American Legion attacks on Edwards sicken this Veteran

It's always been kind of sad for me that, ever since my discharge from the military in the mid 70s, the best thing I've been able to say about the American Legion is that their restaurant makes the best damn steak I can get in my tiny Nebraska hometown. Other than that small bit of merit, the organization has done nothing but embarrass me with their rote, pro-war positions and, over the last few years, how they seem to care far more about people burning the American flag than they do about troops being used as cannon fodder and Veterans being neglected in V.A. hospitals.

I thought I hit peak disgust with their twisted brand of patriotism in 2005 when the group's last national commander, Thomas Cadmus, gave a speech at the Legion's national convention in which he called for an end to all "public protests" and "media events" against the Iraq war. The convention delegates then voted to use whatever means necessary to "ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism."

"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," Cadmus told convention delegates.

I know when I was sworn into the U.S. Navy, I made a pledge "to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States of America" and it was apparent to me in 2005 that the American Legion had forgotten that the oath we all took was intended to protect exactly the rights they threatened to destroy with un-American stances like that.

And it looks like they haven't changed a bit in two years.

Now they're after Senator John Edwards and his presidential campaign for creating a web site in which Edwards submits that the best way to observe the upcoming Memorial Day, might be to take a stand designed to limit the number of newly-dead Americans we mourn at 2008's observance.

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