Committing ‘moral treason’

Not since the Vietnam War has Memorial Day held the significance of Monday’s observance. As we remember the servicemen and -women who’ve lost their lives in combat, we’ll also reflect on the soldiers currently in the line of fire and look ahead to when they can return home.

Congressional leaders have promised to pass a military-funding bill by this weekend, one that the president will sign, thanks to semantic sleight-of-hand that’s turned “timetables” into “benchmarks.” That won’t settle all differences, but perhaps for a few days, at least, this will quell the notion that Democrats and anyone else opposed to President Bush’s Iraq policies don’t—and can’t—really care about the troops.

Truth is, rhetoric will continue to flow from those who feel they have a monopoly on patriotism. Anyone who questions the commander-in-chief in a time of war hurts the military by emboldening the enemy and eroding our will to win—how often has that searing chestnut been pulled from the fire?

Take it from someone who served as commander-in-chief: “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” Theodore Roosevelt’s words ring ever true.

Concerned Americans come in all party colors and political creeds. Whether you want the troops in Iraq to stay or leave, stop by the new veterans’ monument in downtown Chico. Memorial Day is nonpartisan.