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Hernando letters: Peace protests are patriotic

Re: Peace protesters far from peaceful | March 24 letter

Peace protests are patriotic

Enough already!

My heart goes out to every parent, grandparent, child, spouse, significant other or just plain friend who has lost someone in this unjust war we are waging in Iraq. However, I am sick and tired of my patriotism being criticized, or my true heartfelt support of these fine women and men being undermined, because I did not and do not support this war.

I'm sorry the letter writer felt the protesters were not courteous. I was there for two hours and did not witness any disrespect whatsoever on the protesters' parts. Perhaps it occurred before I came or after I left. I can tell the letter writer that every time I wear a peace sign or a "Stop the unjust war in Iraq'' T-shirt, folks certainly don't have a problem letting me know I'm not showing respect to them or theirs while I am shopping at Wal-Mart or Winn-Dixie.

I have a friend in Iraq. I have a friend's son about to be deployed to Iraq. Neither one wants to be there. They both would prefer going to Afghanistan, where they truly feel a difference (though no less dangerous) could and would be made. They are good soldiers though and go where they are told.

This war in Iraq is unjust. We were lied to about the reasons for it. I don't support the administration that put us in this mess. If you believe otherwise, please at least have the gumption to say that. Don't question my patriotism or my support of the poor folks deployed there.

God bless America, and God bless our troops, no matter where they are, no matter the reason they are there. May they all come home safely.

James M. McHan,

Ridge Manor

Re: Peace protesters far from peaceful | March 24 letter

Try walking in

a pacifist's shoes

Some people just sit around and complain. Some hide from the truth in denial or by use of entertainment. However, some still believe in the beauty and promise of democracy. They take to the streets to protest the illogical and outrageous shenanigans of our current government. I believe they do want your kids and all kids brought home safely.

Whenever you have a large crowd of people, some uncontrollable rowdies show up (or are planted). It is inaccurate to judge all the crowd by them. I've found that the people I've met at protests are intelligent, dedicated, caring and brave. They're willing to take time to do what they feel is their patriotic duty. We do not see warfare as the "mature" choice when we know that more positive options exist.

I was not at the Brooksville peace demonstration on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, but I found the letter by military mom Jan Zabel offensive and presumptive. I have experienced many vigils for peace and have been verbally accosted and sworn at, with nasty gestures to boot. In my experience people who support the war usually are militant and combative. Even though Ms. Zabel portrays the moms as innocents, what does she mean by writing that the Gold Star mom "didn't take any lip from anyone"?

I am a pacifist. Do I ever get angry ? Of course! I do not condone hateful talk or obscenities, and I'll never yell in anyone's face. Violence never solves issues. It's unfortunate if it has come to the experience that she described. But I ask Ms. Zabel to put herself in the shoes of the frustrated pacifists. Perhaps they were not so "hateful" as they were angry. Don't people who want peace also have a right to anger and frustration? Jesus (the Prince of Peace) was so angry at the money changers in the temple that he drove them out with a whip.

We are frustrated that the sixth year of a war, based on lies, has begun. We are frustrated that we are spending our hard-earned tax dollars on this misguided war while the economy is suffering and the problems here at home get pushed aside.

Understandably, your concerns go with your children, Ms. Zabel, but so do ours. I would not sacrifice my son to Bush's war. My father has a Purple Heart from World War II and recently the Department of Veterans Affairs cut his benefits really low (after all these years) until my brother (a Vietnam War veteran) intervened. How sad that some vets don't have sons to speak for them.

But the war protesters are trying. So, we find ourselves on different sides of an issue, both convinced we are correct.

Jennifer Sullivan, Spring Hill

Re: Peace protesters far from peaceful | March 24 letter

Support troops, but not the war

It is my understanding that the antiwar activists promoted this event and Jan Zabel and her group decided to show up and be confrontational. She could have at least been honest about why she was there. There were some war supporters who were confrontational and abusive, but we are used to that and usually do not write letters crying about it.

The war supporters were chanting "Remember 9/11". Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and the president has even admitted so. It goes to show that if you keep repeating the same thing over and over, you are bound to believe it.

The war supporters are to be commended for supporting the troops, but we cannot continue to stand idly by while more of our kids are killed for a war being waged against a country that never attacked us. We ask that the people who support the troops, but not the war, like Ms. Zabel, join us. Our country has had enough divisiveness and we all must unite if we are to bring an end to this war.

Peggy Moore, Spring Hill

Re: Peace protesters far from peaceful | March 24 letter

Purpose was to disrupt the event

Jan Zabel's letter did no service to herself or the people who were at the fifth anniversary observance of the Iraq war who stood on both sides of the issue.

I remind Ms. Zabel, who feigned innocence and played the victim so well in her complaining letter, that the fifth anniversary Iraq War event was organized by a coalition of peace groups that expected to be alone in its protest, as we have done so many times before in many locations throughout Hernando County and other jurisdictions.

Ms. Zabel, Dee Mills and their colleagues apparently took it upon themselves to attend the antiwar event with opposing ideas, despite the fact our coalition had been organizing it for three months. It appears to have been their group's intention to confront us and to disrupt our event, not vice versa, and that they did with gusto. To then write a letter to complain about being a victim at such an event begs the question, Ms. Zabel.

Since the "prowar, protroop" group of 25 people occupied the corner closest to the courthouse, our larger group of 50 to 75 demonstrators ended up dispersing ourselves to four different locations, as far away as one block to the south corner. Our dispersed groups returned toward the end of the two-hour demonstration only for a group picture, on the opposite southwest corner from where the "protroop demonstrators" were (clearly seen in the Times' photograph accompanying Ms. Zabel's letter).

After posing for our own photographer we recrossed the street and passed behind the line of "prowar" demonstrators on our way by U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's office window to get to the courthouse steps. However, we found ourselves immediately pounced upon and harassed verbally and physically by the Zabel-Mills group as we walked by on the sidewalk. Many in our group reacted in an explosive fashion, which was only natural, as they felt under siege from the verbal barrage of the American flag flyers. The rest of the peace group continued on to the courthouse steps.

Ms. Zabel's explanation of what occurred to her — being called names, having obscenities yelled in her face and called "hateful'' — could have just as easily been the description our group suffered from the aggressive, obnoxious, bullying group's tactics with whom she participated. In my opinion, both groups were at fault.

Ultimately, Ms. Zabel, you took it upon yourself, at your own risk, to go to someone else's event, holler slogans and epithets and wave banners that were directly contrary to the theme of the event of the larger 50 to 75 antiwar protesters who were there. What did you expect?

Brian Moore, chairman

Naturecoast Coalition

for Peace and Justice

Re: Peace protesters far from peaceful | March 24 letter

Count all the war's casualties

I was a peace protester at the referenced rally in Brooksville, and later in Tampa. There was no name-calling or any kind of hostility in my presence at either place. The police had no need to come to anyone's rescue and seemed to be totally impartial at both places. We thanked them for their presence and courtesy at both places.

One point that bothers me is when people say 4,000 have now died in the Iraq war. Who are they counting, just the ones that die in Iraq before they are airlifted to various hospitals? If someone dies of wounds obtained in Iraq in Landstuhl Hospital in Germany, for instance, are they still a casualty of Iraq? I think every death should be counted.

We have no idea how many children and other civilians have died in Iraq. President Bush said civilians and Iraqi casualties weren't going to be counted.

I simply carry a peace sign. Peace is important to me year-round, every day, everywhere. My dream is of peace, with the young Americans in uniform alive and well and back with their families, making lives for themselves. There are so many better things they could do than serve in Iraq: go to college, join the Peace Corps or just work to rebuild America.

Americans need help too.

Doris R. Taylor, Brooksville

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Hernando letters: Peace protests are patriotic 03/27/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 28, 2008 1:46pm]
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