The American Legion has found the enemy, and it is antiwar protesters. At its national convention in Honolulu, Thomas Cadmus, the group’s national commander, spoke on behalf of a resolution that was passed unanimously. The resolution called for using whatever means necessary to “ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism.”
How do they propose to ensure such a thing? By shutting down the voices of dissent, of course. He did provide an approved means of redressing grievances, if you are unpatriotically disposed to doing so, by saying that, “…we hope that Americans will present their views in correspondence to their elected officials rather than by public media events.” In other words, you can write a private letter to your congressman, but you must not speak your views aloud or join with others who share your views (which in the case of the war in Iraq is the majority of Americans). His opposition to media events parrots the frightening and un-American position of the president that any opinion other than his own is treason. Cadmus comes right out and says it:
Public protests against the war here at home while our young men and women are in harm’s way on the other side of the globe only provide aid and comfort to our enemies.”
The American Legion has not always felt this way about our young men and women in harm’s way. When the Clinton Administration had soldiers in Bosnia, the they passed Resolution No. 44, which states, in part:
Whereas, the President has committed the Armed Forces of the United States…to engage in hostilities in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without clearly defining America’s vital national interests; and
Whereas, neither the President nor the Congress have defined America’s objectives in what has become an open-ended conflict characterized by an ill-defined progressive escalation; and
Whereas, it is obvious that an ill-planned and massive commitment of U.S. resources could only lead to troops being killed, wounded or captured without advancing any clear purpose, mission or objective…
…now, therefore, be it
Resolved, by the National Executive Committee…That The American Legion…voices its grave concerns about the commitment of U.S. Armed Forces to Operation Allied force, unless the following conditions are fulfilled.
That there be a clear statement by the President of why it is in our vital national interests to be engaged in Operation Allied Force;
Guidelines be established for the mission, including a clear exit strategy;
That there be support of the mission by the U.S. Congress and the American people; and
That it be made clear U.S. Forces will be commanded only by U.S. officers whom we acknowledge are superior military leaders; and, be it further
Resolved, that, if the aforementioned conditions are not met, The American Legion calls upon the President and the Congress to withdraw American forces immediately from Operation Allied Force
Sound familiar? That’s because if you convert references of Yugoslavia to Iraq, it is almost exactly the position of the opponents of the war in Iraq. The American Legion has obviously steeped itself in a brew of hypocrisy. But what is most troubling is that they want to tell everyone else to shut up. I propose that the time has come to start referring to them as The Legion, because there is nothing American about them.