Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 4:34 pm

Destroying the Constitution in order to save it?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lex @ 4:34 pm

(This post originally appeared on my News & Record blog The Lex Files on this date. Comments are as they originally appeared but may be dated inaccurately. may show up if I can get them to, but I’m having a little trouble so far.)

The American Legion has declared an end to the “end the war” movement. Really:

NEW YORK — The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group’s national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war, constitutional protections be damned.”The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples,” Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group’s national convention in Honolulu.

The delegates vowed to use whatever means necessary to “ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism.”

Cadmus added: “It would be tragic if the freedoms our veterans fought so valiantly to protect would be used against their successors today as they battle terrorists bent on our destruction, so we’re just going to act as if those freedoms don’t exist and never did.”

OK, I made up the part in bold. But when fewer than 40 percent of Americans approve the president’s handling of Iraq and almost 60 percent say some or all American troops should be pulled out of the country, and at least one prominent, likely GOP candidate for president in 2008 thinks we’re losing the war, declaring “war” on antiwar protests strikes me as a bit presumptuous, whatever your politics.

Besides, the ominous language of “any means necessary” notwithstanding, is the American Legion really prepared to have its members go to jail for assault, or worse? Is it going to be paying their lawyers? Paying damages to the victims when the inevitable lawsuits come rolling in against it?

I’m on record: “You break it, you bought it” pretty much summarizes what I think the U.S. position toward Iraq ought to be right now. We owe Iraqis more than chaos. But, unlike the American Legion, I also understand that serious, reasonable people can disagree on this issue — and, more importantly, must remain free to do so if this country is to find its best path forward.

If the Legion needs a reminder of what we’re fighting for, and it clearly does, it could do much worse than to read one veteran of Iraq’s take on that subject, here.

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