Responding To An Unfair Attack

Susan Page
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Wednesday - May 25, 2005
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I always welcome letters to the editor, both pro my opinion and con. Most people understand the basic protocol of responding to a specific columnist: State the column title to which your letter refers, then use a quote or two to reference the point with which you are taking issue (or praising!), being careful to accurately represent, in context, what the columnist wrote.

Then again, some people simply write untruthful personal attacks. Todd Shelly of Honolulu wrote this in the May 11 MidWeek Letters page:

“When will Susan Page acknowledge that there is no evidence linking Saddam Hussein and Iraq with the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center?”

How about right now, Mr. Shelly? There is no such evidence. At least none has been found. And I had that opinion long before the 9/11 Commission Report came out (I have read it, see pages 334- 337, 10.3 “Phase two and the Questions of Iraq”).

Now, when will Mr. Shelly acknowledge that there is no evidence I’ve ever said Saddam was linked to the 9/11 attacks? Or produce a column or quote in which I have ever said this link existed? He can’t, of course, because I have never said it, written it or thought it. Here is an example of a reader scapegoating a columnist to further his own agenda. Of course, it’s his right to speak his mind, but not by assigning false words to me.

But since Mr. Shelly mentioned Saddam Hussein, am I glad he’s behind bars? You bet: For the future threat he posed (imagine if he were around to form alliances with terrorists now!); for gassing his own people (mass graves still being found); for fostering terrorism by paying families of Palestinian suicide bombers; for praising the 9/11 attacks, for shooting at our pilots enforcing U.N. Security Council restrictions after Gulf War I, and for many more evil, murderous deeds, which will be further exposed at his trial.

But, frankly, why are we even talking about Saddam Hussein? He’s been history since he crawled out of that spider hole in 2003. It’s way past time to move on. There are free elections and democracies budding in the Middle East. Even former President Clinton said last Wednesday during a meeting in Copenhagen with the Danish prime minister and several Danish lawmakers that the political changes in Iraq are good for the Middle East.

“There is no point living in the past,” he said. “Look at where we are now. Everyone, all freedom-loving people, would be better off with a genuinely representative, effective, free government in Iraq whatever your feelings are about what went on before.” Ever the wily politician, Clinton sees success in Iraq as one bandwagon to jump on during Hillary’s quest for the White House in 2008.

Today’s story isn’t one of gloom and doom, but of the heroics of the Iraqi and Afghan voters. It’s about our military personnel and their commitment, dedication and bravery in bringing about success and, ultimately, a great shot at peace in regions historically plagued with brutal, oppressive governments.

Mr. Shelly also wrote: “Apparently unable to access any credible news source, Ms. Page still equates Bush’s invasion of Iraq with a global war on terror.”

The credibility of mainstream news sources such as Newsweek (bogus Quran flushing story) and CBS News (Dan Rather’s bogus Bush National Guard story) is tarnished. So, it’s true, Mr. Shelly, I prefer firsthand information from those in the military who have actually been in Iraq and Afghanistan, such as top commanders Brigadier Gen. George Trautman, III, Commanding General, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and Deputy Commanding General, U. S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

Thanks to these selfless men and women, today’s Iraq, despite terrorists’ bloody efforts to stop democracy’s march there, is free from Saddam’s tyranny. Iraqis, in fact, can now even write disagreement letters to a free press. But they too — even with newly won freedom — need to keep it honest.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan still need our kokua. Be sure to support our local Foodland and Sack N Save stores who along with MidWeek and the StarBulletin are sponsoring the Support Our Troops with Aloha from Hawaii campaign that will keep care packages going to our Hawaii troops.

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