War not fault of protesters or soldiers

Posted: Thursday, December 08, 2005

A letter in the Nov. 18 Clarion criticizes the display of 2,000 small yellow (not green) flags at the Soldotna Park Strip on the Sunday following the 2,000th American servicemen (and women) killed in action in Iraq. The writer calls it “anti-war/anti-American pacifist protest.” She states she cannot understand the slogan, “Support the troops, not the war.”

As one who participated in the vigil that day, I’d like to say that while I understand her point of view, I don’t agree with it. To say that whether the war we are engaged in in Iraq is justified, we should continue it indefinitely, despite the fact that it is obviously counter-productive, does not make sense to me.

The war we are engaged in there has absolutely nothing to do with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on our country. President Bush sold the invasion of Iraq on the premise that that country had weapons of mass destruction or were in imminent danger of acquiring them, and/or that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, both of whom have been conclusively proven to be untrue. (I’ll use the term “untrue” rather than “lies,” but they mean the same thing.)

All of the American service personnel who have died in Iraq deserve our respect and honor, but the facts remain the same.

Recently, Bush criticized members of Congress who voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq in late 2002 but now believe we should begin to withdraw our troops there. Vice President Cheney has criticized a congressman who received a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts serving in Vietnam as “having lost his backbone.”

This, from a man who sat out the Vietnam War as a member of the “Champagne Squadron,” composed of professional athletes, sons and nephews of prominent politicians, etc., and is reported to have failed to report for duty for nearly a year; and a man who managed to avoid service there at all, and has stated “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service.”

The writer of the letter I referenced above gives her bona fides as being an Army wife of 25 years, with a husband who is retired (presumably from the U.S. Army) and having children who will soon be on active duty in the Army and Air Force. My own are that I’m an honorably discharged Korean War Veteran who enlisted in the Marine Corps on my 18th birthday. One of the others who participated in the peace vigil is a Korean Veteran, and at least two others are Vietnam veterans.

I hope neither of the writer’s children will be killed or wounded in Iraq, nor any other American service personnel. But nearly every day when we pick up the paper or turn on the news, we read about more Americans killed or wounded. We should place the blame where it is deserved — the White House — and not on Americans who peacefully demonstrate to call attention to the lives that have been needlessly lost as a result of the president’s unjustified and ill-advised invasion of Iraq.

Jerry Brookman


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