Letters

Readers respond to "The Antiwar Movement Prepares to Escalate" by Michelle Goldberg.


Salon Staff
March 16, 2003 1:56AM (UTC)

[Read "The Antiwar Movement Prepares to Escalate" by Michelle Goldberg.]

As a proud member of the U.S. Air Force Security Forces, I know firsthand the intensive ground combat and airbase defense training that my brothers-in-arms have received and will employ when faced with a base "infiltration" at Vandenberg.

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I can assure you that the only Air Force resource Mr. Lumsdaine will become familiar with is blisteringly warm asphalt, of which he will get a very close look.

Air Force resources are divided into various "protection levels," from 1 to 4. Each has an appropriate response force. Depending on Mr. Lumsdaine's targets, he may be in for a very bad day.

Infiltrating the base, in itself, is a tragically foolish undertaking. Unlike Army bases, Air Force installations have secured perimeters, and can be sealed off by simply closing the gates. Once those gates are closed, nobody is permitted transit, and "sneaking in" involves penetrating well-fortified defenses. If invaders attempted to climb the fence in a distant area, the security cameras and motion sensors would catch him, but the Security Forces sentries -- well armed, well trained, and well positioned -- would already have him apprehended.

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Supposing his assault team by some shockingly unlikely happenstance breached outer security, he would still have to contend with multiple sentries on every resource, heavily armed mobile fire teams relentlessly sweeping the area, military working dogs and routine patrols constantly in pursuit.

When we're not deployed overseas to kill terrorists, life stateside can be pretty uneventful. The idea of hoards of activists hellbent on Air Force resource destruction has hundreds of Security Forces troops salivating with anticipation.

Our berets were earned, not issued. Mr. Lumsdaine is about to find out why.

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-- Sgt. A. Brown

I don't know what I intend to do after it starts, but I do know that there is no compromise on this particular war. Given the fact that the administration and their press collaborators won't hold Bush accountable for the rebuilding of Afghanistan or the peace process, I doubt they will be held to democracy in Iraq either. I have no reason to believe democracy is the plan anyway. It would only give the impression that forcing democracy on another country is a legitimate reason for Americans to go to war. It isn't.

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Face it! This is just a fucking mess, and I fear it won't end until Bush is out of office. I am praying for a scandal, so we can impeach him. There have been several opportunities, but the corporate press hasn't done anything with them. They could have done something with the Jim Crow vote purge. They didn't. They could have done something with the U.N. spy ring. They didn't. They could have done something with the recent deaths at Guantánamo. They didn't. Supreme Court Justice Scalia has given several speeches indicating that he really believes in the "Divine Right of Kings." The Constitution has been suspended. There is no fourth estate.

If there are institutions in this country that can hold Bush's feet to the fire, they have failed already on several occasions.

-- Jennifer Brice

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I am very much against this war. I see it as an exercise in extreme hubris similar to that seen in ancient Rome, undertaken by a dangerously thoughtless administration blinded by its self-righteous sense of moral certitude.

Nevertheless, I simply cannot countenance -- once the war begins -- any attempt to disrupt the operations of our military. Civil disobedience has a grand tradition in our history, but civil disobedience is predicated on doing no physical harm to others. Interfering with military operations at Vandenburg or anywhere else may well do grave physical harm to our men and women in Iraq -- men and women who did not choose to be there.

My brother, a reservist, has been called up and is over there now. He does not like this war any more than the planners of the Vandenburg action. But if the Vandenburg players stop a vital communication from going out that results in my brother's injury or death, they will be no better than the warmongers in this White House. Both will be equally morally corrupt, guilty of playing games with the lives of others simply to impose their will.

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The planners of the Vandenburg action display the same sense of self-righteous moral certitude that is taking us into this war in the first place. Shame on them.

-- Rod Proctor

Thank goodness the antiwar protesters are simply going to demonstrate, and in some cases engage in civil disobedience, in the United States. That's a much safer course of action than going to Iraq as a volunteer human shield.

It's a win-win situation: Protesters won't be mistreated or killed, and the U.S. government implicitly proves its case that anyone is safer in America as a dissident than as a Iraqi subject under Saddam's regime these past 25 years.

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-- Rich Black

Paul Berman is right. Over years of activism, I've come to realize that alienating people does not win them over to your cause. This is so self-evident that I can only feel embarrassed and foolish for not seeing it sooner.

Some people will never learn, I fear. Here in Austin, protesters rallied on the sidewalks of the Congress Avenue Bridge and received a constant stream of supportive honks. Sure enough, a few morons then decided to block the bridge -- thus pissing off their own potential allies.

As always, the left is its own worst enemy.

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-- Lee Nichols

The article by Michelle Goldberg has inched me along an understanding that I hope becomes reality. We have the worst president in office in our history as a country, and our electoral process and education of our electorate is crippled. Where the war with Iraq is a blossom of our present system, our electorate and electoral processes make up the roots.

But the flower is terminal at best. Bush will fail spectacularly, which will hopefully disgrace the Republican and Democratic parties enough to provide a small window for the public to make governmental changes that improve government's accountability to the public.

There is little wisdom in attacking the master's dogs and disrupting his telephone service. Such pettiness makes the master look better than he deserves. Instead, set in motion the process of impeachment and invest heavily in it.

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-- James Lambert

My father was a Marine and my children serve in various armed forces in order that people who are against this war, and any other, have a right to express those opinions.

What they do not have a right to do is to endanger any member of our armed forces.

If at any time protesters succeed in shutting down Vandenburg's ability to communicate with those soldiers and sailors and cause the loss of even one life, the individuals should be tried and executed for treason.

-- Merry Longsworth

It's interesting that one of the protesters states his representatives are ignoring him. Did he consider that perhaps his representatives are paying attention to the majority in the United States who are in favor of a military response?

I certainly hope the protesters who are willing to be arrested for what they believe in have more fortitude than most of the human shields who left Iraq soon after arriving.

-- I.M. Thejman

While I understand the anger of the antiwar movement, the actions outlined in this article cross the line from loyal opposition to aiding an enemy in a time of war. Do these people really want to give aid and comfort to Saddam?

Sure, sometimes "the system" stinks. But remember what Winston Churchill said: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all others."

-- Dawson Lewis


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