Celebrating the true meaning of Thanksgiving by enjoying a bountiful feast in a free and democratic society, less than 90 anti war protesters near Crawford, Texas gobbled down Iraqi style food.
With plates piled high with rice, fish, lentils, feta cheese and salad, protesters ate and talked at the site known as Camp Casey II, where Cindy Sheehan's supporters camped in August on private property leased by a local landowner. Although smaller in number from this summer, protesters were resolute in their opposition to the war in Iraq.
With typical arrogance borne of ignorance of another culture, projecting their own attitudes and beliefs onto them the protesters believed
'The idea is that it's an Iraqi—style meal to eat in solidarity with the Iraqi people who are dying there,' said Linda Foley, a protester from Azle. 'We're not having the traditional indulgent American dinner.'
Obviously Ms. Foley does not understand or want to understand that her Iraqi meal was healthy and hearty. Or that maybe, just maybe, the Iraqis do have much for which to be thankful.
Yet in a survey last month from the U.S.—based International Republican Institute, 47% of Iraqis polled said their country was headed in the right direction, as opposed to 37% who said they thought that it was going in the wrong direction. And 56% thought things would be better in six months. Only 16% thought they would be worse.
American soldiers are also much more optimistic than American civilians. The Pew Research Center and the Council on Foreign Relations just released a survey of American elites that found that 64% of military officers are confident that we will succeed in establishing a stable democracy in Iraq. The comparable figures for journalists and academics are 33% and 27%, respectively. Even more impressive than the Pew poll is the evidence of how our service members are voting with their feet. Although both the Army and the Marine Corps are having trouble attracting fresh recruits — no surprise, given the state of public opinion regarding Iraq — reenlistment rates continue to exceed expectations. Veterans are expressing their confidence in the war effort by signing up to continue fighting.
While the anti war protesters are certainly entitled to their opinions perhaps they should become a bit more accepting of diversity, a lot more tolerable of other cultures by understanding that the people they ostensibly are sympathizing with can think for themselves.
But is that asking too much?
Ethel C. Fenig 11 25 05