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Political manipulation

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2002

In the book "Nuremberg Diary," author Gustave Gilbert reports the notorious Nazi Hermann Goering as saying, "Voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

I hope he is wrong. It is my prayer that the Congress and the citizens of the United States are discerning enough to distinguish between the fact that while Saddam Hussein is as wicked a tyrant as any out there today, this does not mean we are in imminent danger of his attacking us. The administration is using scare tactics in an attempt to convince us to support a dangerous policy of unilateral action based on mere assertions - unsubstantiated - of weapons buildup in Iraq. Is there anyone who believes that the rush toward approving sweeping authority for President Bush to act against Iraq as he sees fit is anything but a political move? There is no new evidence necessitating action before election day. Action of this magnitude requires thoughtful, cautious, examination. We must not be manipulated by a political agenda into a hurried timetable but must, instead, insist on careful, deliberate, review and consideration. That's part of what we do in a democracy.

Approval of the proposed resolution would, I believe, not only seriously damage the way the rest of the world sees us, but would increase the likelihood of retaliatory strikes against our citizens both at home and abroad. It plays right into the hands of those who hate us, making it easier to portray us as a people willing and even eager to take the law into our own hands. Surely we will win more respect, friendship, and - ultimately - safety if the world sees us as a powerful nation unwilling to equate might with right. It is positive relations with the rest of the world that will increase our national security. Pete Seeger spoke my mind in the words of his song "Rainbow Race:" "Don't you know, you can't kill all the unbelievers? There's no shortcut to freedom." Amen.

Susi Gregg Fowler

Juneau



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