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Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010

READERS IN COUNCIL

Ditching U.S. citizenship is a copout


By JONATHAN WILLIAMS
Tokyo

Regarding Roger Pulvers' Aug. 22 Counterpoint article, "How to stand, individually, against your nation on the warpath?": I find his decision to run to Australia and relinquish his U.S. citizenship a complete copout. Pulvers explains that the difference between Australia's treatment of the Vietnam War and America's was made clear by the newly elected, antiwar Australian prime minister who came to power in December 1972. The new prime minister banned conscription, and his party went so far as to call for boycotts of U.S. products. Wow! Really?

Did Pulvers, blinded by the Australian sun, suddenly lose all contact with the millions of Americans who were, in fact, actively protesting the Vietnam War? These were fellow countrymen who actually had a spine and did what we, in democracies, can so easily do: speak out.

The most ridiculous statement of Pulvers' article comes later: "I never made much of a vocal stand against the war. Leaving my country was the best I could do."

I beg to differ. The "best you could do" would be to stand with the rest of us Americans who still believe that, however flawed, the United States has been — and can once again be — an extremely powerful force for good in the world. The difference between the nation correcting itself or going further astray will always be made by the decisions of its "enlightened citizens" to fight the battle where it must be fought: within our own country.

It is precisely for love of my country and countrymen that I choose to retain my American citizenship and work for change within it. America needs us.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.


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