Letters to the Editor

Protests justified

March 23, 2008


To the editor:

About protesters marking the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Ferrari said, "By law, it's their right (to protest) : There's a fine line between their rights and disrespecting the troops." What he and others with disdain for Iraq war protesters unceasingly fail to grasp is that the welfare, utilization and treatment of the troops has always been of utmost concern to those opposed to this war.

If an honest and competent president had sent well-equipped troops into a carefully planned action for legitimate reasons, opinion here and abroad would be entirely behind it. Instead, Bush and Cheney sent young men and women into harm's way, ignoring one dire prediction after another from their own military advisers.

With nearly 4,000 U.S. fatalities, 40,000 injured, and massive civilian casualties, the tragic toll on bodies, minds and extended families will last for generations. Bush says it's been "well worth the cost." Cheney calls it "a successful endeavor." By what measure? Spin and delusions don't change reality.

The protester's outrage is aimed at the architects, not the guys on the ground. The Bush administration could have focused on finding Bin Laden; made sure troops in Afghanistan (oh yeah) and Iraq had everything they needed; provided the best care and support for injured troops and their families; not stressed and weakened the military, possibly jeopardizing swift responses required at home or abroad. But they didn't. And it matters. So yes, we protest.

Christy Kennedy,


kansas778 10 years, 2 months ago

Yes, don't you dumb soldiers understand? Since you were duped into joining the service because you are poor and unenlightened (unlike Christy and I) we don't blame you personally for being a pawn in someone else's schemes. In fact, like a parent and their kids (if you were mature like us you would have known better), we only care for your safety, and we want to bring you home, because we don't think you are smart enough to know that what you signed up for was a dangerous job. We know you tried, but let's face it, you aren't good enough to win this war, so just give up and come home. But we don't mean any disrespect.

kansas778 10 years, 2 months ago

tribal, no, they don't, that's the point I was making.

tribalzendancer 10 years, 2 months ago

kansas778, you're the one being disrespectful. It's unfortunate you can't engage in intelligent discussion. Anti-war protesters do support the troops. That's the point Christy was making.

Let's broaden the discussion shall we: here are some great online documentaries on the subject:

Media & War: http://www.filmsforaction.org/films/?Subject=8

War & Peace: http://www.filmsforaction.org/films/?Subject=13

Buggie7 10 years, 2 months ago

Tribal I dont believe you wer catching Kansas 778's sarcastic break up if what Christy said. He just put it in laymens terms. Ha Ha Kansas I get what you were saying and Christy you need to find another soccer mom -past time cause this one isnt working for you.

jimbrad 10 years, 2 months ago

I served my country for 30 years - ten years of reserve duty and 20 years of active duty. I retired from the Army almost 16 years ago. I saw no duty in any conflict area. I was always in another place that needed my presence to maintain the peace. I served in the Army to protect all of your rights to protest - in a peaceful manner, I might add - anything you disagree with, be it governmental or personal.

However, when it comes to burning my flag, downgrading my former, present and future comrades in arms in any way, and threatening to overthrow my government by force I take a personal exception to "your rights".

In answer to "Christy", the U. S. Army is the best equipped and best trained army in the world.

The enemy is able to adapt to our defenses for the simple fact that they know what our defenses are and and find ways to defeat them. The Department of Defense is constantly devising ways to try to stay one step ahead of the enemy. When the war started, no thought was given to IED's. We expected a conventional war, hence no up-armored wheeled vehicles. Now we have them. They work.

I can talk for days on this subject, but I must go to church this morning and pray for the unenlightened.

"I was a soldier, I am a soldier, I will always be a soldier"

OnlyTheOne 10 years, 2 months ago

Northtown and I served my country in 62! Do you have any idea what was happening then? And I wasn't' drafted! You "love it or leave it" folks haven't the slightest idea what it's about!

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

Wow, what a bunch of thoughtless responses.

Christy: That was pretty well articulated, but you will unfortunately find that there will be some who are unwilling or incapable of separating protesting the war from disrespecting the troops. Probably because sticking to that line is the only way that they can find their position to be defensible.

kansas778 10 years, 2 months ago

You're right Jonas, us well articulated, annointed, ones should do the thinking around here. After all, we are intelligent enough to tell people that what they voluntarily signed up for is wrong, evil, and stupid, but they are not. It's not their fault they didn't have the enlightenment we have, and got suckered by Bushco into this illegal and immoral war they are fighting.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 2 months ago

kansas778 Your sarcasm is quite clear. However you seem not to understand what the military is and should be. They are trained to follow orders. It must be this way or we would have military coups like other countries. That's why civilians need to protest the war. The soldiers have nothing to do with the decision to invade a sovereign country, that blame goes entirely to the politicians. The soldiers follow orders, and must continue to do so, or we'll end up under a military dictatorship. What do you think boot camp is all about. It's stripping away the individual to be part of the group. I support our troops, because they are required to do what the commander in chief tells them, but it's that commander that I condemn, and I hope his payback comes sooner than later. He is no leader, has no concept of other cultures (American or foreign) but his own old money background. He is a wimp and failure who is directly responsible for the deaths of our soldiers and he has protected the life of one of our worse enemies, bin Laden, probably as a favor to the Saudis, his buddies. He has taken our soldiers from a noble fight (Afghanistan) and made them fight a war for oil and the profit of war gouging companies like Haliburton. Do I think our military is being abused, yes. Are they aware of it? More than you think. Do they still have to follow orders? yes, we must maintain civil rule over the military.

TheYetiSpeaks 10 years, 2 months ago

"The protester's outrage is aimed at the architects, not the guys on the ground."

Then do not have your protest in front of the recruiting offices. There are several government buildings here in town and in nearby towns that would have been more appropriate. When you protest in front of a recruiting office, the perception is you are protesting soldiers, regardless of true intent.

mick 10 years, 2 months ago

The occupation of Iraq has absolutely nothing to do with our national defense. Our military is fighting and dying for the world's billionaires.

jonny_quest 10 years, 2 months ago

As an old military guy myself, I appreciate that many people serve(d) in various capacities in the military. However, that in itself, does not mean they are more patriotic than someone else; it does not mean they served their country better than someone else; and it certainly does not mean they deserve automatic, blind respect.

Many times the people that bark agaisnt protestors with responses like, "I defended your rights", "I fought for my country", "love it or leave it" are frequently ignorant of reality and have no capacity for critical thinking. They are dangerous because they are easily manipulated into despotism, fascism, corporatism, militarism, etc.

Thanks to those that serve and thanks to those that protest. We need them both.

mulitdisciplinary 10 years, 2 months ago

good thought toplikar

send the recruiters over first and put some newbies in the at home positions.

kansas778 10 years, 2 months ago

Dorothy is right, they were ordered to volunteer or re-enlist, they had no choice!

classclown 10 years, 2 months ago

overplayedhistory (Anonymous) says:

Protesting is nothing but therapy for those trying to come to terms with their powerlessness, much like blogging on these threads. Yes I am guilty. You want to affect things, follow the recruiters around with a lawyer and a video camera, quit paying taxes, or teach a kid how to read.


Are you insinuating that only illiterate/stupid people join the military?

Is John Kerry gracing this site with his presence?

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." --John Kerry


classclown 10 years, 2 months ago

And another thing. TheYetiSpeaks hit the nail on the head with this...

"Then do not have your protest in front of the recruiting offices. There are several government buildings here in town and in nearby towns that would have been more appropriate. When you protest in front of a recruiting office, the perception is you are protesting soldiers, regardless of true intent."

It also cracks me up whenever I see a group protesting war and calling for peace, there is usually at least one person wearing a Che Guevara t shirt.

"Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes". -- Buck Murdock (Airplane II)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 2 months ago

People join the military for lots of reasons, and most have combinations of reasons. But among the major reasons is economic opportunity in a society and economy which for millions has very limited opportunities. And given that recruiters are known to lie to potential recruits about what they'll get for putting their lives and their bodies on the line for leaders such as Bush and Cheney who lie to the American people in order to go to war primarily for the profit of energy corporations and defense contractors, protesting at recruiting stations is quite appropriate.

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

Kansas778: Sorry, had to drive back from Hermann, Mo and grade a bunch of midterms. Wouldn't want you to think you scared me off.

Anyway, underneath that snobbish sarcasm that seems to be what passes for humor among conservative commentators (shudder) you do have at least a somewhat valid point, that people should be mindful of presuming the correct action for the soldiers even over the soldier's own choices and viewpoints.

On the other hand, there would be some justification in saying that the situation many of these soldier's might have signed up for has been changed, or at least their perspective of it, based on events in the past few years. On a purely anecdotal basis, the soldiers I know who have gone have a tendency to no longer feel the war is no longer as justified or beneficial for either US interests or the world stage as they did when their tours started or when they enlisted in the first place. I scanned a bit, briefly, earlier trying to find total enlistment rates annually for the last decade but without success, though I stumbled across some articles that suggest that the armed forces are having to change (ie: lower) their requirements in order to meet the quotas that they had previously set. While far from provable conclusions, it suggests that there has been some shift in soldiers' attitudes towards the war, that the argument of "it's their choice" do not fully address.

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

But my comment was more directed at the "aid and comfort to our enemies" and "do whatever you want as long as it's not something that I disagree with!" arguments that sprouted up around yours.

RedwoodCoast 10 years, 2 months ago

Look out Mormons; don't try knocking on Ignorant's door. He'll probably first tell you why you aren't an Elder at age 22 and then escort you to the sidewalk with his AK while wearing an ammunition belt and Rambo style headband.

Anyway, I keep scratching my head at the folks on here that are trying to link protesting to disrespecting the troops. Protesting is just as American as joining the military. I really don't get the sense that protestors are trying to belittle or demean the troops. I'm definitely not following the logic in those arguments.

kansas778 10 years, 2 months ago

We've been at war for this long and haven't had to implement a draft. That speaks volumes to the support this country is giving to the war in terms of volunteering to serve.

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

Well, as long as we know your preconditions for concession of a problem.

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

Red_Peters (Anonymous) says:

"please spare those of us with half a brain."

So you admit, then, that you only have half a brain?

Linda Endicott 10 years, 2 months ago

What do you need a draft for, when you won't let those who enlisted come home when they thought they would?

Far too many soldiers have enlisted for what they thought was a prescribed length of time, like two years, or three years...only to discover at the end of that time that they weren't free to go home...

And one of the reasons that we have no "official" draft as yet is because we're sending National Guard troops over...and over...and over...

It used to be that the National Guard remained in this country, to provide protection against any possible attacks...National Guard troops were not sent overseas in the past....

Which is why George W. Bush enlisted in the National Guard, and not the regular military...

gogoplata 10 years, 2 months ago

I really enjoyed reading all the posts on this one. Up until the 2006 election I was part of the "love it or leave it" "kill'em all, let God sort them out", "troops are fighting for our freedom" crowd. After that election I started to question my devotion to the republican party. I knew I could not become a democrat so I started looking at becoming an independent. That is when I stumbled upon the writings of Ron Paul. That was in January 2007 when there were some speculations about him making a run for president in 2008. What I found was a consistent political philosophy that made sense. We should have never invaded Iraq. Bush would have had the support of the majority of the American people if he would have simply gone after those behind the 911 attacks. Ron Paul was one of the very few who voted against the Iraq invasion before it happened. I know that Paul is not going to be president but his philosophy of limited government alongside a humble foreign policy have caught on with people like me who have done a complete 180 on the Iraq war. The more people who take the time to learn about the value of liberty the better chance we have of not making another mistake like the Iraq war.

kansas778 10 years, 2 months ago

Agnostick, we don't have a draft...in a time of war! Not just that, but one that's been going for several years. Do you not understand what that means? You keep trying to point out that recruitment is down, as if that's a surprise in a time of war. The surprise is how little recruitment is down, and that a draft is unnecessary. I get the feeling that you're just looking for the most negative way to spin this.

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

"That is when I stumbled upon the writings of Ron Paul."

Goodness. Sounds like a religious experience.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 2 months ago

"Agnostick, we don't have a draft:in a time of war! Not just that, but one that's been going for several years. Do you not understand what that means?"

It means that economic opportunities in this country are limited, and enough of those confronted with such limited opportunity are desperate enough to join the military and become cannon fodder for murderous, sycophantic a**holes like yourself.

Matt Toplikar 10 years, 2 months ago

I really can't believe we're still having the argument that protesting the war somehow disrespects the troops. It's really beyond stupid. First off I have a few good friends in Iraq right now-- my support is with them, and if you think they'd rather be there than with their families you're crazy.
Secondly, any of these chickenhawks who pretend to be defending our troops' honor need to cut out the bull, find some serious perspective, and get their priorities in order. Those of us who actually care about these people are much more concerned that they return home safely. If you can't put their lives and health in the forefront of your mind while forming your opinions, you don't even know what respect is and have no business talking about it. The fact that the protest was held in front of a recruiting office shows no sign of disrespect to the troops in Iraq. The army recruiters aren't in Iraq-- end of story. If you want to say that it's showing disrespect to those who are responsible for sending troops to Iraq, you may have a point. Still what's worse-- possibly offending someone who's life isn't in danger, or saying nothing while your friends are shipped off to possibly die for no good reason?

kansas778 10 years, 2 months ago

Agnostick, we don't have a draft...in a time of war. I think it's really funny that you folks can't come to terms with what that means.

kansas778 10 years, 2 months ago

Volunteers are lining up. You keep trying to say it's not that many, they're of less intelligence, but you just can't quite get the fact they they are still volunteering can you? You obviously didn't bother to read your links, because in one of them it says that 300,000 people are volunteering each year. Does it really bother you that much that you have to run them down? We don't have a draft thanks to these people. Again you strangely act surprised that it's harder to recruit right now, what's surprising is that it hasn't been so hard that's we've gone to a draft.

And you didn't have much of a problem deciphering "what that means" as you responded directly to it with your third paragraph.

jonas 10 years, 2 months ago

kansas778 (Anonymous) says:

"Agnostick, we don't have a draft:in a time of war. I think it's really funny that you folks can't come to terms with what that means."

No no, I think we all do realize that it means that you've found your one-line justification and that you will cling to it in the face of any further argument. It also means that I'm satisfied, and apparently Agno is too, so have fun gnawing that bone.

oldvet 10 years, 2 months ago

"It used to be that the National Guard remained in this country, to provide protection against any possible attacks:National Guard troops were not sent overseas in the past:."

You know, crazy, you might want to do a little research before you let your fingers fly... The men of the 69th Infantry, Kansas Army National Guard spent a 13-month combat tour in Vietnam... and in WWII nearly all National Guard units were activated, many were deployed intact as units overseas...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 2 months ago

While what you say is true, oldvet, the fact remains that the National Guard and the Reserves make up a much higher percentage of troops on active duty than ever before. And while k778 wants to pretend that the lack of a draft somehow justifies this war, if not for the massive call up of National Guard units, this war could not be fought. Even with that call up, the top brass of the military has consistently said that it is seriously overextended, and National Guard units here in the states are understaffed and under-equipped, leaving the states ill-equipped to handle emergency situations such as the tornados in Kansas and hurricanes in Louisiana and elsewhere on the Gulf Coast. This war-mongering administration has left us clearly less secure by their murderous adventures.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 2 months ago

"They forget the soldiers who were spit on returning from southeast Asia:.."

No one is forgetting, because it didn't happen. But like all true "conservatives," repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the gospel truth to you.

jafs 10 years, 2 months ago

Obviously a very emotional issue.

My two cents:

  1. The military is recruiting folks by promising certain things and then reneging on those promises.

  2. Freedom of speech means the freedom to say things which may offend someone - this idea that we must "respect" the troops, or the president, or anything else, for that matter, is an infringement of our right to freedom of speech.

kansas778 10 years, 2 months ago

jafs (Anonymous) says:

  1. Freedom of speech means the freedom to say things which may offend someone - this idea that we must "respect" the troops, or the president, or anything else, for that matter, is an infringement of our right to freedom of speech.

Your right to freedom of speech is a freedom from government censorship, not a right to say what you want and not have anyone disagree with you. My posts

Jcjayhawk1 10 years, 2 months ago

We possess no rights. They are at best privileges. Disagree? Ask any of the Japanese that were rounded up in internment camps during WWII. Look at the displacement of Native Americans. (paraphrased from Carlin)

Rights are temporary privileges. The government holds all the cards.

Imeniant domain, Gun control & Patriot Act are coming for you!

JHOK32 10 years, 2 months ago

I have a son in Iraq. He joined, he was not drafted. He is very brave. I believe in him, however, I do not believe in this war. Oilmen Bush & Cheney said they invaded Iraq because Saddam was a tyrant & he had "WMD's." We now know there never were any WMD's & we killed Saddam, so why are we still there? I also lost an uncle in Vietnam, we were told then that we had to defend our country against communism. We lost 58,000 good men (mostly kids). We lost the war. Did America cease to exist? No. Were the Russians ever a threat? Yes, but they knew we would have blasted them off the face of the earth, just as they would have blasted us off the face of the earth. So was America ever really threatened? Who really benefited from these wars? Obviously the massive defense industry has made billions. The big oil companies are now making billions. We now know that LBJ started the Vietnam war when he lied to the American people about the now famous Gulf of Tonkin incident. JFK was against escalation of the Vietnam war, we all know what happened to him. My only point is that kid's are dying & being maimed for life......I pray to God that we are not there just to profit big American companies, and I pray that history is not repeating itself again.

Arana 10 years, 2 months ago

The only thing I can say is that I support the troops, but I have never, ever supported the war.

gogoplata 10 years, 2 months ago

I wouldn't say reading Ron Paul was a religious experience. But it was a refreshing change from what I was had been hearing from other politicians. A clear line of thinking that is consistent and makes sense. Who would have ever thought that would come from a politician.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 2 months ago

Ho Chi Min is in the White House.... the chief terrorist. Yes the man has earned the title as " father of terrorism". The military did not want to invade Iraq. GHW Bush and several of his cabinet people tried to persuade terrorist GW and his terrorist brother Cheney to stop. Cheney and GW are fools who should be in San Quentin. These two do not respect the consitution, the flag,the troops or the american people.

Meet the Bush/Cheney facist government. Cheney could have enlisted to serve in Viet Nam yet he passed on the opportunity. Sending others off to be killed is OK. Put Bush and Cheney in San Quentin and we'll see how far their tough talk takes them. They are slobs.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 2 months ago

Bush Given Iraq Plan With No Troop Cut

    Iraqi Defector 'Curveball' Denies Blame for War
    97 Percent of US Death Toll Came After 'Mission Accomplished'
    Bush Says Iraq War Deaths Not in Vain

Civilian Deaths in Iraq May Have Topped a Million

Sadr Army Battles Troops in Four Iraqi Cities Gen. Petraeus: Iran Behind Green Zone Attack Green Zone Shelling Mirrors Militia Ire

Tuesday: 1 US Soldier, 54 Iraqis Killed; 129 Iraqis Wounded

Cheney Hits Out at Iran, Syria, Hamas

    Survey: Israel Strengthens Hamas Yet Again
    Fatah Accidentally Signed Reconciliation Draft With Hamas

All Judges Jailed by Musharraf Freed

    Spokesman: Musharraf Never Approved of US Strikes in Tribal Areas

Tibet Exiles Say 135 Killed, 500 Hurt in Protests

    Chinese Policeman Killed in Tibetan Region
    Tibet Protests Disrupt Olympic Flame Lighting

US Ship Opens Fire on Suez Barges, One Killed


christy kennedy 10 years, 2 months ago

I believe Merrill was simply stating facts and citing headlines that need no commentary for those of us who believe that any deaths in an illegal and counterproductive war make for a bad day.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 2 months ago

The US occupation of Iraq was only sanctioned by the UN after the fact, and not because member states "approve." It's merely a recognition that the a**holes of BushCo are there with no intention of leaving, and the UN is merely trying to get some sort of accountability from them, as silly a notion as that might be.

christy kennedy 10 years, 2 months ago

"So no, it was a mistake. We should have waited until more people were killed here at home, and the outrage at Bush's inaction reached a fever pitch."

What people here at home were killed by Saddam Hussein or any other Iraqis?

And why argue the distinction that our "current presence in Iraq" is legal? Does that mean you agree that the run up to war and the initial invasion were not? I'm afraid I'm skimming your comments so I don't get your point. But if I go to a restaurant and say I'm an inspector and then kill half of the waitresses and turn the place into rubble . . . and then I order a meal, is that ok?

christy kennedy 10 years, 2 months ago

red peter,

Calling those who oppose Bush's disastrous foreign policy "AQ sympathizers" is a lazy and stupid thing to say in place of a rational argument to support your views. This nation was founded by dissenters, patriots-thinkers- remember them? Disagreeing with one's government's policies does not make you a commie, an AQ sympathizer . . . I mean, come on! It's not as black and white as you'd like to believe. Venture into the gray area of complex thinking once and a while. People against the death penalty are not in favor of violent criminals. Oh for crying out loud.

JHOK32 10 years, 2 months ago

How about preventing the 911 attacks in the first place......People have been hi-jacking planes for decades. We spend how many billions of dollars a year on the CIA, the FBI, the "National Security Agency?" We have satellites & spies all over the globe, we can see a dime on the ground from outerspace......but nobody in the world's most sophisticated government with all their thousands of computers could figure out a couple of dumb arabs could use a a plane as a guided missile by using a 99 cent box-cutter? This is the REAL scary part!

christy kennedy 10 years, 1 month ago

ckennedy says... This nation was founded by dissenters, patriots-thinkers- remember them?

Red_Peters (Anonymous) says: ":.thinkers- remember them?" -Ckennedy With great sadness.

So Red Peters, Red is for Redcoat? You're actually a Tory?

jafs 10 years, 1 month ago

Amen, JOHK.

Let's work on preventing these occurrences.

To that end, we should immediately implement all of the recommendations of the 9/11 bi-partisan commission on securing our borders, etc.

Also, can we not finally discuss why we are so hated?

If we are acting in ways that create enemies, I'd like to look into that, wouldn't you?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

"I'm afraid I'm skimming your comments so I don't get your point."

PA has not point-- never does. The "black knight" merely throws sh*t against the wall to see if it sticks.

christy kennedy 10 years, 1 month ago

"If we are acting in ways that create enemies, I'd like to look into that, wouldn't you?"

Bingo. This is one the biggest stumbling block when it comes to understanding what approach to take regarding fundamentalists, extremists, AND innocent civilians affected by bloodshed. An act of aggression against is usually seen by the recipient as unprovoked, while for the aggressor, it is usually retaliation. None of it is justified, and it will go on forever, unless we not only capture those responsible for violent acts AND stop enraging others, who will follow in their footsteps .

Red Peters, Sorry about the Tory question, but when I asked if you remember the original American Patriots and you say "yes, sadly," I don't know exactly what you mean.

Sadly because of what our country is doing and what Bush has done to our standing in the world? I apologize if that's what you meant-I'm just angry and frustrated that the general public is so apathetic and that Congress has been so ineffective at stopping the Bush/Cheney Cowboy Foreign Policy fiasco. And when I write a letter explaining that those of us who are against this war have always cared deeply about what happens to the troops (because we're still accused of "disrespecting them") and then the kind of stupid back and forth commenting happens anyway, well, it's really discouraging.

Those of us accused of "disrespecting the troops" held a candle light vigil Tuesday night. Names of the fallen from KS were read. A pastor and others spoke. Among us were young and old, veterans, parents of those currently serving, and others who deeply care about our fellow human beings.

I guess for those who insist on not understanding us and prefer to call us names and make stupid generalizations, I should give up.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

"So if I write: "The principles of Islam cannot be altered and and there is no democracy in Islam or nonsense like 'democratic Islam'." I'm a racist, even though I'm quoting Abu Bakar Bashir."

No, you're throwing sh*t at the wall. Again.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 1 month ago

"Ok, Mr. Insane Internet Stalker Person."

You're the one who demonstrates homicidal desires with every post.

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