There is no contradiction between being anti-war and supporting the troops.
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The U.S. military fights to protect our freedom. An anti-war protest does not contradict the primary goal of troops (to protect our freedom), only the means by which it is accomplished (violence). Our troops actually fight for protesters'' right to protest.
Some people may recognize the necessity of war, but not support this particular war, or the policies under which it began. Such a person could obviously support troops - just not this particular conflict. Alternatively, as in my case, I do not support the war on the grounds that we're protecting the United States from WMD (Bush's original reason), although I would support it on the grounds that we're liberating the Iraqi people (Bush's likely justification in the absence of substantial WMD).
A letter by Jason Soza (April 13) contains a logical fallacy known as a false analogy. Jason suggests that "Saying you are anti-war but support our troops is like saying you are against driving but support auto manufacturers, or that you are anti-logging but advocate for timber corporations, it just doesn't work." Both of the attempted analogies are fallacious. Troops (warriors if you will) are to war, as "drivers" are to driving - not auto manufacturers. Also, troops are to war as loggers are to logging - again, not timber corporations. These analogies are still far too simplistic. It is much more complicated than suggested by Mr. Soza.
During the Vietnam war protesters failed to recognize that their protest was against the policies of the government and not the individual troops who were fighting the war. Today, anti-war protesters are aware of that distinction, but as Mr. Soza demonstrates, many people still do not recognize the distinction.
Mr. Soza's letters seek to stifle debate. Any effort to undermine our right to free speech directly contradicts the very thing the hard-working men and women in the military are fighting for. I hope our troops return home swiftly and safely and I hope that vigorous debate on this war is not undermined in any way.
Jeffrey J. Early
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