Real glory is in peace

Letters to the editor

Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2004

The United States is fighting a war against an enemy using guerrilla tactics and fighting in their home territory. The United States used these tactics to defeat the British during the American Revolution. The U.S. had a difficult time fighting against the Vietnamese, who also used Guerrilla tactics. And the IRA, using similar tactics as the terrorists, was able to hold out for many years against the British.

In all of these examples an outclassed opponent was able to fight successfully against a superior force by using guerrilla tactics. I fear that this fighting will drag on for a long time.

We were all told that the strike against Iraq was a pre-emptive strike. Our president told us that we were no longer going to wait to be attacked but we were going to attack first. If we follow this line of thinking will we continue to invade countries, as we perceive them as terrorist threats? Perhaps, we expect our enemies to follow this same line of thinking and to choose to attack us based on the belief they will be attacked. Terrorism is a horrible problem with no easy solutions. However, it does not seem very plausible for us to make war against another country, as we did in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Often we hear very little about the numbers of civilians that are killed during war. We are fighting against terrorists, who kill our civilians. It's a shame that we accidentally kill civilians ourselves to achieve our goal of stopping the terrorist. A recent Associated Press story reports that an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 Iraqi civilians have died during this war. Of course, the U.S. and Iraq are both responsible for civilian deaths, and no one knows which side has been responsible for how many of these deaths. But we can be sure that these results are a direct result of the decision to go to war. In comparison, we have only lost around 1,000 U.S. soldiers. In light of the large number of civilian casualties it's easy to understand why some Iraqis have not welcomed the U.S. with open arms.

Does it really matter to the person whether they got killed by a car bomb or a stray bomb from a war plane?

President Bush will be remembered for this war on Iraq. He could leave a greater legacy if he could begin to wage peace in the Middle East. Mr. Bush should follow the example set by Ronald Reagan, who is often credited with improving relations with the Russians and ending the cold war. I do believe that Gorbachev played a big role in this as well.

Building peace is a much more profound and glorious goal than the path leading to war and destruction. A U.S. president who can build peace will be remembered as a true statesman.

Erik Stimpfle

Juneau





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