6/9/2003

 

Now we're fighting people who aren't terrorists

 

I always value feedback, but I have to admit I found it humorous that my last column, which was on one of the most innocuous topics I've written about (living in the present) drew a critical letter. I guess it just goes to show that you can't be concerned about how people will react when you express your opinion. No matter what it is, someone will take exception.

 

The writer objected that I didn't say something about Memorial Day. Well I have in the past, and it's available at my web site. I'll say again that I honor anyone who does what their conscience leads them to do, and the more courageous it is, the more honor it deserves.

 

After the war in Iraq got into full swing I took a break from writing on such issues because I'd been doing so much of it. Nothing in my mind has changed in the mean time. That the people of Iraq are relieved of a terrible oppressor is no surprise. Still, it was a war fought on a false pretext, that set a terrible precedent, and severely damaged our ability to lead the world into an era of international cooperation.

 

It doesn't really matter if leftovers of old weapons material are found. That's not what the war was about. I could say that the nation was lied too, but it's difficult to portray it as lying when it was clear then, as it is now, that the real motivation was to start a new way of dealing with the world, a way that relies less on cooperation and more on war, threats, and domination.

 

For a politician to advocate such an approach in their campaign and let the voters decide would be fine. But for a president to steer the country in such a radical new direction under false pretenses, without so much as a chance for public debate is...well...rather than try to find terms for it I'll just hope that the election of 2004 clarifies such issues, and that people vote from the wisdom that democracy depends on.

 

A recent news article said we are sending additional troops to a city in Iraq that has a lot of anti-American sentiment. Unfortunately earlier in the war some civilians were killed. U. S. soldiers have also died there. It looks like a relatively unimportant article but it's really quite telling. Sending more troops there is a significant change of policy, but the unavoidable consequence of our actions.  In Afghanistan and, theoretically, in Iraq we were fighting terrorism. In this case we are sending troops after people who are not accused of being terrorists or of having weapons of mass destruction. They simply want us to leave. This case is all tied up with issues of the war, but it is an indicator of the direction we are headed.

 

If some would take my criticism as un-American, it's really just the opposite. It is because these actions are contrary to what is best about us that they are of concern. If you don't like the sound of "America the occupier" don't waste your anger on the messenger. Do something about those who got us into this.