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Craig Garaas-Johnson letter: Examine carefully the tough questions

With all the attention in the media given to lists of important events and people, I think we ought to cite 2006 as the year of the partisan hack. Watching "The O'Reilly Factor," I was not surprised to once again hear the question "Do you want to...

With all the attention in the media given to lists of important events and people, I think we ought to cite 2006 as the year of the partisan hack.

Watching "The O'Reilly Factor," I was not surprised to once again hear the question "Do you want to win the war?" Aside from the fact that the person asked has an incalculably small impact on the outcome, this question is built around a flawed premise: namely that there is an answer.

"Do you want to win the war?" sounds harmless enough to most people because the expected answer is that yes, everyone wants to win a war. Or, more precisely, no one wants to lose.

The question also implies that, of course, the asker wants to win the war. The belief is that supporting America's wars is patriotic, and if patriotism is a desirable trait, then not to support wars is to be against America.

A question like this, which is really just a false choice, serves only to quell dissent. If I were to say to you: We can end hunger, we can cure cancer, or we can fight terrorism. Which do you want to do? What is your answer? If you give any answer other than fighting terrorism, then, secretly, you must support it.

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It is in this way that rhetoric is used against men and women of conscience to paint them into a corner.

It is time that we stop listening to these partisan hacks and get back to reality. Here's my quick list: Supporting the troops has nothing to do with supporting the President's policies - no matter what the party. Winning the "war on terror" is impossible because terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. And finally, a "liberal media," is desirable if for no other reason than liberal must be understood as a synonym for free. The fact that a sitting President can be asked tough questions is not media bias - it is their job. That ensures real "fairness" and "balance."

Craig Garaas-Johnson

Fargo

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