Soldier's Writings Share Thoughts on Freedom

Excerpts from letters written to newspapers between 1998 and 2002 by Washington state National Guardsman, Spc. Ryan G. Anderson (search), now in military custody for investigation of aiding the enemy:

— From a 1998 letter published by The Spokesman-Review:

"Today I am a young soldier, sworn to protect and defend this country. But if tomorrow I find that this nation is no longer the one based upon the freedom I was taught to love, I'll have little choice but to go where I can live in freedom."

— In a Jan. 24, 1999, letter to The Herald of Everett:

"Should any law be passed which allows anyone to come and, without due cause, take my arms, I and every other lawfully armed American citizen has a right to resist that degradation with every means possible.

"This is America. Millions have died for our freedoms, and I'd rather die too than see it taken away. If you don't support that, get the heck out of my county and go somewhere else that suits your tastes better, or in simpler terms: America, if you don't love it, leave it."

— In a May 1999 letter to The Herald:

"If you aren't a patriot, what right do you have to be a citizen? I believe in this country so strongly that I joined the military to fight for it, and I swore an oath to uphold and defend its ideals and Constitution — its unabridged Constitution."

— In a 2001 letter to the Spokane newspaper, Anderson said he feared war in Afghanistan because "elements in our own society who would rob us of our individual liberties and freedoms can use the auspices of national security to steal them."

"No amount of gun control, press restriction or racial or religious profiling will save us from a body count like that of Sept. 11," he wrote.

— From a letter sent to The Herald in November 2002:

"The Muslim world is hurting today, but in the past our roles have been reversed. Islam at one time led the world in art, science, education and culture, while Christendom was nothing more than an assemblage of brutal, backward fiefdoms. ...

"In my three years as an observant Muslim, I've encountered nothing but kindness, patience, courtesy and understanding from them. On the other hand, I have experienced bigotry, hatred and mindless rage from so-called 'educated thinkers' here in the U.S."