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No Memorial for Protesters

August 04, 1986

It is always amusing to see people attempt to glorify the anti-war protesters of the 1960s as moral giants. Robert A. McKennon's letter (July 23) suggests that the protesters at Kent State and other places were courageous and idealistic, who by their actions saved the lives of many innocent people.

One just has to look at what has happened to Southeast Asia since U.S. involvement was cut off to see how foolish McKennon's belief is.

The anti-war movement was overwhelmingly motivated by selfishness. The proof to this is that as soon as the United States withdrew from Vietnam (thus ending any risk to themselves) the protesting stopped. There was little concern for the innocent people of South Vietnam and Cambodia.

The uproar at Kent State was over U.S. operations into Cambodia, actions designed to thwart communist supply routes and bases. This elicited major protests. Where was the uproar when all U.S. aid to Cambodia was cut off and 2 million people (1 out of every 3 Cambodians) were slaughtered by the communists? The largest genocide since the Holocaust. There wasn't a single peep from the anti-war people.

Now that North Vietnam has installed its brutal totalitarian regime upon the South, where is the protests from the people who were waving Viet Cong flags, chanting Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, and falsely romanticizing the North as nationalistic social revolutionaries?

Doesn't it say something that with all the horrors of war, there weren't any boat people until the communists finally took over? Since then millions have risked their lives in rickety boats through shark- and pirate-infested waters to escape the terror.

What happened at Kent State was a tragedy, but to build a monument that will also honor the anti-war movement as a whole is ludicrous. The peace movement may have meant well, but in reality these people were foolish and naive. Just as many people who live in freedom are when it comes to confronting the realities of communism.

I would love to know what the people of Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam would have to say today about a memorial honoring the people who helped take their freedom away . . . forever.

BILL CALKINS

North Hollywood

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