To the editors:

I agree with Alan Scott’s letter [March 22] about the yellow ribbon phenomenon [Our Town, March 1], and it reminds me how disturbed I’ve been over the symbolic reduction of issues during the gulf war. I refer to the manner in which the antiwar movement, in its fervor to emote over the tragedy of war, reacted on the whole with exactly the same opportunistic tactics that we normally associate with its opposition. There seems to have been no true stand taken from the antiwar faction beyond a chillingly cheap and uninformed sloganeering. For those of us uneasy with our government’s motives on any level, it’s unsettling to find that we can’t condone the motives of the antiwar people either.

Throughout this conflict I’ve been waiting to hear one informed voice tell me why we shouldn’t take military action against Saddam Hussein, and I’m still waiting. Stylistic activism, regurgitated Vietnam songs and messages reduced to chants and sound bytes: the antiwar faction may gather together as they wish to find bliss in their perfect harmony, but the salvation of those cliches only numbs me. They’re fighting the good fight with Pepsi generation tactics, and I can’t believe it.

Patty Zielinski


Paul Pekin replies:

If we are going to think in labels such as “antiwar people” or “the antiwar faction” we are always going to be disturbed and unsettled–and just a little bit smug, knowing we do not belong to that ragtag crowd. But really, there’s no need for finger pointing here, no need to question or condone anyone’s motives, only to examine our own. As far as why we should not have taken military action against Saddam Hussein–we didn’t. We took action against the nation of Iraq, and just look at the results.