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Response: Legionnaires condemn war protests
Letter submitted by author, Sally Tarasoff (former CPT, US Army)
I understand that the Legion has condemned protests against the war. In reading the press release, I note that protesters are being lumped in with Jane Fonda, and seen basically as traitors. However, your release notes you respect the right to protest.
As a Legion member, I am incensed by this condemnation. Obviously, you all have your heads in the sand and think anti-war protesters in 2005 are just like those during the Vietnam war. Nothing could be further from the truth. I guarantee you that my fellow protesters, and those in Crawford as well, support our troops whole-heartedly. In fact, most of these people have done much more than put yellow "support your troops" magnets on their vehicles, they have put their money and efforts where their mouths are. They have sent boxes to the troops, contributed to the USO, written to support increased VA benefits, written to stop funding cuts to the military and military and veterans medical care, contributed to http://anysoldier.com/, visited patients in VA and military hospitals and Fisher Houses, and supported the families that reservists have left behind.
My other concern about your press release is the vow that your organization "will use whatever means necessary to ensure the united support of the American people for our troops and the global war on terrorism." What does that actually mean? It could (and does) sound threatening.
Those of who are protesting this war in Iraq, are not protesting action regarding global terrorism. We do question the invasion of Iraq, the lack of connection of Iraq to the events of 9-11 (although the administration continues to try to make that connection, even after admitting there was no connection) and now, the support for a draft Iraqi constitution that will take rights away from Iraqi women. Did 41 female military personnel die in Iraq, believing they were promoting freedom and democracy, only to have the country turn into an Islamic theocracy that denies women's rights? I think not. These are things worthy of protest.
You, in the American Legion, should be working harder to increase VA benefits, decrease the historic high waiting period for care, get the funding back for prosthetic research that was cut, get funding to cover the daily cost charged in military hospitals and Fisher Houses to ease the burden on our injured troops and their families. You should be urging Congress to cover costs in civilian hospitals for our injured troops, who have to stay far from home in a military hospital if there is not a facility near their homes. After all if "traitorous" anti-war protesters can do this, why can't you?
I now publically renounce my membership in the American Legion.
(former CPT, US Army)
Boerne, Texas 78006