorite Horowitz quote you want to highlight for others then click here to submit. Please include:
- “Horowitz Quote of the Day” in subject line.
- A link to where the quote is from. (No need to include this if it’s from a book.)
- Any remarks you’d like published explaining what value you take from it.
- Your preferred name and a link to your blog or homepage (if you have one.)