This is nothing but blatant hypocrisy. If you're going to be telling soldiers that they should be able to feel safe speaking out against the camouflage wall of silence in the military, I think you need to be telling peace activists that it's also okay to speak out against the tie-dyed wall of silence in the peace movement.
Emerson has some interesting words about those who have become bound by communities as surely as anything else:
"Well, most men have bound their eyes with one or another handkerchief, and attached themselves to some one of these communities of opinion. This conformity makes them not false in a few particulars, authors of a few lies, but false in all particulars. Their every truth is not quite true. Their two is not the real two, their four not the real four: so that every word they say chagrins us and we know not where to begin to set them right. Meantime nature is not slow to equip us in the prison uniform of the party to which we adhere. We come to wear one cut of face and figure, and acquire by degrees the gentlest asinine expression. There is a mortifying experience in particular, which does not fail to wreak itself also in the general history; I mean "the foolish face of praise", the forced smile which we put on in company where we do not feel at ease, in answer to conversation which does not interest us. The muscles, not spontaneously moved but moved by a low usurping willfulness, grow tight around the outline of the face, with the most disagreeable sensation."
I'm going to practice this courage by speaking out not just about the problems in the military and with the war, but also the problems with individuals with blinders on.
I believe that the war in Iraq is wrong. It was unnecessary, illegal, and it hurts America. That's why I'm a member of IVAW, Iraq Veterans Against the War. But that does not make the insurgency right. The insurgency is not noble. They are not, as some would have you believe, just like the Americans fighting the British for their freedom. This isn't a popular opinion, because many peace activists fear that by talking about the evils of the insurgency, we'll arouse sympathy for the war. Some even call it 'racist', saying that they don't have the right to 'defend themself'.
This is morally disingenuous. The Iraqi insurgency bears little similarity to our revolutionary fighters. Our revolutionary fighters never went around cutting off people's heads, or killing women for talking to soldiers, or throwing acid in children's faces. We didn't target civilians in the revolutionary war. They weren't full of religious fundamentalists-and since when has the activist community supported religious fundamentalists?
We do not have to beatify evil men in order to say that the war is wrong, or that it hurts America, or our military, or our national defense, or even that it hurts innocents. And any peace activist that mourns and condemns the death of Iraqis while refusing to mourn and condemn the death of soldiers is a hypocrite.
I remember once holding a fellow soldier as he cried about the young kid he had to kill because the kid was aiming a weapon at the soldiers. It's a terrible thing. Is it the soldier's fault? No, it's not. It's whoever put a weapon of lethal force in the hands of a child and told them to go hunting Americans. And we have to condemn that equally as much as we have to condemn the officer who gives the order that there is a free-fire zone in effect. We cannot pick and choose.
I would like to end this post with the following:
I condemn the war in Iraq, and politician's willingness to sacrifice innocent lives.
I condemn the insurgency in Iraq, and their willingess to sacrifice innocent lives.
I condemn anyone who would try to whitewash evil for the sake of political expediency.
I condemn anyone who thinks that the United States government is so wrong they have to destroy it by force.
I condemn anyone who tries to destroy the civil rights of another by force.
And I encourage everyone else in the activist and anti-Iraq war community to take, post, and share via email the following pledge:
"My opposition to the Iraq War does not translate into support for the violent actions of the insurgency. American soldiers did not create the war, and are not my enemy. Though I disagree with the war, these soldiers deserve and have my support. I will neither encourage nor tolerate any actions against them, and will refuse to work with any individual who does."