Letter to the Editor: Iraq War editorial missed the mark

As a former editorial page editor for The News, I understand not everyone is capable of putting together an entirely coherent and well-written letter to the editor. But, was Dave Moberg’s commentary (“War effort must be intense, serious,” Feb. 21) meant to be taken seriously? Seeing as he’s the editor in chief of the uninformed pseudo-newspaper the Northeastern Patriot, I’m guessing it was.

Dave, I don’t know what The Patriot considers an editorial, but when writing for The News, it’s imperative to present an opinion and support it with facts. You certainly have an opinion, but where are the facts? As much fun as it is to write prick-waving sentiments like “firebombed” and “turned to rubble,” a commentary consisting almost entirely of said conjecture is not a thoughtful op-ed, but rather a pep rally for people who don’t watch the news.

It’s not so much your politics to which I’m opposed, but your writing style. There are ways you could have made your case, which if I can make my way through all the alpha-male posturing, is that we have to stay the course in Iraq or risk the security of the United States. You could have said potential Presidential nominee John McCain, one of the few politicians who actually knows a thing or two about war, requested an additional troop surge.

You could have said pulling out of Iraq would likely result in a civil war that would cripple an already beleaguered country. You could have said the U.S.’s time in Iraq has already yielded some positive results (the capture of Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s first democratic election held last year). You didn’t. All you said was we should bomb the hell out of them. Thanks, Patton.

Your standing in the Northeastern community suggests you’re very conservative and that’s fine. But according to someone who considers himself politically moderate, all your piece does is cement the stereotype that neo-conservatives are flag-waving lunatics. Citing the U.S. response to Germany and Japan in World War II is almost comically absurd. Iraq is not a nation-building empire like Germany was, and Iraq did not attack us like Japan (you may be too young to remember, but Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were responsible for September 11). The more apt comparison is the conflict in Vietnam, and that didn’t turn out well for us either.

Further, when picking out an anti-war pundit to attack, it certainly helps your case to lay off a woman who lost her son. You described Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war crusade as her “15 minutes of fame” like she was on American Idol. The woman lost her son in a war and, as a result, is against the war. That makes her some kind of spotlight-seeking celebrity? If you want to rip on an anti-war pundit, go after Al Franken or Michael Moore.

I appreciate your gumption and dedication to arguing a controversial side. But given the nature of the war and its current popularity (or lack thereof) with Americans, the burden was on you to convince us why we should “stay the course.” The headline for the commentary was “War effort must be intense, serious.” Surely, you’re intense, but can you really be serious writing something like that? It reads like tonight’s script for the “Colbert Report,” sans the irony. Next time you want to write for a newspaper, I suggest you start by reading one.

– Justin Rebello is a graduate of Northeastern, class of 2006. He is also a former member of The News staff.

Leave a Reply