As an honorably discharged Korean veteran who enlisted in the Marine Corps on my 18th birthday, I consider Jeff Webster's attempt to make himself out to be a victim repugnant. Mr. Webster states, "I have the right to go to work ... after watching the news all day and hearing about Marines who were killed and then having to work all night wondering if one of them is one of the children I know or even possibly my own son" (perhaps he meant "not to have to") ... "I have the right not to have to see an adult male war protester ..." (etc., etc.).
If he believes that any of his legal rights have been violated, he should file a complaint with the Soldotna Police Department. He refers to "sign-waving, flag-burning, name-calling, soldier spitting ... " I'm not aware of any of the demonstrators he has repeatedly thrown buckets of water on burning any flags, calling anyone names (other than a person's given name, of course), or spitting on soldiers. If he knows of such an incident, he should specifically describe it. I have heard of Americans spitting on returning Vietnam veterans, which is as bad as or worse than Mr. Webster's actions, although it doesn't excuse them (and it would have happened quite a few years ago, and not in any event excuse his recent actions).
I was not one of the demonstrators, although I do agree with their cause. I support our troops; I feel a bond with them that Mr. Webster can't (unless he has himself served in the armed forces, of which I have seen no mention on any of the news stories on this matter).
The saying, "Once a Marine, always a Marine" is more than a slogan. But that doesn't mean I have to agree with the actions of the president in sending them to an undeclared war in Iraq, or that I do. I believe that it was wrong, immoral, and I believe as time goes by will be proven to be counterproductive.
If he reads this, I hope Mr. Webster will consider what I have said in the spirit I have offered it, and that he consider getting mental health counseling, if he should again feel the urge to act out his hostile impulses.
In closing, I want to offer my kudos to Marcus Garner for his well thought out and well written opinion piece on the matter in the April 20 Clarion.
I hope you will nominate it for an award under whatever category it would fall, in the annual Alaska Press Club awards.
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