This week's letter of the week comes from Bill Bodden who takes issue with notion that people don't have the right to protest outside military recruiting offices. The First Amendment thanks you Bill and so does the Source. As a token of our gratitude were picking up the tab for dinner tonight. You can pick up your $25 gift certificate for Dinner's Ready at our office, 704 NW Georgia, anytime during business hours.
To put it in polite terms, Stephanie Bearse (Feb. 28) chose the wrong target when she criticized war critics in Bend. She objected to Code Pink picketing the recruiting offices where ill-informed young people go to join the military and possibly participate in the fighting in Iraq. The recruiters may be doing their duty and may not lie, but they won't volunteer the whole and sordid truth. They won't tell applicants this is an illegal war or that they may have to fight in it with defective or insufficient armor and supplies. Nor will they tell young women they will be at increased risk of being raped.
Ms. Bearse suggests protesters should instead take their complaints to our elected officials in Congress. For what purpose? Senator Smith and Congressman Walden reneged on their oaths to defend the Constitution in October 2002 by signing a blank check for Bush and Cheney to go to war and are thus accomplices in this crime against humanity. As many of us have learned, it is pointless talking to them.
Like Ms. Bearse's son, I scored high scholastically and was considered bright and intelligent when I enlisted in the military. In common with many young people in that age group I was easily persuaded that I had a lot of knowledge, but I look back on that period with considerable embarrassment, recognizing how little I knew and how naïve I was. It would be a long time before I learned to appreciate I.F. Stone's dictum about all governments lying. Despite a good grounding in history I was unaware that all wars are based on lies.
It is not clear whether Ms. Bearse rejects the charge that the military turns young men into murderers or if she just doesn't want that to be publicized. The fact is many young men (and a few women) have been ordered to shoot and kill Iraqis, many of whom proved to be innocent. Many of these young people have returned after that experience suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Some have committed suicide. This information has been common knowledge for years among many people around the world and, belatedly, an increasing number of people in the United States, so Ms. Bearse's concern about it being revealed is ill-founded.
Bill Bodden, Redmond