WEB COMMENTS • Check out what online readers have to say

Readers from across the political spectrum and the country sounded off online about the March 23 editorial 'Rudeness mars peace message.' The editorial focused on the activities of a small group of activists at the March 18 peace march who 'engaged in numerous actions that violated the sensibilities of ordinary people and damaged the very cause the activists claimed to endorse.' These actions included burning a U.S. soldier in effigy, knocking a police officer off his bike and defecating on a burning U.S. flag. What follows are some responses to the editorial and the events that transpired.

Actions were bad, but so is smear campaign

As a leftist, I unequivocally denounce these disgusting, poor excuses for human beings. But I also denounce those who use the actions of a radical fringe to smear anyone with whom they disagree.

Does anyone on the right acknowledge that those of us opposed to the war believe in America, but also think that its leaders are betraying the country's noble calling with poorly thought-out policy?

John Bell

Southwest Portland

Send the offender to volunteer at the VA

I well understand the history of right-wing saboteurs infiltrating peace groups to promote violence and other repulsive acts. But since there's no evidence yet to make that claim here, I won't insist this was a setup.

Whoever did these things were just plain idiots.

With 69 percent of the country now opposing this war, that means approximately 207 million Americans are now opposed. Of that number, I'm sure there are extremists, fools and idiots, just as I'm sure they can be found in the approximately 93 million Americans still supporting the war.

Both sides discredit their positions when they commit outrageous acts.

The guy who defecated on the flag should be prosecuted for public indecency and sentenced to community service in a Veterans Affairs facility. That would be a punishment fitting his crime and might teach him some much-needed lessons.

Let's maintain our perspective and act like rational and mature people on both sides. That's how civilization is best advanced.

Kevin Hayden


Most peace marchers are regular people

'Defecated on a burning U.S. flag …' Really, some critical thinking skills would be useful here. This is like a parody of a stereotype - if kids were around, the parents of said kids would have a fit.

Defecating on a burning flag would be more of a risk to the gonads than most people would tolerate! There are a lot of police around at these events, they are everywhere; this guy would have been arrested in less than a heartbeat.

A lot of commenters on your Web site apparently have seen too much stock footage from the Vietnam era. I was at the January peace march - I am a middle-aged soccer mom, a member of the PTA, a professional, a regular churchgoer and a Sunday school teacher, and more than half of the people I saw looked just like me, except a little older. The rest were the adolescent and college-age kids of people just like me. The mood was friendly. The only angry people I saw were the 15 counterprotesters. That is the reality of peace marches now, no matter how much people have their heads stuck in 40-year-old stereotypes.

Communists bent on destroying America fund the protests? This is 2007, not 1957.

Stephanie Thomas


Bad behavior won't bring troops home

Well, as a 'lefty sicko,' I also find this particular behavior disgusting. I would gladly help any movement toward troop withdrawal, even any movement designed to impeach and try our entire White House for war crimes right now.

But the behavior described in your editorial is not moving anywhere except toward more censorship and military government control. I hope these folks were arrested on public indecency and assault charges.

Phil Common

New York

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