Column: Protesters spread wrong message

I didn’t do much this Memorial Day weekend. I just sat around, watched some TV, and ate a nice dinner. But other people were more active than I was. For instance, there were people protesting the war outside of MacDill Air Force Base. They call themselves protesters; I call them people who can’t enjoy a three-day weekend.

Most people were protesting the war effort in Afghanistan. This truly does not make sense to me. One of the protesters, Mari Anderson said (according to The Tampa Tribune), “Weren’t they there to catch bin Laden? Well, they still haven’t caught him, and a lot of innocent people have died.”

Sorry, Mari, but war is hell. We try to avoid killing innocent people. That’s what separates us from the people we’re fighting. They go and hide in civilian areas, daring us to come get them. That is what gets innocent people killed not American bloodlust. And, for the record, we did not start it.

Mari and some of her fellow protesters pointed out that this war is mostly about oil. They say that a pipeline would have to go through Afghanistan (which means that country isn’t completely useless) and that’s why we attacked. I must have been wrong thinking this war was about more than 3,000 people killed in a single day and the country who was hiding the people that carried out the carnage. Silly me.

Yes, Bush and Cheney made money in the oil industry. That still does not convince me that this colors every decision they make. Americans were killed, and more Americans remain at risk if the al-Qaida network continues to function. By toppling the Taliban, they no longer have the support of a government (for the time being). I do, for the record, think that the whole idea of drilling in the Arctic Preserve was motivated by their desire for money. So there.

I’m all for letting people complain about things that they don’t like. But this protest characterizes America as aggressors. This infers that we somehow deserved the attack on Sept. 11. I think these same people would have been protesting World War II saying that we’re only fighting Japan because we’re racist.

If any of the protesters are reading this (I’m very popular with malcontents), listen up: This is not Vietnam. We did not start it. This whole war is meant to protect you, me and your ability to protest. The fact that you wasted a day carrying signs and chanting slogans will not stop terrorists from wanting to kill you.

In a sad comment on the state of affairs, even the protesters weren’t united on a single topic. There were people protesting the war, a Palestinian state, black reparations (huh?), and treatment of Native Americans. I don’t quite know why you would go to an Air Force base to protest for black reparations and against the way Native Americans are treated, but they did. Maybe there should be a pre-protest meeting that decides what the topic will be.

I’m all for peace, but we can’t have peace without security. For security, we need to make it impossible for the terrorists to operate. Civilians get hurt and killed, and that’s bad. Just expecting conflict to go away because we don’t respond to it is naive and dangerous. Feel free to protest to your heart’s content, but I wouldn’t expect it to do anything but make you look crazy.

Chris Ricketts is a sophomore majoring in