Dishonest debate justifies our dissenting judgment

Friday, February 7, 2003 at 1:00am

Robust debate is one of the things that has made this country great. The Founding Fathers really went after one another during the forging of the Constitution, and sometimes the verbal rancor was frightening in its intensity.

But the Founders had common ground in that they believed in the concept of a free United States and that individual rights were the key to that freedom. Theirs was a labor of love, and they all were proud to be called Americans.

Fast forward to the current debate over Iraq. The intensity is certainly there, and for the most part, the differences of opinion are sincere. But there are major exceptions. Some Americans who object to any military action against Iraq believe that the United States is, itself, a terrorist nation and that anything the Bush administration proposes is to be scorned.

A few days ago, an organization called "Not In Our Name" paid for a two-page advertisement in The New York Times, part of which said: "We too watched with shock the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. We too mourned the thousands of innocent dead and shook our heads at the terrible scenes of carnage

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