Natalie has to die, na, na, na, na, na, na

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 17, 2003

The Dixie Chicks are my favorite musicians. On the rare occasions when I even listen to music, more often than not it’s theirs I seek.

I find their tunes moving and exciting, their lyrics fun and witty, and singer Natalie Maines’s voice to be powerful, sexy and pretty. Amazingly, I’ve never once pondered their politics.

Fortunately for me, their CDs are likely headed toward the $3.99 bin after comments Maines made at a performance last week. She told a London audience that she was ashamed President Bush was from Texas, the state from which the trio hails. Maines immediately apologized for the remarks, stating that she merely got caught up in the anti-war sentiment so prevalent in Europe.


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The incident came to my attention Friday afternoon while I was scanning the Associated Press wire in search of news to put in Saturday’s paper. By the time I was on my way home at 11 p.m., the radio talk show hosts were hard at work trashing her.

&uot;She’s really supporting our troops,&uot; one female host said.

It was no different on TV when I got home. News footage showed people dumping Chicks CDs into trash cans. Some radio stations have already announced they will not play Dixie Chicks music.

Forgetting for just a moment what possible difference it could make to the U.S. war effort what a 5-foot-nothing, blonde, chunky, tattooed, 20-something Texan with a high school diploma has to say – come on, folks, try to get a grip – I don’t see how being critical of our president’s policies can possibly be equated with not supporting our troops. It’s a big leap.

Weren’t U.S. troops alongside U.N. forces in harm’s way in Kosovo when people were standing on the floor of Congress trashing Bill Clinton for being a lying, womanizing creep, which he was. Heck, the Republican Congress tried to impeach him. I don’t recall anybody calling Rush Limbaugh, Trent Lott or Dick Armey unpatriotic, or radio stations refusing to broadcast Limbaugh’s show.

I have to sympathize with Maines after what happened here last week. One of our employees quoted me in the paper as having referred to the president as a dimwit. The remark was made during a private work-related conversation and it angered me when I saw it in print. It shouldn’t have been printed. I’m sorry that it was. It was intended to be humorous, but when it made its way into print it sure looked mean, insensitive and disrespectful – as one of our readers was kind enough to point out in a letter to the editor – and I regret having said it.

When I said it, however, it was with no ill will toward our brave troops stationed in the Middle East. It was uttered more out of sadness and disgust over the prospects of this nation losing the admiration of the world, relinquishing any moral authority to which we could ever lay claim and in which we have always taken such pride, increasing the likelihood of terrorist attacks against us and very likely sounding the death knell for any hope of economic recovery in the foreseeable future when Iraq poses no proven threat to our security.

Yes, I do remember 9-11, and when we destroy Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power I’m sure I will join my countrymen in feeling gratified and thankful that some justice has been done. Be that as it may, those who perpetrated the 9-11 attacks will still be out there. Our &uot;friends&uot; in Saudi Arabia will still be giving them money and North Korea will still be making nuclear weapons. We won’t be a whole heckuvalot safer.

Saddam needs to be removed. He’s a degenerate tyrant who has violated dozens of United Nations resolutions and is fully deserving of the most brutal punishment that mankind and the mighty U.S. armed forces can administer before he begins spending eternity in hell. With that being the case, I don’t see the point in not allowing him to violate one or two more resolutions if that’s what it takes to make us the good guys in the eyes of the world.

Regardless of our opinions on action in Iraq, it’s evident that war’s coming any day now. I hope we are successful and that President Bush achieves a lasting peace in the region, even though I harbor doubts that an unsanctioned pre-emptive attack will endear us to the people there.

And when the bombs start dropping, Americans – probably Natalie Maines among them – will rally to support our troops. We’ll pray for their swift success, safe return home and thank God that they are there fighting for our rights, the ability to publicly criticize our leaders or their policies without fear of retribution perhaps chief among them.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald.