Albany leader blasted for anti-war remarks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany leader blasted for anti-war remarks

April 16, 2003

Albany - Albany surgeon Carl Gordon spends his days at Phoebe Putney's VA Clinic caring for former United States servicemen and women.

And like them, Gordon, too, is a veteran.

That's why he was so offended by remarks by City Commissioner Arthur Williams.

"We're very sensitive about any negative comments made about the military, about the base and about Albany, Georgia," Gordon said.

Just two weeks ago, Williams decided to use the end of a city commission meeting as his chance to speak out against the war.

   "I see no reason why we bombed the area and we attempt to assassinate, we invade, then we send the poorest of the poor to fight a corporation war," Williams said that night.

Now leaders of the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Criterion Club have signed and distributed a letter blasting Williams. He didn't return several phone calls requesting an interview.

The letter states that "military service is not a last resort of the poor and disadvantaged, but is representative of all segments of our society... By choice, individuals join the military and these individuals include some of the most skilled, intelligent and courageous young people our country has to offer."

"Certainly, Commissioner Williams has the right to express his views," said Courtney Brinson, chairman of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce.  "And there is the freedom to do that in this country."

But the letter contrasts William's free speech to life in Iraq where citizens don't have that right.

"You have thousands of jobs at MCLB which pumps 217 million dollars into this community every year," Brinson said.

Gordon says that's something to be proud of.

"We certainly are advantaged to have it and we should do everything to protect it," he said.

And, he says, to not speak out against someone who insults the military and this community would be an injustice to this country.

posted at 10:40 p.m. by brannon.stewart@walb.com