To the Editor:

Let us not take for granted our right to boo the president (“Booing Bush at Yale Bowl inappropriate,” 10/9). I too was a little irked by the booing of President Bush at Friday’s Tercentennial extravaganza, but I don’t see how the booing students were helping to lose the war on terrorism.

In a letter today, Christopher Wu argued that these agents of bin Laden should not have booed because they damaged our national unity and because they reduced our government to that of the Taliban, where citizens also boo their leaders.

To his first point I ask what national unity? Were you paying attention on the last Election Day and the months of debate that followed? Americans have the right to dissent and in doing so strengthen our nation. And we elevate our government above the Taliban when we boo our leaders.

Those living under the brutal regime in Afghanistan most likely want to boo, but they cannot. As former President Clinton adroitly noted on Saturday, we cannot win this war until we bring the right of dissent and all the other rights of democracy to Afghanistan.

Those who booed may not be American patriots, but they are about as far as you can get from the scourges of democracy that Wu labels them.

Joel Flaxman ’03

October 9, 2001