In response to “Should we support our troops?” (Jan. 31, p. 4)

Use your ballot

Should we support our troops? The answer: absolutely, unequivocally, yes. The men and women who govern our country were democratically elected, by and for the people. Our citizens, our vote, gave them the responsibility to protect our shores and preserve the integrity of our great nation. Our men and women in uniform have volunteered – indeed, made great sacrifices – so that our leaders can accomplish this essential goal. They have sacrificed so you don’t have to; they are the means to the freedom our Constitution guarantees you. Their sacrifices, and the sacrifices of the men and women who served before them, protect your right to publish such a column.

They are not responsible for the bombs and bullets, Mr. Kampf: you are. We all are. Our democracy gives all of us a voice, and it also requires we respect and honor the choices of our fellow citizens. Even if you supported John Kerry – as I did – when you exercised your right to vote, you must realize with every right comes responsibility. We, the people of the United States of America, elected the men and women who took us to war, and for that we are responsible.

Speak out against leaders you disagree with, Mr. Kampf. Use your voice, your pen and your vote. But spitting on our troops is spitting on our freedom and on our country. Would you spit on the flag that allows you to express yourself so freely? A better question: would you spit on your ballot?

-Kasie Hunt, junior

A clear line

In response to Danny Kampf, the apparent confusion seems to be based on a moral question. In the military, morality is not a matter of choice. Therefore, many soldiers fall under the same predicament, whereas their willingness to carry out their duties falls prey to their personal beliefs in terms of the effects of those duties. This is an internal struggle that each soldier may or may not undertake, but the reality is, as was stated in the column, that this is an all-volunteer army. Each person serving in Iraq, and around the world, signed up to protect and to serve this country. This is a valiant cause that many of us, including myself, have chosen not to pursue. And therefore, while we may not agree with decisions that politicians in this city, specifically regarding foreign policy and war, we cannot blur the line that separates it from the military. It is black and white. There are policy-makers at one end of the spectrum, and there are implementers of policy at the other end of the spectrum. The gray area between the two is the bureaucracy that can be held accountable. This should be our focus as citizens, and as students in the nation’s capitol. We should not forget where we are.

-Amin Al-Sarraf, junior

Losing our compass

Danny Kampf’s article is a trip down the strange and painfully contorted logic of the far left, which has taken hold of the Democratic Party. While one can only guess at its overall meaning, the meandering article hits the key point in the bottom fourth paragraph by noting, “16,000 and 20,000 Iraqi civilians have lost their lives as a direct result of this war. Where is our support for them? It could be argued that support for both the troops and the citizens of Iraq is not mutually exclusive, but in the wake of Abu Ghraib and the recent Human Rights Watch report, this argument is made with ever increasing difficulty.”

First of all, the author fails to note how many of these people killed have been terrorists, aptly mislabeling them simply citizens. Then he assumes that somehow that all these deaths are completely the fault of our troops, again forgetting that the terrorists have largely been the ones killing civilians on purpose. Yet even if we grant him all of his “facts,” we face the tough reality that war is war and compared to almost every other war this has been a largely collateral-free effort. From plush offices and dorms, it is easy to condemn troops abroad fighting people who would wipe every American from the face of the planet if we let them. Yet again, he fails to acknowledge the seminal success of the Iraqi elections. Surely, if anything, the United States is recognizing and supporting the civilians of Iraq. Even the New York Times, no ally of the war, praised the election and the will of the Iraqi people.

The clich?d use of Abu Ghraib is the standard punch line for these types of mindless diatribes, but even then the author performs a moral calculus that is simply unfathomable. The acts of Abu Ghraib are inexcusable, but at the worst it was humiliation and embarrassment of guilty terrorists. The terrorists in Iraq kill and maul innocent civilians. When we become incapable of telling the difference between the two is when we lose any moral compass whatsoever.

After months of campaigning, liberals liked to say they were against the war but for the troops. Well now that the left is showing its true colors, just like they did disgracing the honorable Vietnam veterans, it’s no wonder the vast majority of soldiers out there fighting for our freedoms voted for Bush in November. You may have filled 49 percent of the country, but you won’t fool the people actually fighting for liberty.

-Mark Harris, sophomore

Appropriate analysis

Praise be to you for letting poor confused Danny Kampf use your pages as an “introspective outlet” with regards to the war in Iraq. Mastering the art of moral relativism and equivalency is no mean feat, but it cannot be said that The Hatchet and the majority of our student body does not try.

Kampf’s characterization of Operation Iraqi Freedom as “immoral” is evermore appropriate in light of the January 30 elections held in Iraq. After all, Saddam and his posse were disenfranchised, and you thought Ohio was a travesty!

The “muddy water” of the debate over Iraq is not something to traverse lightly; after all, you might get your Farragamos dirty. Keep working though, and I’m sure you can find a way to get back to your “black and white polemic.” Let me know if you have trouble though. I can give a call to Zarqawi on your behalf. Surely he will show you the way.

-Lauren C. O’Leary, junior

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