Letter to the Editor

Protesters should target civilians who make policy

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

To the editor:

War protesters have been called unpatriotic and unsupportive of our military. In turn, the protesters defend their protests as truly patriotic.

The conduct of some demonstrators shows they have different agendas. Demonstrations held in public parks and in front of federal buildings are understandable. Demonstrations in front of military installations accomplish nothing except to demoralize those in uniform. Demonstrating will not cause any change in their operations. If protesters truly desire to change the policies of our government, the demonstrations need to be targeted at the civilian authority, which controls the military and budgets for their operations.

I have seen the other side of war protests. As an infantry platoon leader near the end of combat operations in Vietnam, I received replacements that came to the bush claiming we could refuse to fight because of all the protests at home. My goal as a platoon leader was to get my men home, but if some were unwilling to fight, they placed us all at risk. In combat, hesitation, doubts and excessive caution will get men killed. That is not the time or place to question the reasons for the war.

It is the right and the duty of any citizen to object to government policies they disagree with. It is his responsibility to do so in a way that might effect change without endangering those who are doing their duty. Those who serve deserve to know that we appreciate and respect their service. Do not send them to war with doubts.


Chaffee, Mo.