Thursday, July 18, 2024

Majorie Decker,  vice mayor of Cambridge and an opponent of the Iraq war, speaks at the Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 12, 2005, at Cambridge Cemetery. (Photo: Lawrence E. Miller) 


Majorie Decker, vice mayor of Cambridge and an opponent of the Iraq war, speaks at the Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 12, 2005, at Cambridge Cemetery. (Photo: Lawrence E. Miller)

Men drinking Saturday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall on Huron Avenue say they are afraid to publicly state many of their views on the Iraq war, specifically those opposing the anti-war politics of vice mayor Marjorie Decker, for fear of being branded “warmongers.”

One Marine, two Army veterans and an Air force veteran, surrounded by fellow vets, said Decker is wrong to be pushing for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq now.

Decker, whose views on the war have become a significant part of her political identity, was reelected last week to another term in office. She gained her slot in round nine, behind only two other candidates in a field of 18. But like anyone in the public eye, she draws negative attention as well, and Election Day was marred by fliers attacking her as being a beloved of “Militant Muslims” in the “Death to America Campaign.”

These veterans were unlikely to have been the culprits. Even her critics here say they respect her as a person.

But whether the threat of being ostracized for disagreeing with Decker is real or imagined, the veterans who oppose her views would agree to be interviewed only if their names were kept out of the paper.

They fought the Germans. They fought the Japanese. They fought the North Koreans. But they won’t fight Marjorie Decker.

“Somebody might think we are on the warmonger side,” one of the veterans explained. “This is the People’s Republic of Cambridge. It’s a great city. But the politics are just crazy. I like Marjorie Decker, but she is too far to the left. I don’t like her liberal views.”

The veterans agreed, however, that Decker’s facts are correct.

The consensus among those veterans was that President Bush is indeed an idiot who lied about the threat Iraq posed — with its imaginary weapons of mass destruction — and about its connection to al-Qaida’s attacks on America.

America should not have invaded Iraq, they said. But now that America is involved, the veterans insist that terrorists in Iraq must be killed.

“I say we should just bomb the place,” the Air Force veteran said.

Another man at the bar, who did not identify himself, chimed in that America should do the same thing to Iran, because that country really does have weapons of mass destruction, and that the U.S. might consider subcontracting to the job to Israel.

He said Israel has been able to prevail in its wars because its people understand they are fighting for their survival. The United States, on the other hand, is not united behind the war effort, and is stymied by the same type of political correctness so prevalent in Cambridge, they said.

It may not be the popular view, but the only way to deal with fanatics is to “kill all the Goddamn animals,” one Army veteran said. “You can’t fight a war with political correctness. You have to go all out.”

No one at the bar disagreed.

“The war should not stop” at this point, the Army veteran continued. “We started it. America has to finish the job. … People are afraid of terrorism, but they don’t want to fight. They are idiots. Look at all the lives we lost. What do we do? Pull out?”

He said that withdrawing from Iraq now would mean that the more than 2,000 Americans died for nothing.

“Then it really will be another Vietnam, another fiasco,” he added.

More: Respect for warriors, not war, at Veterans Day ceremonies