If the purpose of the letters forum is to enlighten and present points of view that may change one's mind, then those who engage in name-calling and ad hominem attacks violate that principle.
Specifically, I mention Bill Warner's letter (Jan. 28) in which he refers to the Bush administration as "flag-wrapped cowards" and "chickenhawks." Persuasive argument involves setting a premise and presenting a logical series of statements designed to strengthen that premise. Mr. Warner's comments serve only a catharsis of frustration and validation by those who support similar views.
Mr. Warner began his letter with what seemed like a sound answer to a trite question, which asked how many war protesters served in the military. Rather than illustrating why military veterans have a right (like any other American) to protest the war, he spiraled into a litany of names that, according to the listed Web site, served little or no time in the military. He finishes with the name-calling. What might have been a sound response turned into hateful rhetoric.
It is doubtful any minds became sympathetic to Mr. Warner's cause as a result of his letter.
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Christopher G. Tasy