Arnett Should Not Be Defended For His Behavior



Imagine my surprise when I read your editorial column in last Friday's Roundup (April 4). I understand your concern regarding the extension of the Bill of Rights to Mr. Arnett, though I question as you did, whether these rights apply to a citizen of New Zealand operating in the capital city of a country we are at war with.

You state that "the issue is the hypocrisy that the actions of NBC, MSNBC, and National Geographic Explorer represent".

Excuse me? Where was your call for journalistic responsibility? Where was your condemnation of Mr. Arnett's actions blatant lies?

Instead of attacking Mr. Arnett for his unprofessional and irresponsible behavior, you chose to attack instead his former employers for exercising their right to fire an employee who broke all rules of responsible journalism. Mr. Arnett chose to grant that interview with Iraqi state-run TV and used that interview as a platform to air his personal opinions and grievances regarding the operation to liberate the Iraqi people. His statements were either totally false or blatantly biased and only served to fuel the Iraqi propaganda machine, thereby giving false hopes to a dying regime.

If one Iraqi soldier was encouraged to continue fighting, instead of surrendering as common sense and logic would dictate, and that soldier dies on the battlefield, then his blood is on Arnett's hands.

If that same soldier kills a member of the coalition forces, then in my opinion Mr. Arnett would be guilty of treason.

There is a huge difference between "freely expressing his personal opinions" and aiding and abetting the enemy. Mr. Arnett showed very poor judgment in giving that interview, and I believe his employers were absolutely correct in sacking him, but it seems that you would choose to ignore the inappropriate behavior and blindly rush to defend his rights. I find it very sad indeed that you were not so quick to rush to the defense of the Iraqi people and their rights. The rights we enjoy as Americans are now being extended to the citizens of Iraq, and the price paid for these rights is the same price it has always been: the blood of American heroes. With such rights coming at so high a price, perhaps the Iraqi people will show a bit more responsibility in their exercise of those rights than so many others, who have had these rights for so long that they have forgotten the price paid for the freedoms they enjoy. May the taste of freedom remain on the lips of the Iraqi people for centuries to come.

Bill Coffman, Payson

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