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Who in their right mind is a war advocate?

Posted: Friday, November 09, 2007

This is in response to Phil Smith's letter on Oct. 29, "Responding to National Guard recruitment," and Sgt. Seth Beebe of the Army National Guard.

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To paraphrase a past politician, "I know Sgt. Beebe, and Sgt. Beebe is no war advocate."

I served in the Army National Guard from 1952 to 1973, the years of the Korean and Vietnam "police actions." I know the few hundred Army National Guard personnel, and every one of them was a peace advocate. Who in their right mind is a war advocate?

Smith said that "the recruitment-related activities of our organization are not protests; rather, they are an effort to ensure that high school students who are considering a career in the military have a full understanding of their options. Providing this information is not protesting, it is simply ensuring truth in recruiting."

Is Smith implying that he is telling the truth and Beebe is not? To me, this sounds like mincing words, much like asking what the definition of the word "is" is.

Like I said, I know Sgt. Beebe, and Sgt. Beebe is no liar.

I don't know Smith. He keeps saying, "We stand by our materials."

"Recently, in consideration of complaints, we have decided to quit using the brochure 'Battered by the Pentagon,' " Smith said.

That sounds like a flip-flop to me. It's too bad that Smith didn't know then what he knows now.

Finally, Smith closed his letter with the statement, "Attempts to interfere with our activities, ... will be vigorously contested." How does Smith define "vigorously contested?" That doesn't sound friendly to me - certainly not peaceful. Unless he's mincing words, it sounds like he's advocating war.

Veterans have no quarrel with peace advocates, U.S. Army veterans, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Army National Guard and other veteran organizations. All endorse the peace message.

The Army National Guard, the first military organization formed in the 13 colonies, was founded on Dec. 13, 1636, as the Massachusetts Bay Militia. It has been involved in all of America's conflicts for peace since that date.

Thomas Jefferson said, "For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security."

Freedom and peace are not free. God bless our veterans.

Lowell S. Barrick

Retired Army National Guard veteran

Juneau



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