|WHERE IS THE COMMON SENSE
IN THIS IRAQ WAR?
By David Saperstein
I was going to wait before sending this, my second e-pamphlet, to see if the candidates might stop attacking each other with petty crap and get to the future of our country. I thought my e-mail might deal with health care, or the budget and taxes, or education, or jobs.
But last night one thousandth (1,000) American soldier was killed in Iraq. I am deeply saddened and angry. I must speak out now about this senseless, horrible war.
First let me say that I weep for all the families and loved ones of those 1,000+, and for the families and loved ones of the nearly 7,000 maimed and wounded young American men and women. And who knows how many innocent Iraqis have died or been maimed and wounded? There are no numbers. My life experience, and the macho posturing of our leaders, tells me there will be many, many more dead and maimed in the days and months to come.
Once again the so-called media has let us down and disgraced itself. It seems it is more important for them to babble on incessantly about some disgruntled “Swift-Boat” sailors still fighting the Vietnam war; or comment and pontificate over the convention ranting of politicians from both parties; or awe us with how someone set a money winning record on Jeopardy, than it is to report on the senseless killing of our young men and women in Iraq. Make no mistake when you hear the mantra that “The Media is Liberal”. It is NOT. It is right wing, slanted, bought and paid for by big corporate money and special interests.
I told you that I imagine the spirit of my neighbor, Thomas Paine, encourages me to speak out. In his honor, I call this e-pamphlet:
WHERE IS THE COMMON SENSE IN THIS IRAQ WAR?
I am not a Democrat or Republican. I am a veteran who served at a time when everyone was supposed to serve...well almost everyone. I know something about military service. In no way do I blame the brave men and women who have been sent to fight in Iraq. They are my heroes. But our leaders who sent them, ill prepared, ill equipped, undermanned and without a plan to secure the peace, are neither brave, nor heroes. The proof is clearly before us. We are mired down in an urban war without enough troops and support to win. We are without the strong allies we once had. We are told we must pay and pay and pay for this adventure, but the rich can have their taxes back. Madness.
The “mess” in Iraq, as Madeline Albright calls it, is the result of the current administration’s flawed policies. They cannot push the blame for the dead and wounded and maimed on Bill Clinton, or John Kerry, or even George Bush the first. George Bush the second, Dick Cheney, and their advisors bear the responsibility for the carnage.
For, this election demands answers to several questions that we should be asking our leaders, and those who would be our leaders. The so-called media has demonstrated that they will not do it. That, in itself, is a grave danger to our freedom. We must demand answers, not platitudes, not obfuscation, and certainly not lies. I will not accept dead men and women as the price we must pay for lies and incompetence.
1-Why are we not allowed, as a nation, to mourn our dead soldiers? Why are their bodies brought back unseen and unwelcome by those who sent them to war?
The public is banned from viewing and honoring the dead arrive at Dover AFB and other locations. The media is also not allowed. The Department of Defense has ordered this. The Secretary of Defense was appointed by this administration. There is not martial law in this country. Why is the Secretary of Defense allowed to suspend the First Amendment?
2-Why are we not allowed to grieve with the families and loved ones of these fallen heroes?
There are some real journalists, like Jim Lehrer on PBS, whose program shows the pictures and names of the dead heroes. The other so-called media used to do it, but they seem disinterested now. Are dead soldiers no longer worth talking about? Or are they so embarrassed for their masters? Or have they been ordered to hide the carnage? I hope you will ask them. I hope you will demand information.
3-Why are we not allowed to see and know the terrible price paid by our young men and women who are maimed and wounded? Why are we not allowed to praise them; help them; honor them; comfort them?
I visit a local veteran’s hospital often. I see more and more young patients there. Then I hear people like Representative Tom DeLay (did he serve in the military?) and some of his cohorts, trying to cut veterans benefits. It disgusts me, as it should you – veteran or not. Let him know how you feel about that.
I am also deeply offended by the saber rattling and frowning war masks on George Bush and Dick Cheney who had the opportunity to serve their country and go to war when their generation was called, but chose to use influence and be safe in the National Guard, or get five deferments because of “other priorities”. All the posturing in the world cannot remove that stain on their records. They ran away and John Kerry didn’t, no matter what some rich oil tycoon in Texas tries to sell you via disgruntled sailors.
4-Why do we have so few allies helping us in Iraq?
We are alone because this administration, impatient to go to war over what we are now told was VERY BAD INTELLIGENCE, namely weapons of mass destruction and ties to 911, lied to the American people, the Congress, and the world. The American people, distraught over 911, stupidly gave the administration a blank check. I believe the facts bear out that they never intended to let the UN do its job. And when our strong allies, other than Britain, asked for patience and restrain, they were snubbed and made fun of. They were called the “old Europe”... French fries became freedom fries... Do you remember all that hatred spouted against Germany and France and Russia and China? Do you remember how we laughed at them? Well, they are not the ones burying their young men and women over ego and oil.
I work in Europe often. I was in Germany shortly after 911. The outpouring of support and sympathy was palpable. The outrage they felt toward the murderers was vocal and sincere. Most Europeans think highly of America. Most also think George Bush and Dick Cheney are at the least fools, and at the worst, the most dangerous killers on the planet. All the support is gone – wasted by arrogance, ignorance and greed.
4-Why must America and Americans bear the brunt of the cost of this adventure in Iraq?
We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars, and there is no end in sight. Snookered again, this administration refuses to tell us what it really costs, and what it will cost down the road. If a Senator of Congressperson votes against more money for war, they are labeled as traitors. What shall we call people who send our young to die while they remain safe; while they encourage us to “live or normal lives”; while no sacrifice is asked for except that of we have money we accept the gift of less taxes.
And so we are in record deficit that will continue well into the future. Our children and grandchildren will also have to pay for this madness. Interest rates are beginning to climb. We have had a great, heavy, financial stone slung around our necks - it is called WAR! And we must pay for their game.
5-What has happened to the war against the people who actually attacked us?
They weren’t from Iraq. There were a lot of them in Afghanistan and the administration rightly attacked them. That was a good response. The world cheered and understood. Many came to help us, and they are still trying to help us there. NATO is involved.
But then we suddenly went off point and started a war in Iraq. Saddam Hussein did not attack us. He did not have the weapons we were lied to about. He was not part of Al Qaeda. We were lied to. Lied to. Lied to. Say the word. The media hasn’t the courage to do that. Politicians make excuses not to use it. We must.
We are not fighting a war on terror, or even against it. Terror is a tactic, not an organization or army or country.
The people who want to kill us live in many countries, and many of those countries support and nourish them. The people who attacked us on September 11, 2001, came mostly from Saudi Arabia. They were funded by Saudis. Their leader is a Saudi. He smiled and praised the attack. And he is still at large. And the Saudis still fund the terrorists, and in their Madras’s (Islamic Fundamentalist schools) teach children all over the world to hate American; to hate other religions, especially Christians and Jews; to hate Israel; to hate democracy. They teach that killing us is what God (Allah) wishes them to do. The enemy is called Al Qaeda, Wahabbists, Islamic Fundamentalists.
6-How did this enemy grow so strong? Will it grow stronger because of our current policies?
Originally these Fundamentalists were concentrated in the Middle East. Many were and are Wahabbists, a strict, orthodox Muslim sect, rooted in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The so-called “Royal” house of Saud has made a deal with them to look the other way as long as they don’t attack the royals or their oil.
In Afghanistan, they were financed by the American CIA to fight the Soviet Union. Then, when the defeated Soviets withdrew, we left them to gain control over the country through the Taliban who are also Muslim Fundamentalists. There they grew in strength and trained thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of fighters and terrorists, and sent them to organizations throughout the world to wreak havoc. They were all under an loose umbrella organization called A; Qaeda. 911 is a result of that training and organization. Al Qaeda is still quite large and growing every day. Now they recruit thousands because of our starting this war in Iraq. There they train; arm; kill Americans; gather strength. And because we have been so distracted, and our resources have been diverted, they are rising once again in Afghanistan. But what do you hear, read or see about Afghanistan these days from our so-called media? Nothing.
Yet our young men and women are there, under manned and bravely dying there.
Our Al Qaeda enemy has sanctuary in Syria and Lebanon. They train there. They are sheltered by Yassar Arafat and their cousins in terror, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas. They are funded by Saudi Arabia.
They called their attacks on 911 Jihad – holy war. The senseless war in Iraq has given Al Qaeda a recruitment bonanza - justification for their cause that America is the new colonialist...that America wants the oil...that American Christians are on a new Crusade against Islam.
7-Can we win this war?
Yes, but not alone. And no, if it is fought to benefit profiteers who get billions of dollars in no-bid contracts like Halliburton and Bechtel and GE. These are the same companies whose off shore subsidiaries do business with our enemies. I have no tolerance for those who pour American money into countries whose oppressive governments then use it to destroy us. That is madness. I hope you will tell our government IT MUST STOP NOW!
What is required is a worldwide effort by people who want to live free. If that sounds like a cliché, if the words “bore” you, I suggest you take a trip to the beaches of Normandy, France, or the slopes of Mount Surabachi, Iwo Jima, or even Arlington National Cemetery, and look upon the rows of graves of young men and women who valued freedom for us, and the world, and were, like the young men and women sent to Iraq, willing to die for us. They are heroes. But those who sent them to Iraq are not!
8-What comes next?
We have been pumped up into a state of fear. The president and vice president now tell us that if they are not reelected we will surely be attacked again. They tell us they are the only ones who can protect us. That is fear mongering and blatant opportunism. But I am willing to make a deal. I’ll vote for Bush and Cheney, but if we are attacked in the US on their watch, they, and their cabinet must resign immediately and a special election must be held. Do you think they would go for that? And if they won’t, what do their words mean, other than fear mongering. I’ll go with FDR – “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.” That may put Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft off their game, but I’d rather keep the constitution as is.
Don’t be afraid. It isn’t politicians who protect us. It’s the army, and smart generals who are not politically controlled, and smart intelligence people who are not politically controlled, and a police force properly equipped and informed. And most of all, it is we the people. This is our country. Yours and mine. I hope we will not allow our enemies from without, and within, to ruin it. Whatever your politics, please don’t let fear mongering allow fanatics to usurp our freedoms and constitutional rights.
WE MUST ALL SACRIFICE TO KEEP OUR FREEDOM – ALL OF US!
THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH!
I believe the war in Iraq was a monumental mistake that has resulted in a serious distraction away from our war with Al Qaeda and Islamic Fundamentalists, and in keeping Afghanistan free from the Taliban.
I believe we are in a quagmire in Iraq, alone and vulnerable, without a workable plan to get out, throwing precious lives and treasure down a black hole.
I believe this ill conceived war in Iraq will result in that country, and perhaps much of the Middle East, being torn by civil war for years. This means more death and destruction, and a training ground for thousands of terrorists who will hate and target America and Americans.
I believe that unless we radically change our policies in Iraq it will eventually become a Fundamentalist Muslim theocracy, allied with a similar government in Afghanistan, and with nuclear possessing Iran and Pakistan.
I believe this administration’s current military and fiscal policies will drain our national wealth into unmanageable and disastrous deficits that will burden us and future generations while rewarding the rich and well connected.
I believe, if this administration is reelected, we will, by necessity, have to reinstate the draft because we do not have a military capable of fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea by ourselves. It is clear that we have no strong allies to come on those kinds of war adventures with us now. I do not want my children and grandchildren fighting for oil companies and to keep despots, kings, and dictators in power so that international corporations can “do business as usual”.
I do not believe that we should be a religious state, nor should religious beliefs of any kind be the rationale to change our Constitution or limit our human rights and freedom.
Finally, COMMON SENSE and Tom Pain’s spirit, tells me that this election is not about the next four years, or even the twenty. Nor is it about the next 1,000 dead or 7,000 wounded Americas. It is about the very future of our country and our freedom with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of lives at stake.
I had a visitor from abroad stay with me last week. He had never been to New York City. I took him on a tour (I was born and grew up here). As part of it we went downtown to the site of the World Trade Center attack. I had been there a few after the attack to see if I could help. I went back a few weeks later, but the odor was overwhelming and I had to leave. It had been nearly three years since I had visited the site. To me, it is still hallowed ground. A cemetery. I do not approve of commerce rising there. We do not build offices or homes on top of Arlington, or Gettysburg, or Normandy, or Surabachi. I do not approve of anyone, president, governor, senator, congressperson, mayor...ANYONE using it as a personal symbol of their courage, determination, valor or heroism. The place and the memory belongs to the thousands who perished there, and their families and loved ones. It belongs to all people who live free and without fear.
Those who wish to kill us and destroy our way of life can be stopped if we aggressively go after the people and nations who really support them, finance them, give them sanctuary, train them, teach them to hate us, and send them to kill us. This is not what the common people of the Muslim world, or followers of Islam, wish. It is the leaders, fanatics, and radicals who to want to kill us. We know who they are. We know where they are. If Halliburton and Bechtel and GE and hundreds of other “multi-nationals” want to do business with them, and give them money so that more Americans can die, WELL I FOR ONE, DON’T.
A note: The response to my first e-pamphlet has been quite surprising. I sent out about 2,600.
110 came back as no such address or blocked.
47 asked to be removed from the mailing list.
83 sent me thanks, or notes saying there were some good ideas, and that they were sharing them.
9 had an exchange of ideas with me via e-mail in which we had differing views and talked them out.
I am encouraged. I hope this method of communication and exchange of information, and beliefs, can grow. I encourage you to speak out and engage others in the debate. That is our right and duty, and the best way we can keep freedom for our kids, and grandkids, and American generations beyond and into the future.
Philosoraptor welcomes comments about anything on this website, and is willing to review your writing for possible publication here. All essays published here remain the copyright of the writer. You may forward via email or share this essay as it is, without changes and credited to the writer, without express permission of Philosoraptor and the writer.
Philosoraptor Website Design by PhotoMD web design.