unpatriotic and servile

A letter to the editor I wrote to the Tennessean today in response to this column by Frank Ritter. I had to read it several times before I could even figure out what point he was trying to make.

I am trying to understand Frank Ritter’s logic. In his 5/18 column, he asserts that there are “certain lines that should not casually be crossed”, but he never enumerates them. What are these lines, exactly? He claims that the desire for release of the Abu Ghraib videos is either because it would hurt or help Bush. This is a false dilemma, and it ignores the likelihood that full transparency in the investigation into Abu Ghraib will indeed benefit the troops by focusing a spotlight on a badly managed and executed war.

He then goes on to say that “under our system of government, he became president, and thus deserves our respect. Not necessarily our subservient agreement, but at least our respect.” I am not sure what system of government he thinks we operate under. His attempt to equate “respect” (which is an altogether subjective matter) with “subservience” is a little transparent, even with his watered-down disclaimer. This line of thought is best refuted by a favorite quote of mine:

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

–Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt

Sorry, if Mr. Ritter is opposed to this war, as he claims to be, he should be opposed to the presidency of the man that led us there. What he observes in himself as being “level-headed” sounds an awful lot to me like complacency, devoid of any real opinion at all.