Don’t protest the veterans

Veterans face great difficulties when returning from combat, we shouldn’t be demeaned by groups like the SDS and Anti-War Committee.

I must say right off, this will be the most biased, emotionally charged column I think I will ever write. I simply canâÄôt remove myself from the anger I feel toward a people who spout such hateful, demeaning things about an already suffering minority. You may have heard about last ThursdayâÄôs confrontation across Washington Avenue. On one side of the street, there was the Students for a Democratic Society and the Anti-War Committee. On the other side was a group of veterans and people who wished to defend AmericanâÄôs right to enlist in our military. According to the veterans I spoke with, those peace-loving beatniks across the street were aggressive, disrespectful âÄî tossing out insults without provocation âÄî and eager to demean the other side. To the SDS and the Anti-War Committee, I have a candid admission: I was manipulated, lied to, forced against my will to enlist in the United States Army. Afterward they made me kill babies indiscriminately. I know what youâÄôre thinking, âÄúWhat the [expletive]?âÄù Yeah, itâÄôs a ridiculous thing to conjure. Still, the absurdity of this notion does not escape a certain minority in our population, namely the above-mentioned groups and their pals. âÄúBaby killer,âÄù âÄúKlu Klux Klan [expletive],âÄù âÄúAâÄîh—.âÄù According to my friend, President of the StudentâÄôs Veterans Association Bryan Axelrod , these are the terms that members of SDS/Anti-War Committee apply to those who have so selflessly served their country. Now IâÄôm all for protesting, but not if it fallaciously and spitefully demeans those who choose to wear the uniform. While I donâÄôt suggest that service necessarily demands respect, decency certainly does, and this language alone invalidates the ideas of those who use it. Regardless if you find a personâÄôs service contemptible, you still are required to respect that person as a human being (perhaps SDS disagrees?). The SDS and the Anti-War Committee are the exclamation point behind the idea that the far-left is the most intolerant group in the entire realm of political thought. While these groups provide guys like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity with ammunition, I ask them to please stop. This column previously commented on the activities and policy suggestions of SDS, and despite my categorical disagreement with their ideas âÄîimmediate, unconditional withdrawal from the Middle East, absent a responsible exit strategy âÄî I addressed them in a respectful and diplomatic tone. But in light of the way they paint veterans in their highly skewed promotions, and after learning how they treated my friends from the Veterans Student Association last Thursday, I feel they have now forfeited this courtesy. I will not contest SDS/Anti-War Committee policy stances. This column already refuted their mushy-headed suggestions and their ideas truly donâÄôt deserve to be entertained twice. My issue today is the harmful puke that the protesters spew onto the public. I live in the Seward neighborhood, so I am especially privy to their misinformation. If you were to believe the literature put out by these groups, all veterans are morons who were tricked into enlisting and served only to âÄúdestroy lives and deny self-determination of the peoples in Afghanistan and Iraq.âÄù It also serves their agenda to promote the idea that service in either place results in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and that the majority of veterans have it. DonâÄôt you people get it? These âÄúbaby-killersâÄù of whom you speak are not just numbers. We are not talking points to be used for your propaganda. We are real people. We are your neighbors, your customer service representatives, your CEOs and just maybe the kid sitting next to you in class. Like I said, IâÄôm not against protesting the war, but I wish the SDS/Anti-War Committee would stop insulting our nationâÄôs veterans in the process. I wonder if they even realize how offensive their ideas are. I also wonder if they understand the shallow nature of their arguments. Groups like the SDS and Anti-War Committee want you believe that we all have PTSD, and based on a recent report, the Homeland Security Department has an interest in promoting the idea that veterans are more likely to be right-wing extremist. I know many veterans and I assure you this propaganda is false. Beyond that, it is morally repugnant and incredibly harmful to a minority who already faces great challenges. This politically motivated tripe belongs nowhere in the marketplace of ideas. The idea being promoted is that veterans are an entity to be either pitied or feared. Why canâÄôt we just be? With all that we have to contend with (and I assure you that returning from combat is no easy road to hoe), why must we also contend with your hurtful judgments? If the SDS/Anti-War Committee is going to spout untruths to advance their agenda, I suppose thatâÄôs their right. But I ask that they please leave my vet buddies and me out of it, because, quite honestly, it hurts our feelings. To the leadership of these groups, I know you are well-reasoned individuals, but your minions are clearly not. I ask that you please do like every branch of the military does and offer your troops some sort of sensitivity training. Ross Anderson welcomes comments at [email protected]