Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Dissent

"..is the highest form of patriotism." --Thomas Jefferson

I was idling about on my computer this morning, when I came across something that absolutely turned my stomach.

At UC Santa Cruz recently, a group of students protested military recruiters on their campus. They sent a press release to, among other places, the website of conservative pundit Michelle Malkin. The aforementioned press release contained the names and contact information of students involved, and in Ms. Malkin's case, the information was published directly onto the front page of her website. A slew of vitriolic hate mail and death threats ensued, directed toward these students, and the results are enough to make my skin crawl.

I am not merely angry over this turn of events. I am livid. To think that these people are the ones I swore to defend, even serve with, fills me with disgust and rage. Malkin has displayed a level of pettiness and cruelty toward her critics that is absolutely inappropriate for someone in such a position within the media establishment. Furthermore, anyone who claims to have served in the military, yet has the GALL to harass and threaten mere students, has completely forgotten their military bearing. Their actions fly completely against the core values of their respective branches, and these people should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. I hope that anyone involved in such atrocious behavior is found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Allow me to explain myself. I am, above all things, a loyal and devoted soldier. I love my country, and I love the Army. I believe that enlisting is one of the most important things that we as citizens can do. But I also feel that we are patriotically obligated to object in the public forum to those policies which we feel contradict our American values. Peaceful assembly for the redress of grievances is both a right and a civic duty, and while I do not disagree with military recruiters traveling to college campuses, I do respect those students who had the courage to stand up and voice their feelings.

I understand that our country is deeply divided on American foreign policy. I also understand that, for someone who has made the sacrifice and served our nation, hearing public criticism of the military can arouse powerful feelings of resentment. But taking a civil matter and turning it into a personal one is a shameful and undignified response, especially when death threats are involved. This is not the way that Americans are supposed to behave.

I am deeply disappointed in Ms. Malkin for her irresponsible actions--she should have known better. I refuse to resort to partisan personal sniping, but hiding behind the fact that the release contained personal information shows a contemptible lack of judgement on her part. If she has any respect for her readers and critics, she will admit wrongdoing in this matter and let it go.

I am no "wingnut." I am no "moonbat." I am both a soldier and a proud American citizen, but I was also raised to respect the right of ALL Americans to speak their views. This kind of hideous manipulation of public sentiment for personal gain is disgusting, regardless of on which side of the fence it occurs. Shame on you, Ms. Malkin, and shame on those of you who forgot your bearing. I am ashamed to call you my brothers.

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