Originally created 02/26/03

Dissension - or more?

They're going to court to tie the president's hands. They're turning their backs on the flag. They're calling their own president an "international terrorist." And some of them are traveling to Baghdad to put themselves between U.S. troops and the enemy.

And yet, Phil Donahue, George Clooney and others in the anti-war wing are complaining that they're being made by the media to appear unpatriotic.

Come again?

Some of these folks have completely lost sight of the difference between dissension and desertion.

Dissent all you like. Protest. Call your congressmen. Write the president. Send in a letter to the editor. Absolutely no one is telling anyone not to.

But here's where dissension becomes desertion:

When you conspicuously don't stand for the National Anthem - or, if you do, you turn your back on the flag. The latter has been done, amazingly, by Toni Smith, a Division III women's college basketball player for Manhattanville College in New York.

When you wear a T-shirt proclaiming your president is an "international terrorist," as 16-year-old Bretton Barber of Dearborn, Mich., did.

When you try to not only tie the president's hands in his ability to use force to protect America, but you circumvent your colleagues in Congress by filing a lawsuit against your president, as six Democratic members of Congress did. Mercifully, a judge summarily dismissed the frivolous case.

Incidentally, the case was filed over the plaintiffs' so-called "constitutional concerns" - but, ironically, attempted to stage an end-run around Congress, and in essence sought to have a federal judge run our foreign policy and play commander in chief. And these people had no "constitutional concerns" over that?

Dozens of Americans have either traveled to Iraq or expressed an intention to do so, to join others as "human shields" between our troops and Iraqis. Question: Since when did it become noble to give aid and comfort to the enemy, and to obstruct the missions of U.S. troops - putting those troops at risk?

Answer: Doing that is a lot closer to treason than nobility.

Dissent all you want. But when you turn your back on your country, that's not dissension. That's desertion.

And it's pretty darn close to unforgivable.


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