Differences of Opinion

In response to my recent post linking to a “visually stunning and emotionally moving” flash movie, a Mrs. H— (name withheld since I did not get her permission to post any of her words) e-mailed me over the weekend (instead of posting a comment on the blog for others to read) to complain about the banner and what she perceived to be my anti-war/troops opinions. I honestly found her comments lacking a coherent point (other that to point out that my opinions were wrong) so I declined to debate her via e-mail. It turns out that she surfed more of my site, found the site I run for author L.E. Modesitt, Jr. and decided to complain to him. I do not know exactly what she said to him but he was gracious enough to send me his response to her and gave me permission to post it here. I’ll let his words stand on their own without additional comment from me.

Dear Mrs. H—:

Thank you for your email and your kind words about my work… and your concerns about Michael Sauers’ home page.

Perhaps I’ve missed something, but when I checked out his home page a few moments ago, I could only find one banner site on it, which was dedicated to speaking out against President Bush’s policies and speaking for a peaceful end to the situation in Iraq. As a former Navy search and rescue pilot who comes from a long military tradition [my grandfather was a Navy reservist in WWI; my father served in both the Atlantic and Pacific campaigns as a gunnery officer in WWII; I served as an amphibious boat officer and later as a search and rescue pilot during the Vietnam era; and my son is an Annapolis graduate who served two tours as an engineer aboard nuclear submarines, one of them during Desert Storm], I am very sensitive to anything that might be derogatory toward men and women in uniform. While Michael’s banner feed is certainly not favorable toward President Bush and his advisors, I saw nothing derogatory in it toward our armed services. In fact, it seemed to me that the tone of the banner was more along the lines that those who died should not have died for the misrepresentations of the Administration. I’m certainly no liberal Democrat; I spent almost 20 years in Washington, D.C., much of it working for conservative Republicans, and I was a member of the Reagan administration as Director of Congressional Affairs and Legislation for the U.S. EPA. All that said, I have to agree with the tenor of the banner. This Administration has misled the American people and continues to do so.

I also agree with your implied point that our troops should never bear the brunt of public disfavor in the way in which they did during and after Vietnam. I don’t see that banner doing that — unless there is some other banner that I have missed.

On another point, Michael has maintained the Recluce site on his own time and money for years, often at times when few others in the internet community seemed all that interested in my work. So long as his statements — and what he includes on his site — are honest, straightforward, and not blatantly misleading [since we all tend to mislead somewhat in our zeal], I cannot see any reason to complain about his use of his First Amendment rights to state his views. If he were actually stating them on the Recluce site, that would be inappropriate, but he is not.

I understand your concerns, but I hope you understand my feeling that a mild objection to blind allegiance to a President who has clearly misled Americans is not out of place in this time. I cannot see this as an attempt to provoke hatred or demoralize our troops, especially not compared to what I saw and experienced during the Vietnam years. 

We do not all agree, but when we cannot abide the right of another to disagree, that is when all we hold dear in liberty and freedom will soon be lost.

My best wishes to you and your family.

L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

September 6th, 2005 by