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This is a war that already has claimed the lives of more than 2,600 Americans and yet has not made us one iota safer. If Mr. Knott wants to defend the war, it is his inalienable right to do so — but he didn’t stop there. He tried to reduce me to someone who finds “little to celebrate in America” and implied that I am somehow unpatriotic.

If I had spoken out in favor of the Bush administration and about how wonderfully President Bush was protecting the country, Mr. Knott definitely would have praised me.

But what’s so patriotic about silently standing by while Mr. Bush makes one bad decision after another? Silence is the enemy of democracy. The war in Iraq will be remembered as an American tragedy, and future generations will ask how our government ever allowed this to happen.

I have great respect for the wounded soldiers who spoke to Team USA. They risked their lives for our country and paid a terrible price for their sacrifices. The players were moved by their words. If I were a member of the team, I surely would have been, too.

Unfortunately, Mr. Knott missed my entire point. Had he tried to reach me for clarification, he might have realized that it is my deep admiration for our troops that compels me to speak out for them. Mr. Bush has made them pawns in an unnecessary war. The job of the president is to lead, but I do not believe Mr. Bush has led us in the right direction.

In fact, his actions actually have done us a disservice. Four years later, Iraq is on the brink of civil war. And while the death toll of U.S. soldiers continues to mount, the prospects of bringing them home hasn’t gotten any brighter. Mr. Knott wrote that darkness is a “tough sell.” But actually, light penetrates the darkness that is already there.

ETAN THOMAS

Washington Wizards

Washington

Walking tall in Hazleton

Kudos to Hazleton, Pa., Mayor Louis J. Barletta, the City Council and attorney Kris W. Kobach for standing up for the residents of Hazleton, Pa., and taking on American Civil Liberties Union bullies (“Hazleton: The people vs. the ACLU,” Commentary, Sept. 19). The ACLU rarely lives with the messes it creates. If it wins in Hazleton, you can be sure the ACLU will not be the victim.

The ACLU bullied Woodbridge, Va., into not enforcing loitering ordinances back in January of 2005. Shortly thereafter, I went to the fine home of the Virginia ACLU leader, located in quiet Fredericksburg. I walked up the steps to the roofed yellow porch and knocked.

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