A week ago a letter to the editor appeared in this space with the same title. The writer used terms like "leftist political prostitutes" and "self-serving leftists" to describe people who, in good conscience, don't share his political beliefs. He even calls them "cowardly anti-Americans".
He justified his intolerance by his status as a U.S. Navy veteran. At least, he's alive. That's more than can be said for my brother. He came back from Vietnam in a rubber bag. He died defending our freedom.
That includes all our freedoms. Even our freedom to dissent when we see actions with which we disagree being done in our name by the leaders of our country.
The issue before us is much larger and important than petty political rhetoric and puffy patriotism.
It's about core American values. It's about priorities in how we allocate our national resources. It's about what's important to us as Americans.
What's important in America today? The U.S. spends as much money on its military -- every year -- as the next 24 nations of the world combined. Add to that the additional couple of hundred billion dollars to wage this war. That's a lot of dough. Makes you wonder just who's running things. Can't our resources be better directed?
Thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- of innocent lives will be lost as "collateral damage" when this war consumes the world. And hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of American families will share the grief of having their husband or son, father or brother come home in a rubber bag. Is this cost in human lives and suffering acceptable in return for ridding the world of a despotic dictator?
It's neither self-serving nor anti-American to believe that everything possible must be done to avoid war with its enormous cost in human, financial and political capital. On the contrary -- It's standing up for what's right.
General Douglas MacArthur said in his book ‘Revitalizing a Nation': "You cannot control war; you can only abolish it. Those who shrug this off as idealistic are the real enemies of peace -- the real warmongers.
"Those who lack the enterprise, vision, and courage to try a new approach when no others have succeeded, fail completely the most simple test of leadership. Let us regain some of the courage and faith of the architects who charted the course to our real greatness."
Larry Brophy, Payson