In Richard Schmitz's My Turn of Feb. 24, he painted all those who marched against the rush to war with Iraq as supporters (consciously or unconsciously) of Saddam Hussein. He painted those seeking to express their concern over the Patriot Act through public (and publicly elected) forums as Far Left and "pretty much [on] the same ground that was held by pro-Nazi ideologues." How presumptuous! The very First Amendment that our founding forefathers saw fit to establish and protect in the Constitution was the guarantee of free speech. Nothing is more American and more fundamental to the continuation of America as a free society than respect for - and, if you disagree, at least toleration of - the right of citizens to publicly voice their convictions.
Nor can there be a more crucial time for public discourse than now when this country is debating the decision of whether to declare war on another country. Let Mr. Schmitz not forget that it is Saddam Hussein's Iraq, not the United States, where it's "my way or no way." I, too, want to see a regime change in Iraq and freedom for the Iraqi people. However, I adamantly disagree with Mr. Schmitz that, for a regime change ultimately to happen, it is necessary for people in the United States to emulate Saddam Hussein by fearing public debate and defaming anyone not in lockstep with the rush to war.