It is Sunday evening, and your report of last Friday's rally in support of U.S. troops in Iraq has been on my mind all day. I did not attend the rally - at the time I was caring for the young child of a friend who did attend. The rally an opportunity for us to gather together to express our support for the men and women who put their lives at risk when ordered into battle. These men and women deserve our respect and our prayers for a safe return to their families. I feel this way even though I believe this war at this time is a colossal mistake with unimaginable and unnecessary human and political costs.
The rally was reportedly organized by Rep. Bob Lynn of Eagle River, who was reported to have told the crowd that denouncing President Bush for ordering this war is the same as denouncing the troops. Rep. Lynn is flat out wrong. He equates patriotism and agreement with the war policy President Bush. If we examine our own history, however, we learn that one of our greatest patriots also spoke out against the war policy of the president then serving in the White House. This patriot spoke out against the war with Mexico at the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 12, 1848. He explained that a vote against the war "should not be given in mere party wantonness, and that the one given is justly censurable if it have no other or better foundation." Nevertheless, this man deeply opposed the war and was not afraid to say so publicly, even though many who agreed with him in private felt it safer to keep silent. This man was Abraham Lincoln. So, if Rep. Lynn believes that my opposition to the current president's war policies puts me in the same camp President Lincoln, I guess that's all right with me.