A patriot by any name

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    It was with gratification that I read the letter written by Erin Grace Veenker because I feel that she exercised her right to express her opinion and I, having served in the United States Army, in some small way made it possible for her to do so. That she labels me unpatriotic puzzles me. A patriot, by definition, is “a person who loves, supports and defends his country and its interests.”

    By opposing the war, I am supporting and defending the tenets as espoused by brilliant men who founded this nation. They founded a nation, not an empire. The current administration is expanding an empire, dispatching America’s young men and women in lands over the entire globe and exposing them to slaughter. (Remember Lebanon, the USS Cole, Somalia–wasted and tragic slaughter.) America is the largest producer of and possesses the largest mass of weapons of destruction in history. It is not in the interest of the U.S. to squander our resources on death while Americans are sleeping in cardboard boxes in the streets of Los Angeles and while there are thousands of citizens in the wealthiest nation in history struggling without medical care. America’s interests are served by caring for its citizens and providing education, housing and medical care for them. Empires collapse.

    We have an enemy; we know the enemy–it is Al Qaeda. And despite unmatched air power and a reward of $25 million, we allowed Bin Laden to escape Afghanistan. If our onslaught kills innocent Iraqis, we will enroll thousands into his cause. I love this country, as do you, Ms. Veenker, and as do other veterans and the thousands of like mind. I request that you consider carefully before you dispense easy labels.

    Dr. William E. Freije