A Different Opinion Does Not Make An Anti-American

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Editor:

I did not know whether to laugh or cry reading Ross Skinners' vitriolic letter to the editor this last week. He began with "My love for and faith in this country and its people has no bounds". He then continued to demonize the Democrats and anyone who supported Bill Clinton with words like, "leftist liberal", "leftist political prostitutes", self-serving leftists", and "cowardly anti-Americans". I would suggest that his love and faith in American people has very stringent bounds, i.e. only to those who hold his opinion, or Republican supporters, which eliminates a majority of the population of this fine country.

I have a different opinion. I'm against a war with Iraq, not because I'm anti-American, but because I am extremely pro-American. I feel strongly that this war could have several long-term disastrous effects to America, briefly:

1. It would create hundreds of suicide recruits for al-Qaeda.

2. The war might be quick and might not be, but the occupation will be long and both will cost billions upon billions of tax dollars.

3. It could open up a Pandora's box of bloody feuds between many fractions, for example Turks vs. Kurds, Shiites vs. Sunnis, Baath Party vs. non-Baath Party. And who would be caught in the middle? Our troops and other personnel on the ground.

4. Last but far from least, we all know that Saddam is a lying rat and probably does have biological and chemical weapons. If cornered he is very likely to use them and could kill hundreds if not thousands of our young men and women in uniform. While those he didn't kill, well Iraq War Syndrome could be a term we could hear frequently over the next few decades.

So what is the alternative? Saddam is a rat, but he is a caged rat. Let's keep him that way. In his present bottled up position he can do no harm to either his own people or the outside world. In the meantime it is highly likely that the UN inspectors will eventually find his hidden weapons, but most importantly while they are looking he can't use them, particularly with U.S. surveillance constantly overhead and the no-fly zone strictly enforced. We could then turn our attention to a much greater world threat, North Korea.

We could also divert our energy to bring a solution to the ongoing crisis in Israel/ Palestine. An almost impossible task we all know, but even to be seen working in this direction would reduce the number of terrorist recruits and improve our status in the eyes of Islamic people.

We could also divert the monetary savings of not going to war to stimulate the U.S. economy and support our suffering education system. If we really want a strong America we cannot let our economy become weak or the education of our children become second class. What a tragedy that in our own town teachers are being cut due to lack of funding.

Does this different opinion make me anti-American? Absolutely not, just a proud American with a different point of view, and freedom of speech is one of the many cornerstones of our great nation. However, Mr. Skinner, we do agree on one point.

God Bless America.

Dave Sutherland, Payson

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