Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rewarding Good Behavior

It’s sad. Cindy Sheehan and the other antiwar protestors are engaging in exactly the kind of peaceful protest that should be rewarded by leaders like President Bush. Government leaders claim that they will not negotiate with terrorists, when in fact, they will soon have to negotiate with Iraqi insurgent leaders, if negotiations haven’t started already.

But when faced with Americans using their right to free speech and fulfilling their duty to hold elected officials accountable and peacefully petition the government for the redress of wrongs, Bush & Co. can only think of one response: to ignore the protestors or smear their characters. The message is clear: those who blow things up get heard; those who stand vigil do not.

I have faith that history is gradually rewarding the patient and the peace-loving, but there are hundreds of American soldiers and hundreds more Iraqi civilians set to die in Iraq over the next few months and years for whom history will come too late, unless our leaders start listening respectfully to the dissenters and answering the questions all Americans deserve to have answered.

That conversation, when it happens, will mark the beginning of the end of the quagmire, and no matter how long it takes for stability to re-emerge from the chaos wrought by the Bush invasion, the sooner Americans have that conversation, the better.


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