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Reader shocked by comments, thinks Michael Reagan sounds like Communist dictator

Published December 20, 2005

Dear editor,

I was genuinely shocked by Michael Reagan's demented rant of a column last week.

Reagan actually called for the imprisonment or even hanging of a U.S senator, simply because this senator spoke against the Iraq war and said it was unwinnable.

Such public opposition to the war, Reagan said, is "treason," because such words give "aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war."

Reagan further suggested that many in Congress were guilty of such "treason" and (presumably) also should be imprisoned or killed.

Apparently Reagan doesn't realize that a majority of Americans, according to recent polls, now oppose the Iraq war. Are they, too, guilty of "treason?" Does Reagan want these millions of Americans locked up or executed, too?

Reagan sounds more like a communist dictator than a conservative. Has he never heard of the First Amendment?

Reagan also misrepresents the make-up of the opposition to the Iraq War. He implies it is mostly Democrats, and especially "the dominant left wing of the Democratic party."

This is sheer nonsense. Some of the loudest protests against the war are coming from prominent conservatives -- including some who served in the administration of Michael Reagan's own father. Just a few examples: Pat Buchanan; MSNBC's Tucker Carlson; columnists Joseph Sobran and Charlie Reese (who once appeared in this newspaper, and is sorely missed); Jeffrey Hart, speechwriter for President Reagan; Paul Craig Roberts, one of President Reagan's highest-ranking Treasury Department officials; former Reagan Secretary of the Navy James Webb; Brent Scowcroft, national-security adviser to the Ford and Bush Senior administrations; Scott McConnell, executive editor of The American Conservative magazine. There are endless others.

Similarly, free-market libertarians are at the forefront of opposition to the war. Antiwar.com, the largest anti-interventionist Web site, with over 85,000 visitors per day, is run by libertarians. The Libertarian Party, America's third-largest political party, opposes the war and published an exit strategy at its web site long ago.

The libertarian Cato Institute, one of America's most influential think tanks, opposes the war. The great libertarian Republican Congressman Ron Paul of Texas is one of the leading congressional opponents of the war.

Either Reagan is ignorant about the extent of conservative and libertarian opposition to the war or he is lying. Either way, his foaming-at-the-mouth column was a disgrace.

Your newspaper depends on freedom of expression to survive. Free speech is one of the greatest blessings of being an American. Michael Reagan's attack on the speech rights of members of Congress (and presumably other Americans) is a direct attack on you, as well as your readers, regardless of their position on the war.

Maybe you should consider finding a conservative columnist who actually believes in the Bill of Rights and limited government. There are plenty of them out there.


James W. Harris

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