Memo to

1. I agree with your efforts to end the war in Iraq. I was opposed to the war from the outset and still am. I believe that the war has weakened America's focus on the war on terrorism, not strengthened it. 
2. But I believe the people who support the war, including President Bush, sincerely believed that the removal of Saddam Hussein was a good thing and was necessary to defeat the terrorists whom Hussein might have assisted. I disagree — but I do not challenge their or anyone's good faith or sincerity, as you do.

3. I strongly disagree with your full-page ad attacking Gen. David Petraeus personally. Your language and innuendo regarding the general's good faith and patriotism was offensive to me.

4. More importantly, I believe your ad hurts the effort to end the war. You risk alienating a broad middle of the electorate who are still ambiguous about a withdrawal timetable and the war and whom we must win over.

5. But I strongly defend your right to dissent during wartime, and strongly disagree with anyone who suggests that your opinions, as outrageous as I believe them to be in choice of words and personal attacks, weaken and divide the country. If anything, your ad was so patently over-the-top and unfair that, in my judgment, few serious people will take it seriously, much less allow it to weaken and divide the country.

6. But I defend your rights under the First Amendment to be outrageous and counter-productive — and the rights of others to disagree with and criticize your words, as I am in my blog. And with your right to disagree with me in response.

That's what the First Amendment is about — not only in wartime but especially in wartime.


Lanny Davis