|Hayward Daily Review, 06/27/05|
The continued criticisms of Mayor Cooper's Memorial Day remarks demonstrate a myopic view of the deployment of our military. When we ask our forces to undertake a mission, we must above all do so only in the interest of protecting our legitimate rights as a nation. This does not include rearranging foreign governments to suit our economic and political interests. It is neither unpatriotic nor disrespectful to question the motives of an administration that may be placing our military in harm's way unnecessarily.
Memorial Day is intended to honor Americans who have served and often paid the ultimate price in defending our country. Above all, we owe them the guarantee that we will never ask their sacrifice for anything less than the legitimate survival of our nation. World War II was exactly that. Vietnam and Iraq are clearly not in that category. We must question the wisdom of using our forces inappropriately in the best spirit of democracy and the values for which America should truly stand. That list should be truth, justice, and freedom.
The continued failure of critics to accept that we, as citizens of a democracy, are responsible for the actions of our government is troubling. While those who support the Bush administration tenaciously defend our actions in Iraq, our troops are beginning to ask why they are there. We owe it to them to question the motives of the administration that sent them into a morass of ethnic and religious violence. It is the very height of patriotism to question the true reasons for this action in the name of those who have given their lives legitimately defending America. The unrelenting criticism of dissent does a disservice to the values for which those we honor at Memorial Day ceremonies fought and died.