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I have been following the Juneau Empire's coverage on the U.S. "War on Terror" for a long time now. The death toll on U.S. soldiers continues to creep up higher. Wednesday's paper said that 37 more U.S. soldiers died in action in one day alone. This war that has no definite time or place, points to a war that also has no end. A war that has no end also means that our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, will continue to die indefinitely.
As a longtime Quaker and graduate of University of Alaska Southeast, I am saddened by the death toll of our troops and the innocent Iraqis, Afghans, and others whose deaths are unwarranted. I am worried about the incongruity of our own historical experience here in the United States and the current foreign policy we are inflicting on the world.
Slavery was not abolished in the United States because some foreign military power told us to; we the people of this country had to bring an end to slavery ourselves. Voting rights for women and African Americans could not be imposed by a foreign power; we had to win those rights for ourselves in our own struggle.
Likewise, people in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia must struggle for their own rights and freedoms. The U.S. government can aid this process first and foremost by ordering cease fires, withdrawing all our troops from Iraq and immediately transferring full authority to the new Iraqi government. Secondly, our government and we as individuals can encourage the free exchange of ideas and experiences between peoples; the same kind that helped to inspire us in our struggles.