The E&P staff wrote that
Neuharth said if he were eligible to serve in Iraq, "I would do all I
could to avoid it." Neuharth also wrote in his weekly column for the
paper that America's New Year's Resolution should be to bring the troops
home "sooner rather than later."
Neuharth, who is 80, recalled his duty as an infantryman in France,
Germany and the Philippines during World War II as "highly moral." But he
said that troops floundering around in the bloody Iraqi mess today were,
like those in Vietnam, thrust into an "ill-advised adventure by an unwise
commander-in-chief," and should be brought home post-haste.
The vitriolic response was immediate, and got the attention of editor Greg
Mitchell, who said E&P's little four-paragraph article "drew more letters
than virtually any story we have ever posted."
Mitchell made the strange conclusion that the vicious responses to
Neuharth's commentary (opinion) were mostly a result of Americans
increasingly hating or distrusting the press.
Although "hate" is a bit strong, it is true that as more Americans rouse
from their stupor and begin to compare what the mainstream US media says
is happening both here and abroad with what is actually happening -- it's
easy to see that they have ample reason to distrust the entire Fourth
Mitchell did say, however, "Apparently, it is now an act of treason to
offer an editorial opinion on the Iraq war that goes against the
I agree that this uproar is primarily about stifling any sound of
criticism or dissent. And, it's frightening that, for some Americans, the
"conventional wisdom" is for the rest of us to just shut the hell up and
allow our uniformed citizens to make the ultimate sacrifice in peace --
Our duty is to be there, waving our flags, when they are shuttled back to
the US under cover of darkness, boxed up and ready to be buried. For those
Americans, that seems to be the only definition of "patriotism."
To give you an idea of this particular mindset, here are just a few
extracts from some of the letters
published in E&P on Dec.
Frank Butash, West Hartford, CT.:
“Apparently it's easier to run with jackals than to stand up for your
country when it needs support.”
Kenneth Genest: “They had two of these in World War 2. One was called
Tokyo Rose and the other Axis Sally. Their job was to discourage the
American soldiers. I see they have one now at USA Today.”
Jerry Martin, San Francisco, CA.: “Yet another self-defeating fool with a
large bank account shoots himself in the foot. Their dissent equals
treason. The terrorists got him just like all the other rich liberals who
side against our victory. They forget that wars end, and then the country
takes stock of who was where. I encourage the fool to keep mouthing
against our victory over the Muslim jihad, he'll pay the social price in
Peter Kessler: “And as for the good war, WW II, the lefties were
four-square for that one. Yes sir, they were saving the USSR, Stalin and
Communism. It's sad we didn't join Hitler until he wiped out the USSR.
Alger Hiss and the Uptown Daily Worker (The New York Times) be damned. I
see you've joined the club. Well, you're probably a founding member.”
Joe McBride, Fort Dodge, Iowa: “Mr. Neuharth, thanks to you and your
ignorance the terrorists are probably booking their flights to the U.S.
now! If we pull out of Iraq with the job unfinished the terrorists will be
bombing McDonalds, and blowing up malls and schools here, killing our
innocent men, women and children.”
Craig Wood, Waianae, Hawaii: “Today's press undermines our troops and
supports our enemies. They convince parents that supporting your President
is dangerous. They concentrate their ire on any fight that involves the
United States and ignore all others. Like the sex scandal in the Congo
with United Nations forces…. But, let some Army private put panties on an
Iraqi's head and all hell brakes (sic) loose.”
Duggan Flanakin, Austin, Texas: “Neuharth should be tried for treason
along with a lot of other blowhards who should be spending their energies
condemning the barbarism of our enemies, the same people who destroyed the
Mel Gibbs: “The Patriot Act will put both of you (Neuharth and Mitchell)
on trial for treason and convict and execute both of you as traitors for
running these stories in a time of war and it should be done on TV for
other communist traitors like you two to know we mean business. This is
war and you should be put in prison NOW for talking like this. Who the
hell do you people think you are? You give aid and comfort to our enemies
and aid them in murdering our proud soldiers. You people are a disgrace to
America. Your families should be put in prison with you, then be made to
leave and move to the Middle East ...This is a great Christian nation and
god wants us to lead the world out of darkness with great leaders like
President George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Communists like Al and Greg will
soon be in prison and on death row for your ugly papers. We won the
election and now you are mad. We own America and all the rights, you
people are trash, go back to Russia and Africa and take your friends with
before we put you on death row after a fair trial.”
Ah, yes. Good ol' Mel Gibbs --
giving Neuharth and Mitchell a choice of Lone Star punishment for
exercising their right of free speech. For daring to criticize the
commander-in-chief, they and their families can either go to prison and
then move on out to the Middle East -- or they and their friends can walk
the long, green mile on death row -- er, after a fair trial, of course.
One man who knows full well how this could play out is Desmond Tutu,
winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. Tutu was
by Arlene Getz for Newsweek's
Dec. 30 issue from his home in Johannesburg, South Africa.
When Getz asked him about Iraq, Tutu said, "Any normal human being ought
to be feeling considerable outrage and deep, deep, deep hurt for so-called
ordinary [Iraqi] people. We hardly ever hear about what the casualties
have been on that side. How I wish that politicians could have the courage
and the humility to admit that they have made mistakes. President Bush and
Prime Minister [Tony] Blair and whoever supported the invasion ought to at
least have the decency to say [they] went into this war because [they]
were given the wrong reasons for going to war."
Tutu also commented that most Americans didn't seem to worry too much
about the number of American soldiers who have died since Bush claimed the
war had ended.
He recalled that during the recent election campaign he was teaching in
Jacksonville, Fla., and was "shocked, because I had naively believed all
these many years that Americans genuinely believed in freedom of speech.
[But I] discovered there (in Fla) that when you made an utterance that was
remotely contrary to what the White House was saying, then they attacked
Think about that. Those who dare criticize the commander-in-chief will be
attacked. This is, in my opinion, the most important -- the most
critical -- reason we must not be
silenced. We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Al Neuharth, and
proclaim that our 2005 New Year's Resolution is -- Bring Them Home.
Sooner rather than later.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma freelance writer and a former
civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a columnist for
www.articlesandanswers.com, and a regular contributor for a variety of
Internet sites. Contact her at
firstname.lastname@example.org. © 2005 Sheila Samples
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