Letter to the editor: Walker feedback includes faulty arguments

Adrian Jenkins

As your paper devoted a full-page spread to letters in response to Thomas Walker (presumably only a sampling of the letters received), I thought I might point out a few things.

First, in response to Mr. Werner’s attack on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, I might remind him that the paper requires any letter writer to give his affiliation to the university. To suggest that Mr. Walker’s viewpoints represent, or even approximate, the views of the college and its faculty is absurd. However, a far more disturbing suggestion can be found in Werner’s statement: “If I were the part of the administration of [the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences], I would take action to see that members of my faculty were inclusive to members of any group.” Mr. Walker does not yield his freedom of expression simply because of his college affiliation; he has every right to state his opinion “in public displays of political bias.” To say otherwise is an insult to those soldiers “whose sacrifices give [Mr. Walker] the right to publicly display his opinion.”

In response to Mr. Freeman, I agree with his insinuation that economics might best be left to experts (even that of the “basic” variety). However, all things being equal, I am just as loath to trust the economics of a freshman in animal ecology as those of a lecturer in the English department, particularly one who claims that the military-industrial complex (a phrase which became popular after its negative use by Eisenhower in his farewell address, but whose roots are far earlier) was in fact “started under a Democrat, Lyndon Baines Johnson.”

In response to Ms. Parrott, at no point did Mr. Walker “pretend to hold the view of all of those Americans at the very bottom.” At the risk of repeating myself, the views submitted to this (or indeed, any) medium belong to the author alone. Moreover, at no point did Mr. Walker say, explicitly or otherwise, that the United States should not have an “able military.” I am sure that Ms. Parrott does not mean to insinuate that our soldiers must be deployed in occupation abroad in order to prove the ability of our fighting force?

Finally, on a related tangent, as a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, I was personally dismayed at Mr. Walker’s original comments. While I agree with some of his assessments (most notably, the creation of anti-American sentiment due to the occupation of foreign lands), the denial of private charity to troops seems overmuch. After all, one need only consider that, despite the large amount of money our Pentagon spends/wastes per year, the basic soldier has often found himself inadequately prepared even for combat (e.g., in 2003, the Pentagon reported that as many as 40,000 of the 130,000 troops deployed in Iraq did not have full protection).

Let me also say that this view is mine and mine alone, and does not represent the view of my family, my department, Iowa State University, the local co-op of which I am a member or any other group with which I have affiliation. I would hope that a reasonable person would already know this, but given the tenor of the published letters referenced, I felt it important to say this explicitly.