A large number of very thoughtful and deeply religious Americans have publically expressed their misgivings about this country's going to war with Iraq. In doing so, they are exercising their right of free speech, one of the glories of the American system of government, and that right is certainly not lost when one is elected to public office.
I consider it wholly inexcusable for Ross Skinner to viciously label such persons as "cowardly anti-Americans" unless he himself holds the Medal of Honor, or at least the Navy Cross. I also think that most serious-minded Americans rightfully regard Skinner's kind of chest-thumping, patriotic bluster, which can be engaged in solely with one's mouth, with cynicism and disdain as being patriotism on the cheap.
Simply being a Navy veteran tells us nothing at all about Skinner's own bravery, or lack thereof. At least 90 percent of living American veterans probably never found themselves in situations where they would have had to reveal whether they were brave or cowardly.
Alvin York was reportedly a conscientious objector before he went in service and became America's greatest hero in World War I, and verbal abuse was the least of what conscientious objectors faced at that time as a number of them were beaten within an inch of their lives.
Mild and gentle George McGovern was considered by many as the bravest of the brave among the command pilots of B-17 bombers in World War II. Yet, he allowed himself to be labeled a wimp by the Republicans when he ran against Richard Nixon for president, rather than allow his advisors to inject his fantastic war record into the campaign. What a magnificent man. I believe his opponent spent the war as a Navy supply officer, where he was probably as safe from the enemy as he would have been if he had been at home in his mother's lap.
Incidentally, I am an Air Force veteran, and I support the use of American military power to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his vile regime.
Otis M. Trimble