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.