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Home » Archives » January 2006 » Piet Visser's Cheap Shots Don't Cut It:

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01/15/2006: "Piet Visser's Cheap Shots Don't Cut It:"

To the Editor:

I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Piet Visser, but he seems like a good guy who's been working hard to make our community a better place. That's why his recent column, with the incomprehensible title of "War on Bad Hair or Bad Ties," is so very disappointing.

For one thing, Mr. Visser trivializes the terrorist threat by stating that the statistical risk of being killed by terrorists is lower than the risk of being hit by lightning. That may be technically correct just as it may be technically correct that for anyone living in Friday Harbor, the statistical risk of being killed by terrorists is lower than the risk of, say, crossing Spring Street and being struck down by Mr. Visser's spiffy new electric car. But Mr. Visser's point wouldn't be much comfort to the families of those who showed up for work at the World Trade Center on September 11, or who boarded that train in Madrid in March 2004, or who were riding on London's trains or buses last July. There really are terrorists out there, and they really do want to kill as many of us as they can. Debating the solution is healthy; denying the problem isn't.

Mr. Visser then goes on to make a direct comparison between President Bush and the Nazis. He does this by including a quote purportedly from of all people Herman Goering: "Of course the people don't want war.But it's a simple matter to drag them alongAll you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for their lack of patriotism." And Mr. Visser follows up this quote by writing: "Sound familiar? It does to me."

This is not only offensive, it's stupid. Back in 1939 the Nazis faked an attack on German citizens by Poland, and used that as a pretext to launch World War II. The 9-11 attacks were real. Moreover, while the Nazis arrested and killed those German citizens who opposed them such as the great theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose writings on the need to confront evil should be required reading for our high-school students President Bush and members of his administration have repeatedly made clear that it isn't the patriotism of their political opponents they question, but their judgment. Not one American who opposes the President has been arrested. Indeed, several of his more prominent opponents are making fortunes on the lecture circuit.

I fully support Mr. Visser's right to oppose the Bush Administration's policies. (And on some issues, Mr. Visser and I might be on the same side.) But we all have an obligation to express our views with fact and logic, rather than with emotion and cheap shots. As a School Board Director, Mr. Visser should set a better example for our students than he does in his column.

Herb Meyer
San Juan Island

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