A Marine Captain Protests The War

bey John C. Dowell (Commentary submitted to the NCTimes)

I have sworn an oath to support and defend the Constitution and that implies a duty to act when the Constitution is being ignored.

Our commander in chief is directing this nation toward war. He has disrupted the lives of many families here in San Diego County and we are not the only place where that is the case. He is preparing to attack a sovereign country based upon what they might do with what they might have.

There is a major problem here. Our Constitution requires that Congress declare war, and that has not been done. A sniveling resolution about Iraq, like the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, is not a declaration of war.

Korea and Vietnam were not congressionally declared wars and were therefore improper. The president is assuming for us the role of world policeman and that is not a legal or proper role.

This is a serious subject of major consequence and it gives us the opportunity to show the world how this country operates. I am publicly opposing the president. I do not fear government retaliation and I am not concerned about losing my government pension, earned with more than 20 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, which included about 12 unaccompanied deployments and Vietnam.

If we want to get this country on the right track, if we want to operate by the rule of law, if our Constitution makes any difference to us, we must start doing something about it.

Protest. Write and call your representative. Write and call the President. Get informed and get involved.

Before the fighting starts, it is our duty to question our government.

After the fighting starts, it is our duty to support our troops.

If the president decides to ignore the Constitution and attack Iraq, I will still oppose him but I will publicly support our troops because to do otherwise would be giving aid and comfort to an enemy.

There is a time for everything. The time for protest is now.

Let’s do it right. Let’s stop this undeclared war before it starts. There are other ways to deal with Saddam Hussein, and we can win the war on terrorism —- but not this way. Desirable ends never justify illegal and improper means.

This effort is dedicated to my cousin Marty Hunt, who was killed in Vietnam.

How many of you would like to experience the loss of a family member, a friend, a colleague or any fellow citizen in a war that Congress did not and should not declare and therefore is not legal or proper? Obviously, no one wants that.

Thank you for reading what it is my duty to communicate. Please give it some thought.

John C. Dowell of Oceanside retired as a captain from the U.S. Marines.

2/8/03