Readers respond to "Kamiya vs. O'Reilly," by the editors of Salon.

Published April 26, 2003 10:40PM (EDT)

[Read "Kamiya vs. O'Reilly."]

I am a middle-aged man. I own guns. I am a civil libertarian. I agree with the war on terrorism, and I support the rebuilding of Afghanistan. I disagreed with the invasion of Iraq, and literally felt pained for our troops there.

And I agreed with everything Gary Kamiya expressed in his article about celebrating victory in Iraq while being deeply ambivalent about the adventure.

-- Jay Elliot

I find in reading Kamiya, and Table Talk posts, that it seems the war is not so much the issue, as Bush prosecuting the war. The "fictitious" president, Bushie, the shrub, the frat-boy coward -- what George Will referred to as the "condescension" of liberals toward Republican presidents -- seems to be the undercurrent of liberal thought.

There seems to be a fear that maybe Bush has more vision and intelligence than anybody on the left gave him credit for. As a moderate, I don't vote for presidential candidates who assure me that they will watch the polls. I vote for who I think will be the best leader.

Bill O'Reilly doesn't agree with Kamiya, and to Salon's astonishment, he said so in a public forum. He didn't say it politely, because it is not his style. On the other hand, no government agency has moved to shut down Salon, Kamiya's tongue has not been cut out, and no black helicopters have been sighted.

And Salon, if you are so evenhanded, then give us more content on the "wing-nut fedayeen" of the left, like those who wish "a million Mogadishus" on American forces.

-- T. Cunningham

A lifelong left-liberal Democrat, I was in favor of the war on the basis of overturning the monstrous Saddam regime, but I've been feeling sorely alone in my social circle lately. As I told my peace-marching friends, I thought the left had lost its collective mind. I welcome the thoughtful independence of Kamiya's editorial, and its plea for decency and candor from all sides. Nobody's path through this dilemma has been clear of minefields.

-- Doris Lane

Gary Kamiya's article on his feelings about the outcome of the war was fair and balanced, and for media opponents to have taken some of his comments out of context was despicable. I supported the war very strongly, but I also appreciate Salon's willingness to air both sides of the issue, including conservative viewpoints.

Having said that, I would also add that in the intolerance that is now showing up among some conservative pundits, the left is simply getting back a dose of its own medicine. As George F. Will once accurately observed, "Liberals favor diversity in everything but thought." After years of shoving political correctness down everyone's throats with self-righteous hysteria, the left are the last who should be entitled to complain about intolerance from anyone. Kamiya's reasoned, candid comments are the exception from the left, by no means the rule.

In any case, it remains true that Salon has made obvious efforts to be scrupulously fair to both sides. I agree with them that it is time for O'Reilly to engage in a real debate in a forum where he can't just yank the mike, and I hope he does.

-- Michael Huggins

Kamiya's article seems to be a half-hearted admission that he was wrong. It is so blatantly obvious that freeing the Iraqi people was the right thing to do -- as he points out. Embrace that you were wrong to criticize while our troops were there fighting for their lives.

Before you brand me a conservative, let me state that I am actually an individual that is tired of people going on television and putting their "spin" on the issue unchecked.

Kamiya -- embrace that Bush did a great thing. Admit that the world is a better place today and in the future because he is president. Then if you don't agree with what he does next, voice your opinion with credibility. Get on O'Reilly and state your case. I think you made some good points -- but don't go halfway; it's not credible.

-- Dave Kozuki

Once again those who did none of the heavy lifting in a tremendous ordeal think they deserve to revel in it. I enjoy the variance of articles in this Web magazine. However the idealistic pacifism frequently evident in your news makes me shake my head.

-- Rick Daughety

Thank you, Gary Kamiya, for so articulately expressing the mixed feelings of antiwar Americans like me. I read your article when it was originally posted, and could not have agreed with it more. I hate the war, but I have military friends in Iraq and fervently hope the war goes well for our troops.

I also cannot agree more that there is no reason for you to subject yourself to the intimidation and humiliation that anyone left of Newt Gingrich is treated with on O'Reilly's show. Let O'Reilly try to make his case in a forum where one's ability to make a thoughtful, cogent, articulate argument is more important than his ability to out-shout his "guest" (or rather, victim). Then we'll see how he fares.

I can only believe that fans of O'Reilly's show like it for its resemblance to professional wrestling -- it's loud, obnoxious and rigged. All he needs to complete the analogy is a set of red satin tights.

-- Karen Kasper

I feel sorry for Salon magazine and Gary Kamiya. Politics aside, I believe that a majority of Americans cannot appreciate right now an argument, for personal gain, that includes any type of statement about lamenting that the war went well for the U.S.

Recently a Ranger, Nino Livaudais, was buried because he went forward to help a pregnant lady as she screamed for help. A suicide bomb was detonated and now Livaudais' children will not have their father anymore.

Can Salon and Gary understand we are still grieving?

I believe Gary's view to be well thought out and well intentioned; however, sometimes we do not say what we actually feel so we don't hurt others further.

So, Gary and Salon, I call on you to apologize and be mindful of the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and those agonizing over the thoughts of their loved ones still in harm's way.

-- Jim Gutierrez

Those of us who still believe we have a right to explore the ethical ambiguities of conflict and to delve into our innermost responses to this war salute Gary Kamiya's thoughtful, sensitive and honest piece. Given the pervasive atmosphere of moral brutalism today, it's heartening to find a voice that is not fueled by blustering certainty. Thank you, Mr. Kamiya, for reminding us that Americans are still free to think independently and be more than one-dimensional.

-- Katharine Sapper

By Salon Staff

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