Limit speech to proper times

As Americans, we should cherish the rights protected by the First Amendment, but we should probably use a little discretion before exercising them. Free speech and the right to peaceably assemble are two of the most important rights protected by the First Amendment. Combined, they give us our right to protest.

Last week, former presidential envoy to Iraq Paul Bremer came to TCU to promote his book “My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope.” With Bremer’s visit, we saw a rare display of student activism.

According to an article from Tuesday’s Skiff, as many as 12 students turned out to voice their displeasure with the war in Iraq.

“I don’t agree with the reasons the war was started,” said Lyndsay Peden, a protestor and freshman biology and political science major.

OK, we get it: You’re against the war. You’ve been against the war. But isn’t it time to retire the “no war for oil” argument, at least as it relates to Iraq? We’re there, we’ve been there and we’re going to stay awhile. What could possibly come of endlessly debating our reasons for going there in the first place?

Was this really the best time to make your point – with Bremer inside, talking about rebuilding a devastated, war-torn country? Who could possibly be against that?

One protestor’s sign said, “Support Our Troops, Bring Them Home.” Really? No one can change the past. Iraq, regardless of the reason, has been torn apart by American bombs. Is it not our responsibility to ensure, or at least do our best to bring some sort of stability to the nation? Bringing American troops home now and leaving Iraqis at the mercy of power-hungry factions doesn’t seem too sane or civil.

Protest can be a powerful tool. It’s part of what makes America great. Don’t diminish its value by stepping on your soapbox at every mention of Iraq.

-News editor Mike Dwyer for the editorial board