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In his My Turn column on March 16, Ed Hein stated, "I suspect the Iraq war will be just the first of many wars that our country will initiate." Indeed, speaking at the Azores Summit last weekend, President Bush proudly refers to a war with Iraq as "the first war of the 21st century." Normally, when "first" is used in a sentence, the implication is that there is more to follow. Although he will not outrightly admit it for (justified) fear of public retribution, Bush obviously plans to lead our country down a path of successive imperialistic actions, meaning war. He tries to justify violent solutions to global problems by instilling fear in the American people, in hopes of garnering support for his misguided, self-righteous actions. Fear can be a powerful tool. A fearful population is easier to manipulate. The Bush administration is instituting a culture of fear: Be afraid of everything and everyone foreign to our ethnocentric country. Well I'm afraid of George W. Bush.
The antidote to fear is knowledge (why is school funding one of the first to go in budget crises), as Ed indicates in the title of his letter ("... arm ourselves with the power which knowledge gives"). The National Security Strategy is available to everyone online (a piece of "ammunition," if you will). This document, along with the Patriot Act, excuse blatant transgressions of our Constitution, our civil rights and International diplomacy.
One piece of hypocrisy that stood out quite well amongst so many others in the NSS is this quote of Bush's: "We will preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers." Right. And on we go to our first war of the 21st century.
Maja Britt Watters