The danger in antiwar protests

Graduate of Chico State University, registered nurse and mother of two adult children.

Last week I said goodbye to my son, a Marine, who left to the Middle East on the USS Bonhomme Richard. No bands played, no movie stars were there; only teary-eyed family members waving goodbye to their beloved sons and daughters. While grief and loneliness gripped my heart, I peeled my eyes from the fading image of the ship. And I was consumed by war within myself.

I believe in dissent and consider myself liberal, but I cannot help feeling repulsed by the present antiwar movement. I now see my son and those who serve in the military as our warriors. They will fight with grit and determination to end what they and many others see as what is wrong in the world today. They will also fight for the bloody oil.

I do not want innocent civilians to die in a needless war, but some causes overrule our precious human lives. My son knows he may die in a war, but he believes in giving of his life to fight for bigger causes. And here lies the war within myself.

I believe that the hardcore peace activists do not just want “no war.” They also want to make a political statement against mainstream USA and George W. Bush, who, by the way, many of them helped to elect, much to my disgust. They have good intentions, but they are not presenting any real solutions to the problems at hand.

They are dangerously splitting our country apart at a time when we need to unite. They are courting public opinion and helping turn the world against their hated George Bush and the United States. They are sabotaging America’s ability to build a united front and gain allies in this quest to oust a ruthless dictator.

In the news recently we heard reports of how pleased Saddam was to see the divisions in our country and how public opinion is turning against us in the world. There are some activists who say military personnel should disobey orders to deploy or ask for other positions so as not to fight. Boy, what a great way to strengthen a fighting force! Some activists would encourage them to avoid military service. How wonderful—the most powerful nation in the world turns into nation of pacifists unwilling to fight, relying on other nations to protect it from evil. But I forgot: In their imagined world there is no evil.

I sound angry and I am. I am extremely hurt by a movement I used to identify with. A movement that pays little respect to persons such as my son, who is risking his life this very moment to protect their right to protest.