I protest the war. I support our troops. These two statements are not mutually exclusive yet this has been lost in the heat of the debate between pro-war and anti-war parties. When protesters decry the loss of life in this war on Iraq, one should never forget that this includes American lives as well as Iraqi lives.

However, this issue is not what compels me to put pen to paper today. In recent days, I have seen slogans painted on the walls of the tunnels, first calling for peace and later, others calling for support of our troops. What disturbs me is those calling for troop support have also personally attacked the writers of the peace slogans, calling them drugged-up hippies and other such types. I am troubled. Since when has America stopped promoting her freedom of speech? Why, all of a sudden, can we no longer express our views without being attacked personally, as if our views and opinions are somehow the influence of drugs and should be dismissed?

This is not limited to the UR campus. Recently, anyone who criticizes the war, whether to express an anti-war sentiment or to disapprove of Bush’s war strategy, is either called ignorant or unpatriotic. It has become taboo to speak one’s mind. It seems to me that something is wrong with this scenario. How can we go overseas and promote so-called democratic values if we are barred from practicing them at home? Right now, I feel I must censor my views lest my integrity be attacked and I am forced to defend my soundness of mind for no apparent good reason. So I ask you, while our troops are overseas defending American values, who exactly is defending them at home? Certainly not those practicing slander down in the tunnels.

Marissa An OhiraTel: 585-721-1747

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