Letter: Duty to protest

By The Daily Illini

I am disturbed by those who hide behind military service to legitimize their opinions.

In his letter, “Actions Have Consequences,” Scott Wakefield “calls to our attention” the fact that protests can lower troop morale, thereby harming efficiency. That is, of course, after noting his own Marine Corps service, and before stating his willingness to defend the right of protest to the death.

Gee, thanks Scott. Honestly, I appreciate your hypothetical sacrifice, but frankly, an ACLU lawyer is much more likely to protect my rights as they are nowadays threatened by social and political, rather than martial, forces.

Come to think of it, militaries have historically enforced oppression at least as often as they have upheld freedom. Obviously, a military must be judged by its actions, and those are a product of the society in which it exists. Free societies may create benevolent militaries, not vice versa.

My goal is not to cast aspersions on Mr. Wakefield’s or anyone else’s service, but it is not a justification in and of itself. He does not make a single argument for the war or address any of those against. Clearly there are circumstances under which a war would be unjust and it would then become the duty of every patriot to oppose it openly.

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To disagree with the protesters’ view of the war is Mr. Wakefield’s prerogative, but to imply that they do not consider the consequences of their actions is galling condescension.

In turn, I assume that in volunteering to kill and die at the behest of the government, military personnel have considered the moral implications and realize that not everyone will support a given action. It is their duty as well to ask the difficult questions raised by war. Surely we do not want morale at the expense of morality.

Joshua Sayre

graduate student