Anti-war protesters should expect others to disagree

Posted: Monday, April 14, 2003

Re: Water for our troops and Jeff Webster

I have been a resident of the Soldotna area for 28-plus years and raised three children and two stepchildren here.

My fiance and I have known Mr. Webster and his wife, Shella, for more than four years and know them to be good people, loyal friends, loyal Alaskans and loyal Americans. My children, who are all over the age of 16, admire and appreciate Mr. Webster's fortitude and courage in standing up for our troops and our country. That makes me very proud because it means I did something right in raising them to be loyal Americans.

Even though I do believe that, due to the efforts of people just like Mr. Webster's son, Shane, the picketers that Mr. Webster has been "watering down" have the right to express their opinion, I also firmly believe that Mr. Webster has the same right to express his opinion right back! He's not really hurting them, and if a real Alaskan can't take getting a little wet, then maybe they are not real Alaskans.

I, myself, have picketed in the past for causes which I believe in. I went out there on that picket line knowing that others disagreed with my opinion and I was in touch with reality enough to realize that I was putting myself at risk of retaliatory acts by being there. I had a lot worse things thrown at me than water, but I accepted it as the other person's right to express their opinion also.

However, due to the fact that it is precisely because of young men and women like Shane that gave those people the right to protest, I believe that it is a betrayal of the greatest proportion for them to be exercising that right while our troops are fighting and dying to preserve that right.

My oldest brother was drafted and served in Vietnam and, although I was very young, I saw the effect the anti-war protesters had on him. It wasn't pretty and he still suffers to this day because of the lack of support and outright hatred that was directed at him for doing his job and fighting for freedom at the tender age of 18 years old. My parents never really got their son back, and I never really ever got my big brother back. I lay a lot of the burden for that on the anti-war protesters.

Mr. Webster is also making a very valid point that a lot of people seem to be overlooking. Look how easy it was for him to toss that water on the picketers. The picketers don't seem to understand that a true terrorist could have easily done the same thing with something much more dangerous than water and that is precisely what our troops are fighting to prevent.

I believe they really need to give this serious thought, especially considering that an al-Qaida affiliated group has already hacked into one of our local Web sites in Homer and encouraged terrorism and death to the infidels (Americans). I believe the picketers may think that because we are in Alaska and "isolated" that we are safe from terrorist acts. I do not believe that to be true. After all, Saddam is deeply involved in one of the largest oil producing regions in the world, and oil is a large concern to him and other terrorists from that region. And, what do we have dividing our state in half? Only one of the largest oil pipelines in the world.

No, people, we Alaskans are not safe from terrorists because of our "isolation," not by a long shot!

So to Mr. Webster and his family, my family and I say: Bravo!

And to the protesters, my family and I say: If you're going to put yourselves out there, be smart enough to expect a different opinion. Also, think very, very hard about the fact that, if Alaska is attacked by terrorists, you are going to be the first ones begging those brave young men and women to protect you! Lastly, think about the message you are sending to our young men and women who are fighting for freedom and doing their jobs. You could be scarring them emotionally for life, just as my brother was scarred by your predecessors.

Helen H. Hunt, Soldotna

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