My Turn: Still reason to speak up

Posted: Wednesday, April 02, 2003

In reference to Mr. Harben's letter to the editor of March 25, I would like to clarify a few things: Protesting this illegal war is called dissent and the last time I checked one could still do so, though I have my doubts about how long we will be able to continue to have this basic freedom so dear to us all. There is a long history of dissent in this country - much of it justified - the Mexican War, the Civil War on both sides, the Spanish-American War and Vietnam, to name a few.

An unjust, illegal, preemptive war is unjust after it starts as well as it was before. To protest the war is to protest the president's policies. It is not directed against the troops who must follow orders. I suppose the German people in World War II also felt as Mr. Harben does, "let's come together and support all our service men and women," right or wrong. I wish to lend my support by working to bring them home.

Mr. Harben states that "it is time to put your political beliefs and prejudices on hold until the action comes to a close." On the contrary, now is the very time we should express our deep felt opinions about how to achieve peace and justice. Mr. Harben prefers to call my beliefs "political and prejudiced." Does this mean that his are not? I can understand Mr. Harben's frustration with people who differ from his point of view, but it is no time to resort to petty name calling, "whining" indeed.

Does anyone believe we would be fighting a war in Iraq if there were no oil? We seem to have tolerated brutal dictatorships as long as they were our dictatorships - witness Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Philippines, Iran. Do not try to convince me this war is about freeing the Iraqi people.

Our troops are our precious young. I am not in favor of using them in an undeclared war that was not debated in Congress, was not agreed to by the United Nations or is not in defense of our country.

By the way, I agree with the 800-pound gorilla image of Mr. Lie-Nielsen. Mr. Bush's actions are called "misplace aggression or projection" in medical circles. Many believe Saddam Hussein was involved with the 9/11 tragedy. Have they forgotten that 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudis, and there has been no proven connection with Iraq? With that said, I would feel better about this war if I had any faith in the Bush leadership's ability to put forth genuine, honest diplomacy. He and his advisors have done nothing but insult and intimidate our adversaries, as well as our allies. He has undercut the United Nations, the outgrowth of a devastating war. Fortunately, we had more broadly thinking leadership during and after WWII - Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Marshall - who were committed to working toward a peaceful world. Our present leadership appears to be drunk on power, painting the world in black and white terms, and delighting in pushing our weight around. I fear that, just as in individual human terms, this strategy can come to no good end.

If our government has a mission to defend the Constitution and promote a secure future for its citizens, it is my opinion the present action represents a failure in both. By initiating war we have entered into previously uncharted territory for our country. We cannot cry "foul" over any atrocity committed against us, now we have openly declared "might makes right."

William Cole is a medical doctor who resides in Auke Bay.

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