I'm happy to see the enormous participation in the antiwar demonstrations. The commitment to war by this president and others, coupled with our systematic loss of rights and freedoms and the declining economy, continues to be acceptable to many in this country.
The basis for this acceptance is a continued reintroduction of the fears resulting from 9/11. We must understand that war and loss of freedoms will not alleviate these fears but instead will create losses greater than any of us imagine. Since electing a Republican majority, our choices now are public demonstrations to gain attention and present alternatives that our elected officials have failed to introduce.
Being a World War II Marine Corps veteran, I have serious reservations on the direction that the Bush administration is leading in its adventure to war with Iraq. Several months ago we were regularly told of terrorist threats in this country, e.g., to the Statue of Liberty or the Brooklyn Bridge. Now, the Bush administration doesn't want to distract from Iraq and the internal threats have subsided. Are we being led down a primrose path?
Re "Antiwar Activists Join Forces," Jan. 19: The right to proactively organize and demonstrate against our government and its policies is the most fundamental cornerstone of our freedom. It has been said that the 1st Amendment to the Constitution is the most important sentence ever written in the history of the world, in English or any other language. But apparently it offers no guarantee that the dissenting messages will make any sense.
The mere fact that a Ramsey Clark can freely go to the center of our nation's capital, shout without evidence for articles of impeachment to be brought against the president and not get the proverbial "knock on his door in the middle of the night" makes Jessica Lange's contention that Americans have been "silenced" sound unbelievably silly. Have we lost that much perspective on how most of the world actually lives, and what it took to make things so radically different here?
At least Tom Hayden got it right: "It's not easy to be a dissenter. Never has been." It certainly isn't if the best the antiwar forces have to offer consists of tired "blood for oil" cliches, clever wordplays by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, the obvious agendas of a ragtag collection of fringe groups and a pious refusal to truly understand the issues at stake. The left deserves better.
Everett Linden Midkiff III
I am a 59-year-old grandmother who attended the antiwar protests in L.A. on Jan. 11 and in San Francisco on Jan. 18. The people who attended are those you would find in your local supermarket or on your own block. They came by themselves or with friends. Thirty busloads of people traveled all night from L.A. to San Francisco. There were senior citizens, young families, people representing all religious faiths, students and teachers. There was a group of Vietnam War vets.
I have served in the Peace Corps and been a public school teacher. I am now a businesswoman. In short, I am just an ordinary citizen who loves my country. I believe it is my patriotic duty to protest the possible U.S. attack on Iraq and will continue to join my neighbors in peaceful dissent.
Joyce L. Evans
I was thinking of going to a local pro-war rally or march, as I didn't want our president to think he was alone in his position. I searched high and low and could only find two events. One was a small squadron of killer bees located outside of Temecula and the other was a platoon of red soldier ants in Corbin Canyon, my very own backyard. When I approached them regarding participation, the bees stung me and the ants bit me. Oh well, better to stay home and watch pro wrestling on TV; it's not nearly as violent.
Marvin H. Biers
Recently I attended my first antiwar rally. I went not to criticize my country's brave troops but to let my "leaders" know I consider war a horrific, immature political reaction that leads to significant personal gain but not to lasting world peace.
I also went seeking an answer to the current world crisis. As I marched, I looked but did not see one. As I followed, I listened but did not hear one. Discouraged, I looked inside myself for an answer: God should not only bless America but the world as well. And we, as a nation, should begin to sing a different tune.
Jonathan Hans Deutsch