Views on politics and current events

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Letter To The Editor, And My Reply

The area where I live has a large Hispanic community, and for longer than I can remember there has been a Mexican Fiesta Day celebration and parade every September. The community supports these festivities, and a large crowd always gathers for the parade. The local peace group has had a float in the parade for the past five years. Following is a letter written to the local newspaper by a Sergeant in the Army after witnessing the parade, and my reply:

Saddended By The Crowd's Cheers For Anti-War Parade Marchers


On Sept. 16th, I had the misfortune of being offended as both soldier and an American at the Fiesta Parade.

As the Color Guard passed, those who stood in support of the American flag could be counted on one hand. I consoled myself that perhaps my fellow citizens were simply ignorant of this centuries-old act of respect for Old Glory. But when the crowd rose to its feet in celebratory glee for the anti-war protesters, I felt a wave of shame and the sting of insult to myself and all that have served in the Armed Forces.

I wonder whether this was the protesters' first march in favor of fascism because, make no mistake, to march against the war is a public statement of "I wish we had never toppled the regimes of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban." It is a public affirmation - indeed, a public longing for - state sponsored rape rooms for political prisoners, mass genocide, "honor' killings, and the illegality of women in schools, at work or out of stifling burkas.

With dogmatic insistency, protesters evoke the reliable standby, "I oppose the war, but support the troops." I wonder, then, why I never see or hear of these protesters marching in pro-troop rallies? Why can they never be spotted at airports welcoming home soldiers back from the third world hell that we are trying to free?

Those at the Fiesta Parade and around the nation who stood in support of homocidal Islamofascism can be called ignorant, little more than the frenzied throngs of Orwell's 1984 shouting their "minute of hate' - but those who actively marched are guilty of inciting that hate, not for the evil that plagues the world, but for the men and women of the military who fight evil.

B. R. Tompkins, First Sergeant, United States Army

My reply to First Sgt. Tompkins:


  • The peace group’s float represented opposition to the foreign policies of this administration, not to those who faithfully carry out orders. I have seen no disrespect shown for anyone in the military, nor would it be tolerated within the group.
  • The word fascist is used far too often by one group that does not agree with another group. This goes for pro-war, anti-war, liberal, conservative. It is an attempt to demonize the opposition at the expense of any kind of dialogue.
  • The local peace group as a group has donated items for our soldiers in Iraq. Most have also done so as individuals. We have worked towards trying to reverse the cuts in veteran’s benefits. We recognize the immense debt this country owes to our military, and believe that if they are asked to fight in a war, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with administrative policy, they should be duly compensated and cared for. There is much more to showing concern for our troops than having a yellow ribbon magnet attached to your car.
  • I agree it is a sad state of affairs when a color guard receives less accolades than a peace float, but I do not look upon it as disrespect so much as disenchantment with foreign policy. It would be wise for this administration to take these opinions in consideration.
  • You have every right to call the promoters of peace anything you wish. But there are veterans within the local peace group, and people with family members serving in Iraq that are members also. There are an increasing number of retired and active military people that oppose current foreign policy. Are all of these people that have first-hand military experience to be accused of such things also?
I hope that the things I have mentioned have given you food for thought. In any case, the fact that you could freely express your opinion shows the freedom we all have to do the same. The advocates of peace are no different. I accord you the honor you deserve, and bid you peace.

Alan Beggerow

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