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August 20, 2005

My Letter to the Editor

I live in a mid-sized town in Connecticut, population of about 25,000 people. Not big, but not tiny either. We have a weekly paper. You know the kind--most people only get it to see if their kids made the school news page and who's getting married. I read it mainly because my stepfather got me a subscription for Christmas.

In this week's edition, I saw there had been a peace protest in support of Cindy Sheehan in front of our Town Hall. While I have nothing against the idea of political dissent, I do wish people would think a bit more about what they are protesting. Therefore, I decided to submit a letter to the editor. I haven't sent it yet...I thought I'd present it to you for your thoughts before doing so. After all, you don't know me personally, but many of those who get our weekly paper do. Here it is. Comment freely in the comment section!

To the Editor:

Having read the article about the anti-war protest in front of the Town Hall this past week, I felt I had to write. With all due respect to Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son and has a right to her grief, why does it make her an authority over anyone else regarding this war? Why is she suddenly an expert on foreign policy? Does she have a greater claim than the parents of other soldiers who have also died in Iraq? And why is it that those who are protesting the war cannot see that it is this sort of thing that demoralizes our troops more than anything else?

The time for protests was before military action took place. Now that we are in the thick of it, giving our soldiers and their commanders our support is important if we are to get this over as quickly as possible. As history has proven, we were winning militarily in Vietnam. If it hadn't been for the protesting at home, the Vietcong most likely would have surrendered. However, they admit that they hung in there because of the massive unrest back in the U.S. Have we not learned our lesson?

The "Bush lied, kids died" mantra simply doesn't cut it. It's convenient to forget how prominent Senate Democrats such as Carl Levin and Ted Kennedy made references to Saddam Hussein's possession of WMDs before our invasion. The fact that we haven't found any (other than deadly neurological gases, etc.) since the invasion doesn't mean they didn't exist. We gave him so many warnings and pleaded with the useless U.N. for so long that Hussein likely had ample time to get rid of what he had. Don't forget, he also kept U.N. inspectors out for ages. That certainly doesn't give him the impression of innocence. And while we now know certain intelligence was faulty (intelligence gatherers are, after all, only human), we also know that President Clinton knew of the dangers Osama bin Laden posed in 1996. Does that mean he is responsible for 9/11? Of course not, in the literal sense. But his unfortunate failure to take action spelled disaster for us five years later.

Bush took action because Hussein turned a blind eye to the needs of his people and to the terrorists who sought haven in Iraq. Terrorist training camps were found there, and Hussein was also known to give money to the families of Palestinians who blew themselves up in Israel. He tortured and murdered those who dared to oppose his policies. Why is he suddenly being elevated to the status of victim to Bush's bad guy?

For Cindy Sheehan to state that America is not a country worth dying for is outrageous. Her son enlisted in the Army not once, but twice. He obviously felt differently, and was willing to sacrifice himself for the country he loved. The soldiers in our armed forces are there by choice. For anyone to say they didn't expect to go into combat when they enlisted is ludicrous. You don't become a chef if you don't expect to be in a hot kitchen. Those who sign on to become soldiers know the risks. They accept them. Who are we to claim otherwise? I only wish I had that much integrity and courage when I was younger.

In a perfect world, there would be constant peace. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. Sometimes war is the answer because as long as people like Saddam Hussein exist, there must also be people who are willing to try to thwart him. People like us. I'm sorry there are those who believe what the Islamic fascists believe, that America is the "Great Satan." It's sad that some of our own citizens believe it. I always wonder if it's so bad here, what makes them stay?

I expect that my letter will spark some harsh criticism in the next edition of this paper. I am not against dissent or for censorship. What would our political process be without it? I am only asking those who "protest for peace" give another thought to what they are protesting. America is not evil, and neither is President Bush (nor was President Clinton). Saddam Hussein and those like him are. We need to keep a proper perspective.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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