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Hey Ted: Quit Whining

Who's the real war profiteer?

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I have read Ted Rall for quite some time and have, on occasion, considered writing a response to some of the liberal-left claptrap he produces. Generally, I concluded that it wasn't worth the time or effort since those who accept his positions would not be swayed by an opposing view, nor (most likely) would it see print anyway.

However, the opinion piece in the Oct. 31, 2007, Boise Weekly (BW, Opinion, "Hey Soldiers! Quit Whining!" Oct. 31, 2007) drew the line in the sand for me.

You see, dear reader, I am a soldier. And I took Mr. Rall's piece as a personal affront to myself and my comrades in uniform. I reviewed Mr. Rall's Web site, and must congratulate him on his great success. And certainly no one can argue with his intelligence, skills, talent or abilities. More power to you, sir, as I'm sure you are now a wealthy person having attained the "American Dream."

But what you fail to acknowledge is not that you have had good fortune in life, but that you were able to seek out your success at the expense of others. Of course, I fully understand how that could be, since most far-left liberals like yourself are loathe to credit anyone for anything.

Most likely, it has never occurred to you that you were born free in the United States of America, received an education before the era of political correctness ruined the process, and that you could criticize your government without fear of repercussion.

Nor, I believe, have you considered your success in writing and on-air for KFI as stemming from America's presence in Afghanistan. Surely even you must realize that if America were not defending our freedom on foreign shores, you would not have had the material for your book or radio program.

So it could be said that your success was in part based on the blood sacrifice of your fellow Americans—which you so cavalierly discount as "2 dead, 7 wounded in IED Blast." But hey, Ted, you sold lots of books, articles and cartoons, so not a problem, right?

After all, as you said, "But, hey soldier, you volunteered. If not for you, there wouldn't be a war in the first place." And you would not have been able to write your book, To Afghanistan and Back, so doesn't that make you a "war profiteer"—just like you accuse President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney of being?

You see, Ted, as a soldier, we accept the fact that some of our fellow citizens don't have what it takes to be one of us but will not hesitate to sit comfortably in their homes supporting our enemies.

I was wounded in Vietnam in 1968, while you were 5 years old and most likely laughing and playing in a free country without a care in the world. To have you invoke the sacrifice made by my comrades in arms who did not return from that fetid jungle is an insult of the highest proportions. And even more cowardly is for you to try and use those heroes for your nefarious ends.

Oh, yes, I know you will cite how you went to Afghanistan, put your life on the line, and so you are no coward. Well, Ted, war for profit makes you a mercenary, while those who died in Vietnam did so out of a sense of obligation, patriotism and service to America.

They weren't taking notes so they could turn a buck when they got back to the world. They were just doing their job, protecting 5-year-old kids in America.

What you and your fellow liberals fail to realize is that America has not fought a war on our soil since the 1860s, because it's better to go "over there" (wherever that might be) rather than subject our people to the ravages of war.

And since you have apparently forgotten, America was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, and the only way to assure our 5-year-old kids are not subjected to IED blasts, is to carry the fight somewhere else.

But hey, Ted, you might be able to write a book about 5-year-olds dying just because they are Americans, turn a buck or two, and maybe get that Pulitzer, you think?

Robert Vasquez is a former Canyon County commissioner.