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A Civil Defense

November 20, 2003

I was interested and pleased to see the response by Lt. Col. David McCarthy (letter, Nov. 14) regarding the Nov. 12 article "Clark Backs a Ban on Flag Burning." I don't quite agree with McCarthy -- I think sometimes flag burning is justified -- but I was filled with respect and admiration for the clarity and grace with which he disagreed with flag burning yet also with an amendment banning it.

His statements were a wonderful reiteration of the famous comment attributed to Voltaire, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." That is precisely how citizens in a free democracy should debate with one another. Lt. Col. McCarthy is clearly both an officer and a gentleman.

Amitai Adler

Los Angeles

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