Bordering on Treason
Writing a newspaper column is a lot like being a telephone pole during deer hunting season. Sooner or later, some clown is going to come along and take a shot at you just because you make a good target.
I wrote a column titled "Veterans Reunion" which was published in the Nov. 13 issue of The News. In it I mentioned how a couple of old Army buddies had visited me over the Veterans Day holiday weekend, one of whom had a son in the Navy who had served in Iraq. I also wrote about the pros and cons of military life, and urged folks to support our men and women in uniform.
One of my close friends in Minnesota criticized the column as being overly patriotic. To my surprise, a person named Carole Floyd of Dolph, Ark., wrote a letter to the editor (published the following week) characterizing the same column as being unpatriotic and bordering on treason. Ordinarily I expect criticism of my columns. I have a certain point of view, often not the popular view, and am not bashful about sharing it with the world. However, when someone grossly distorts my perspective to make their own point I'm forced to respond.
Letter-to-Editor: It is NOT "fine" to criticize war strategy.
Response: First of all, I did not criticize war strategy nor did I encourage anyone to do so. My words exactly were "It's fine to criticize the leaders who put our forces in harm's way, but our troops have shown remarkable restraint in this latest effort and deserve our support." In other words, the politicians are fair game when it comes to criticism but leave the troops alone.
Letter-to-Editor: Criticism of an administration's war strategy during a time of war is not only unpatriotic and borders on treason (because it encourages the enemy), but it also discourages and disheartens the troops.
Response: As a matter of record, I wrote a column in March titled "An Imperfect World" (published in The News) where I outlined some of the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein and favored our action in Iraq, regardless if weapons of mass destruction were ever found.
Even if I did criticize our government's war strategy, which I did not, it would in no way be unpatriotic or an act of treason. This is a democracy. We are in a global conflict of freedom versus oppression. One of the most precious freedoms is the freedom of speech. Criticism of one's government is not only patriotic but it's often a necessity of good citizenship.
Letter-to-Editor: When are the men of this country going to stand up and act like men?
Response: Real men don't march in lockstep to the whim of their rulers. Real men are able to determine right from wrong on their own, and have the fortitude to stand by their convictions.
Letter-to-Editor: Haven't they (real men) had enough of the liberal elite and the Hollywood actors beating down this country?
Response: As a matter of record, I wrote a column in April titled "With Fortitude" (published in The News) where I criticized the liberal elite and the Hollywood actors for their stand against the incursion into Iraq. As a person opposed to intrusive rule by a large central government, I have criticized liberals and conservatives and other reprobates in my columns with equal fervor. Criticizing Bush doesn't make me a liberal and criticizing Clinton doesn't make me a conservative -- it makes me a person weary of being governed by nitwits.
Letter-to-Editor: We are in a world war again and we must remind folks of that small but important tidbit of information.
Response: Carole Floyd, the author of the letter to the editor, resides in Houston (owns property near Dolph) and is my ex-wife. That seems like an important tidbit of information not included in her attack on my character.
Criticize me all you want but don't distort what I say. * * *