Now at one level, it's obviously ridiculous as well as pathetic for the octogenarians of the American Legion to be threatening to come out and rumble with antiwar protesters.
But today I noticed something that hadn't caught my attention before: American Legion criticizes anti-war protesters AP, Home News Tribune (New Jersey) 08/24/05.
It seems that the same Legionaires' convention that called for violence to suppress the expression of majority opinion in the United States had quite a distinguished guest to address them (my emphasis):
The delegates were praised by Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as Gov. Linda Lingle, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, U.S. Rep. Ed Case and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
Myers said American support for the war on terrorism is critical because "success is hard to define and hard to measure" in a conflict lacking front lines.
"It's vital for Americans to stay resolved, to stay committed, and to be patient," said Myers, who is ending a ten-day tour visiting military bases around the globe and who said the war on terror would "continue to be challenging for some time to come."
"Resolve or will is ultimately what will decide whether we defeat ... extremism and terrorism or whether we give in," he said.
Why is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff addressing the national convention of an organization overtly encouraging extralegal violence - maybe Christian terrorism is a more appropriate name for it - against their fellow citizens who disagree with them in their support of Dear Leader Bush and all his mighty works? An organization that obviously hates American freedoms?
Actually, I'm serious about this. It's a disgrace that the highest military officer in a democracy would associate himself with a group taking explicit public positions like that. The fact that Gen. Myers lent his support to this hate group at that convention really is disturbing.
Yes, I know most American Legion members probably don't pay much attention to the national organization official positions. Between their cataracts and age-related dementia, most of them probably can't even read the official resolutions.
But this really does stink. I'm a member of the Rotary Club myself. And if the national or international Rotary organization were to adopt official positions like the American Legion has done, I would resign immediately. I have no desire to be a part of an organization that promotes Christian terrorism against majority opinion in America.
I should also say that I can't imagine Rotary adopting such a position. For one thing, Rotary is a worldwide, genuinely international organization, while the American Legion is a bunch of old American white guys who have apparently let their organization degenerate into a geriatric hate group. Rotary was actively involved in promoting the establishment of the United Nations and continues to support the UN today. In today's political climate, that distinguishes them in itself.
But I think it's a perfectly legitimate question to address to members of the American Legion why they are supporting an organization that hates American freedoms and advocates violence against a majority of their own fellow citizens.
And it's legitimate several times over to ask why the Chairman of the JCS is lending his support to advocacy of vigilante violence against peaceful protesters by his appearance there.
Maybe some of those fine Republican "moderates" we keep hearing about will jump all over him for that. Chuck Hagel? Dick Lugar? Maverick McCain? How do you great "moderates" feel about this kind of mixing of the uniformed military in advocating political violence in America? I'm sure we'll be hearing from those brave "moderates" any day now.