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Most Protesters Don't Go to Extremes

March 05, 2003

I have to take issue with Abraham Cooper and Harold Brackman's assertions in "Antiwar Protest's Toxic Rhetoric" (Opinion, March 2). I have written letters to the president, my congressman and our two senators and participated in four antiwar protests. I have not written, seen or heard any talk of "Bush = Hitler." Some antiwar protesters may go overboard in their invective, but in a protest movement that is as broad-based as that of the present antiwar group, there will always be some who go too far. However, all of the protesters I have seen are peaceful, thoughtful and respectful of law and order.

Some of those who disagree with our stand are not so inclined, and I have seen our groups cursed at and spat upon. Those protesters who go too far should be criticized, but to assume they represent a significant percentage of the total protest movement would be not only unfair but false. I will do everything I can to see that President Bush is not in office after 2004. However, I and most protesters I associate with do not consider him an evil man and do not equate him with Hitler.

Carl Mariz

Irvine

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Cooper and Brackman's criticism of some antiwar protesters' analogy of Bush to Hitler is, of course, legitimate. But the outrageousness of the analogy is not lost on the protesters who draw it. Their purpose is to shock people into reconsidering their perspectives on the war. That a small minority resort to the Hitler analogy reflects a dilemma of the antiwar movement: that people are not disposed to digest time-consuming, reasoned argument in forming their opinions but require short, emotionally charged slogans.

This dilemma will persist as long as no one finds a way of putting "The U.S. should not attack Iraq because it would be an illegal, unprovoked attack on a country that represents no immediate threat, would kill thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of people, would further destabilize the already unstable Middle East and would make terrorist attacks against Americans, including nuclear terrorist attacks, more likely" on a button, sign or bumper sticker.

Mathieu Carlson

Riverside

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At each of the Friday peace demonstrations I've been a part of in Long Beach, the support continues to grow with each week ("Peace Protests Moving to L.A. Neighborhoods," Voices, March 1). Not everyone, of course, agrees with the "no war in Iraq" position, though I've noticed that the few who stop to voice their opposition invariably share the belief that Iraq was somehow responsible for the World Trade Center attack. Is it reasonable to assume that given a little more information, some pro-war people might come over to the side of peace?

While the slogan observed around town, "Proud to be American," is a good one, it ought to be based on our noble actions. Employing our overwhelming military might in a massive attack intended to "shock and awe" an already devastated country, where 50% are children, is not one of them.

Gordon Chessmar

Long Beach

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