Thursday, August 25, 2005

The American Legion Does Not Speak For This Veteran

It's tough on the average citizen to question an organization like the American Legion, even when they make downright un-American pronouncements and veiled threats to stifle dissent. It doesn't take much these days to be called unpatriotic if you argue with anyone in the military or who has ever been in uniform.

But I'm an honorably-discharged veteran and I'm here to tell you, when it comes to the much-publicized statements made against those protesting the Iraq war, the American Legion is full of crap – and they most assuredly do not speak for me.

To catch some of you up, American Legion national commander, Thomas Cadmus, gave a speech at their national convention in Honolulu on Tuesday in which he called for an end to all "public protests" and "media events" against the war. The convention delegates then voted to use whatever means necessary to "ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism."

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Cadmus told convention delegates.

As a veteran, I have a real bone to pick with you, Mr. Cadmus, because it sounds to me like it is you who would launch a cowardly attack against "freedom-loving peoples."

When I was sworn into the U.S. Navy, I made a pledge "to defend and protect the constitution of the United States of America" which, in case your right-wing hysteria has made you forget, protects exactly the rights you and your group are threatening to destroy.

So I guess you can smear me as an unpatriotic, first-cousin to Jane Fonda because I'm going to have to stand against you on this one. I didn't wear the uniform as proudly as I once did, only to see our nation taken in the horrible direction pursued by George W. Bush -- and one that you clearly endorse.

I hurt every day when I read the names of those who have been killed in Iraq. My loyalty is with them, not with you and your misguided organization, which seems to have decided that the best way to help in the war on terror is to seize the very rights we veterans have always protected and toss them in the toilet.

I most certainly will not give allegiance to a president who has the blood of almost 1,900 of our brave men and women on his hands because he purposefully misled our nation into war with a country that did not attack us and that we now know posed no threat whatsoever to the United States.

And, in the face of this disgusting misuse of our military and when honorable men and women are dying for nothing, the best thing you and your organization can do is battle the people exercising their rights to prevent more military lives from being needlessly lost.

Shame on you, Mr. Cadmus. It is you who are unpatriotic because, when all is said and done, you don't have a clue about the principles on which our nation was founded.

I haven't forgotten the oath I took so many years ago. Have you?