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Remember why the Weathermen existed
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 10/30/2008 12:01 AM

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Today, as I listened to the radio rehash the McCain attack ads against Barack Obama, I heard a talking head say this about Bill Ayers: "... and he has never apologized... ."

This was in reference to an incident 40 years ago when Mr. Ayers and his fellow Weathermen put an incendiary device in a government building in downtown Chicago. The device went off doing property damage, but no one was killed. The Weathermen were protesting the Vietnam War.

What Bill was protesting was a war very similar to Iraq. Both were begun under false pretenses (i.e., Gulf of Tonkin was the lie that began the Vietnam War, and ill-informed threats of "weapons of mass destruction" kicked off the Iraq war.) Both wars were unnecessary.

Our military casualties in Vietnam reached 55,000. Casualties in Iraq are 3,700 and counting. Both wars have drained our country of blood and treasure and neither was won.

While Ayers may have put a single incendiary device in an office building, the U.S. carpet bombed and landmined Vietnam and Cambodia and employed Agent Orange over wide swathes of the battle zones. This chemical left a legacy of cancer in both our returning Vietnam veterans and their offspring, and in the Vietnamese population.

Our government also denied treatment for this chemical exposure to our returning vets for decades, claiming their illnesses could not have been caused by Agent Orange. Our injured veterans from Iraq have long waits for treatment and not enough mental health resources to go around.

Who should be apologizing here? I think the most egregious offenders, the ones who twice lied and misled the American people, twice drained our treasury, twice left two countries who had not attacked the U.S. poisoned and in tatters, they should apologize. Let them do it in the National Cemetery that hold our war dead.

"Epitaphs of the War" (1914-1918): If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied."

Anita Mitchell

Sugar Grove