Letters to the Editor

Danger of dissent

Navy lawyer Cmdr. Charles Swift, who successfully challenged George W. Bush in the Supreme Court regarding military tribunals for prisoners at Guantánamo, learned two weeks after that victory that he would not be promoted to commander. Under the "up or out" promotion system, he had to leave the military and retire.

Victor Davis Hanson asks, in "Questionable histories of the Iraq War" (Oct. 15), "Where are the unnamed dissenters?" For an answer he can look at known dissenters, top people in government who dissented, committing career suicide. Richard Clarke, who served under three presidents was demoted. Paul O'Neill, treasury secretary, was asked to resign. Gen. Anthony Zinni failed reappointment. Gen. Eric Shinseki, Army chief of staff, had to leave. Dozens more were demoted, forced out or resigned.

Dr. Hanson questions whether what the unnamed dissenters say is true. Likely there's more truth there than in what comes from this administration. Those who write history will need to hear the voices of unnamed sources, because dissenters who can afford to risk their careers by speaking out publicly are few in number.

Betty Sempadian