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Published: Tuesday, 9/6/2005

Let s disagree on Iraq war in right place

BY CHARLES RONDINELLI

IT IS highly disappointing that some Americans appear not to learn from the lessons of history. It is even more regrettable and enraging to think that they have not forgotten history but choose to repeat it in the same way that once was so devastating to this country.

That is precisely what is happening with the calls for protests in the streets against the war against terrorism. A more devastating way to lead the country would be difficult to imagine. How could anyone even for a moment want to repeat America s most shameful and disappointing period: protests and pullout from the Vietnam War?

Many have thought that through the first Iraq war and years of rebuilding the military the disgrace of the Vietnam War had been put to rest.

But it appears that those same kinds of people the elitists, the pseudo-intellectuals, the hippies who made fools of themselves in the streets before want once again to drag this great nation into the gutter, to divide its citizens into patriots and nonpatriots, to see the undisciplined agitators appear in front-page pictures and videos.

Such calls do not recognize two important points: It was the action of the American people opposed to winning in Vietnam, not all of the guns of the Communists, that brought shame on this nation. It is not recognized that we are in a global war against an enemy that places no value on human life and shows that with its barbaric actions against innocents all over the war.

Those people have to be eliminated, not abandoned so that they can spread their terror and their will on people over the globe.

We have people in this country living a very good life who do not understand what has allowed this nation to be built into the greatest, with all of its faults and imperfection, ever known.

They simply would use hatred of a single person to cause great damage and insult.

Some of us remember our history, that George Washington led a group of men who often were hungry and sometimes without shoes during a snowy winter, to find a path to freedom, not by killing innocent civilians but by defeating a superior enemy on the battlefield.

Some remember the difficulties and pain of a second world war that required so much sacrifice that a whole nation recognized the necessity of it and worked together for it.

Some remember the conflict in Korea in which our soldiers once again had to face an enemy superior in number but at least held their ground during negotiations to end fighting despite all of the bullets and artillery and bitter cold.

Few understand that the U.S. military did not lose in Vietnam; we just gave in to public opinion that wouldn t let us defeat the spread of communism.

During that era people in the streets showed the world that as far as it was concerned America did not have to stand behind a commitment; it did not have to stand behind its soldiers. Soldiers were shown the utmost in disrespect. Values were denied. It was not a good showing, not a good time.

It was difficult to work on a night news desk and read and place into the paper the plethora of stories year after year about riots and disrespect that led to machine guns having to be placed on the steps of the Capitol.

If the media had covered World War II with all of its failures the way they covered Vietnam, we might not have won that war either.

Imagine the headlines and broadcasts of the errors, the heavy slaughters, the gore of earlier wars. What is reported so microscopically today would have been considered minute in yesteryears.

The United States has been spared a second attack. It is understandable why.

One, we have done some good with defensive measures.

Two, we have attracted the enemy to Iraq and the fighting is done mostly there.

But, three, why should the enemy attack here again when a growing number of people are vocally against the war and where doubt is expressed in public by senators and congressmen? If they would attack, they would risk uniting the people again as they did after 9/11?

So they can be content to fight elsewhere and let this nation attack itself, just as the North Vietnamese did.

The United States didn t go to war in Iraq for one reason. It went for many reasons. There was no lying. Foreign intelligence in many areas said the same thing that our intelligence agency said.

It is fine to disagree with any policy. But those who do so should recognize where they should disagree. Doing so in public, on the street, gives strength to the enemy. How could anyone who enjoys the benefits of this nation wish to help the people who would bring it down?

Charles Rondinelli is a Blade copy editor.



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