The following thought-provoking letter-to-the-editor denouncing war protesters recently appeared in our local paper. (My response, as well as the fantastic response of my friend and neighbor, Nancy Arnold, are printed below that letter.)
LOCAL PROTESTERS DESERVE RIDDANCE, by John P. Snyder
On behalf of the followers of al-Qaida and militant Islamic jihadists everywhere, I would like to extend our admiration and gratitude to those extraordinary citizens who turned out downtown to show support for our efforts and to register disgust with their country’s war on terror.
We share a strong common bond. We each despise George Bush, the American military and Western-style democracies. It is imperative that American resolve to fight our cause be diminished. Your assistance in that regard is greatly appreciated.
It is, after all, the highest form of patriotism to give aid and comfort to your country’s enemies—especially when our sons and daughters are sacrificing their lives for your freedom.
(My letter-to-the-editor, written in response to the above letter, is as follows:)
SOLDIERS: PARTNERS FOR PEACE, by Nancy Pace
Re Local protesters deserve riddance, May 8th: Some patriots fight, suffer, and die in the cause of peace, while other patriots work to limit the damage incurred by the catastrophically cruel, stupid, wasteful policies of tragically misguided “expert” leaders. Soldiers and peace protesters are not opponents, but courageous, conscientious, selfless partners working together to further the same universal goal of peace. No pacifist ever desired peace more than a soldier enduring war.
Citizens throw away the freedom our sons and daughters sacrifice their lives for, when they sit back and trust elections alone to insure good leadership. Unfortunately, as the democratically-elected Hitler demonstrated, it doesn’t always work out that way. Eternal (def.: unending, ceaseless, unstopping, uninterrupted) vigilance (def.: alertness, wakefulness, watchfulness, awareness) is the price of liberty (def.: immunity from arbitrary exercise of authority; political independence.)
Wise leaders of western democracies everywhere listen attentively to their loyal oppositions, and continually change in response. We cannot avoid all injustices, but we can avoid adding to their sum, by seeking more effective ways to address terrorism, militant Islam, and al-Qaida. The real enemies of peace, the enemies we should never aid or comfort, are fear, and violence itself.
PROTEST OF IRAQ WAR IS PATRIOTIC EXERCISE, by Nancy Arnold
The writer of “Local protesters deserve riddance” appears to suffer from the same malady that plagues the Bush administration. This disease begins as a tiny seed of greed. It reproduces and grows by creating an image of fear and by fueling the need for revenge. Symptoms of this disease include the need to point out all of the un-American Americans who do not succumb to the furor and frenzy of the disease.
This tragic disease, where individuals almost instantaneously lose their ability to think rationally about the facts, numbs minds and sharpens paranoia and aggression. Those who succumb to the disease shout buzz words of fear–“traitor!” and “terrorist!”–and show great loyalty to homegrown war criminals.
Yes, the lives of our sons and daughters are being sacrificed because the Bush administration manipulated data and dragged us into a war planned before 9/11. Bush and company simply reshaped 9/11, fanned the sparks of fear and spread the disease. The disease now rages and destroys life around the globe. It has consumed our national integrity and made a mockery of America's good will.
The writer sarcastically states that, “It is, after all, the highest form of patriotism to give aid and comfort to your country's enemies.” There is tragic and costly irony in that logic: We ARE giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and we let him live in the White HOuse and let him sacrifice lives every day.
Americans have the right to protest. When our nation occupies another country and murders the innocent, the patriotic thing to do is protest. To shut down the voices of reason, to shut down an American's right to protest and raise concern would accomplish more than any terrorist could have ever hoped to accomplish on 9/11.
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