Degrees of sacrifice

  The degree of one's patriotism can be measured by what is risked by the individual. Todd Wilkinson's recent essay said, "Yet how is standing up to battle against landscape destruction any less a patriotic calling than what is being asked of our soldiers in Iraq?" (HCN, 1/21/08) Conservationists rarely risk their lives or even their safety for the cause, while soldiers in Iraq are often charged with their life or health for what they believe in. I went to Iraq believing that there always have to be soldiers ready to do the nation's heavy lifting. A soldier's job is not to question, only to do.

Mailing a rock to Gov. Racicot hardly asks as much of a person. I agree that the consequences of not conserving the natural landscape are dire, but fighting a legal or legislative battle is not the same as one with bullets. Please, don't dare to compare the sacrifice of letter writers or tree spikers with those of soldiers. What I did as a soldier and what I now do as a conservationist are not the same. I am offended that the two are compared in bold print in HCN.

Mike Talia
Missoula, Montana