Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Saturday Must Read

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Sometimes you come across words that are so powerful they need to be disseminated as widely as possible. This is just such an occassion.

Mark Westphal is a commander (no rank given) in the US Special Forces (Army) who took umbrage with the portrayal of the religious right as equal to the Taliban:

Re: "The Taliban at home," letter, Nov. 2:

I fought in Afghanistan as a Special Forces team commander. I am also what the letter-writer would perceive as a "right-wing religious ideologue."

Though the writer sees no difference between the Taliban and me, there are many.

The Taliban allowed no freedom of expression, no rights for women and no freedom of religion and destroyed anything and everyone that did not abide by their version of Islam. They wiped out entire peoples and villages because they were not Islamic enough. They cut the ears, eyes, tongues and noses off people for "infractions against Islam." They planted bombs and mines in children's playfields. They stoned to death for "adultery" women who had been raped. They allowed the training of terrorist groups to export their version of Islam to the world. They would think nothing of raping your wife and children and making you a slave or corpse. They remind me of the Nazis and Communists.

What do the so-called religious conservatives in this country want? Here is the super secret list: economic opportunity and personal liberty, things such as taxes we can afford; a reverence for the Constitution as the Founding Fathers wrote it; an appreciation for the values and traditions that made this country the finest in the history of the world; an understanding that people should not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character; and respect for life (no matter how vulnerable or powerless).

The differences are slight, but they are there. I hope this clears up any misunderstandings.

Mark Westphal

Yes Sir, I believe it does.

Contact Mr. Westphal and thank him both for his service in defense of freedom and his ability to put this egregious rhetoric in a light it deserves.

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