Hey–American Legion! Bring it on…

Delegates to the American Legion annual convention say they will “use whatever means necessary ‘to ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism.'”

The 2.7 million-member organization has “declared war” on antiwar protesters, calling for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war.

The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples.

Those are the words of Thomas Cadmus, American Legion national commander, speaking to delegates in Honolulu.

Hey, Commander Cadmus–everyone knows that suicide-bombers and insurgent guerillas don’t make a move unless they believe U.S. and allied troops have been sufficiently “demoralized” by Cindy Sheehan. They live for it, and die for it. And everyone knows that every time someone marches or rallies against the war, suicide bombers and insurgent guerillas have a beer, slap each other on the back, high-five it, and say “O-kay! Some Americans don’t think their country should be over here. Cool. Let’s go blow up another humvee.”

The people who hate America hated America long before Bush invaded Iraq. The problem is that they hate us even more now. They don’t want us in their country. Let’s say it again: They don’t want us in their country or in their part of the world. And if the Pentagon sprinkled G.I. Joe fairy dust on us tonight while we were sleeping, and we all woke up gung-ho about the war, the people who hate America would still hate America. They would still launch attacks against our soldiers. They would still go on suicide-bombing missions.

I am willing to concede there are soldiers who believe they should be in Iraq, risking their lives. I’m sorry they have been persuaded that their lives are worth less than Halliburton and PNAC, but I can do nothing about their opinions. And though they may feel anger when someone at home protests the war, the anger of the protestors is no less legitimate. Protesters are not only upset that American troops are being killed and maimed over a pack of lies, but also that the rest of us are now in more danger than ever of being attacked by terrorist groups.

The military exists to protect the homeland, and to intervene in crises deemed significant enough for intervention. Bush says it is better to “fight them over there” than to “fight them over here.” The problem with that statement is that–in this case–fighting them over there is more likely to lead to fighting them over here.

People of conscience cannot be quiet when American soldiers are sent to die and lose their hands and legs because of lies told by the ersatz president of the United States.

People of conscience cannot be quiet when thousands of Iraqi civilians are killed and maimed, and when a city’s infrastructure is destroyed because of lies told by a so-called leader who cuts veterans’ benefits in the middle of a war and does not send the troops to battle with the proper equipment.

People of conscience cannot be quiet when it is clear that the only winner in a war is an oil products and services company.

Here is Cadmus’s parting shot, but you knew it was coming:

Let’s not repeat the mistakes of our past. I urge all Americans to rally around our armed forces and remember our fellow Americans who were viciously murdered on September 11, 2001.

Unlike you, Commander, I do remember my fellow Americans who were viciously murdered on September 11. They were murdered by people from Saudi Arabia, the country whose royal family is in bed 24/7 with that oil products and services company.

If I were Bill O’Reilly, I would tell you, Cadmus, to Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! But I am better-mannered than that, so I’ll just ask you to stop lying and spewing anti-American rhetoric all over the place.

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

Our goal is to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We're aiming to create a reporting position dedicated to uncovering corruption, build a team, and let them investigate for a year—publishing our stories in a concerted window: a special issue of our magazine, video and podcast series, and a dedicated online portal so they don't get lost in the daily deluge of headlines and breaking news.

We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

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