Name-calling doesnt' help

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2004

As a Christian who opposed the Iraq war from its conception, I feel a need to respond to some of Matt Skerbitz's assertions. First, supporters of the war don't believe in "war, murder, sexual depravity, etc." any more than war opponents believed in the goodness of Saddam Hussein. Many war supporters favor the war out of the discredited belief that Iraq was behind 9/11 or had strong ties to al-Qaida. Others supported the war out of the false belief that massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction were waiting to be found. They wanted deliverance from these fears for themselves and for the world. Still others believed the President meant what he said about bringing freedom and prosperity to the Iraqi people, perhaps not realizing that we support despots from Saudi Arabia to Central Asia. Instead of calling war supporters names, we on the other side should point out these mistaken beliefs as many times as it takes until people know the truth.

As far as "good Germans" go, most war supporters, including the president, are disgusted with the torture at Abu Ghraib. Unlike Nazi Germany, American instances of torture are investigated, not celebrated. It may take the patriotic leaking of photographs to get that investigation taken seriously, but it will be done. What we as a nation must do now is to spurn the false comfort of the "few bad apples" theory and take a hard, searching look at both how we treat detainees in all theaters of the "War on Terror" and what criteria we're using to send people into detention in the first place. We must make a firm return to the Geneva Convention so our enemies do not have an easy excuse to mistreat or kill our people. Trying to spread the smear of Abu Ghraib to the whole military will only impede the honest accounting we require.

I absolutely share Mr. Skerbitz's dismay that a majority of Americans still support this dreadful war of choice that has brought us greater insecurity. However, calling fellow Americans names won't shorten the war by a single day. Documenting the misrepresentations used to lead us into this war, and demonstrating the poverty of our current war tactics, might.

Daniel Cornwall


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