I'm at my destination, and decided to make an entry via my laptop. Mostly because my mind/heart are troubled about the war the US is waging in Iraq. How can any thinking/feeling American NOT be concerned and upset with what is going on in "our name."
I'm very, very pleased with the anti-war demostrations here in the USA, and for an important reason: At least the images of SOME Americans protesting the war/killing shows that not ALL of us agree with the killing done in our name. Perhaps a few people in other countries will know that some here are compassionate and sickened by what is being done in Iraq, and that they are willing to make their voices heard.
I am sure I don't have to say that NO ONE of any reason and intelligence likes Saddam, and certainly I DO understand he needed to go. However, I don't think he or his regime were a threat to the USA; and the failure to get rid of him back in the Gulf War was what made me feel that our war there was unsuccessful back then. There's too much duplicity, deception and hyprocrisy in our foreign policies, and many in the world have known this for a long, long time, and are now becoming vocal about it. Do I have a solution about how Saddam and his regime could have been gotten rid of? Not exactly, but I simply don't understand why Bush & Company didn't negotiate with the U.N. longer -- until they had a majority of the countries with us, if war was inevitable. Regardless though, Bush is not a negotiator; he's like a bull in a china shop when it comes to diplomacy and dealing with delicate foreign relations. And IMO, this will come back to haunt him -- and all Americans.
Who was the supreme idiot that came up with the slogan: "shock & awe" for that massive bombardment of bombing Baghdad? It was horrific, and I am sure (from the anti-American demostrations around the world, particularly in the Arab countries) that it only made others hate us even more. Yes, I was shocked -- at the blunder of military bragging about such bombing; and yes, I was awed at the utter stupidity of anyone who thinks that will subdue and conquer eventually. We may win the battle, but we'll lose the war -- because the awful images will remain in minds/hearts long after the fighting slows down. I don't think it'll stop for a long, long time just because Saddam and his regime are eliminated. Nor will the American troops ever completely be able to leave, since military vigilance will be necessary to restore any sense of order -- and that will appear to be imperalism to all Arabs. Heck, Sept. 11th was partly because Arabs wanted the military presence in Saudia Arabia (and elsewhere in the middle east) to leave. And now our leaders have the audacity to think we are going to stay there permanently -- with no resistance.
I'm sorry that American lives have been lost, and feel grief for the soldier's families...but I'm equally sorry that Iraqi citizens have been killed.
The mainstream media journalists there are trying to do their job...but to be honest, I know that the owner of any media in the USA, from newspaper publisher on up to corporate CEO, has a great influence on what is reported. How? Well, it works like this: Reporters have to earn money in order to live; ergo, if they disregard their employer's wishes...they get fired. Quite simple, really. And I think some of them 'embedded' with the frontlines need to be careful that they don't come across as 'gloating' about the massive USA military might; for all our technological advances...is the best we can come up with sophisticated killing machines/bombs? There is no pride in that for me.
I want to post some comments I got from the BBC bulletin board; I've removed last names, but if you go there you can read them all. These are worldwide opinions, and I think they are important enough that I should post some here:
War is not a necessity, and it does not ease tension - it doubles it.
I believe the USA is overacting by invading Iraq. The decision of the UN Security Council should be respected. The road for diplomacy never ends. The war can still can be avoided according to the UN Secretary General; war is catastrophic. It can be avoided now.
The message from Mr. Bush is: the UN must act in accordance with US wishes or it is irrelevant. It is wrong to go to war without UN second resolution. Only the participating countries are saying that this is legal. The rest of the World (including Mr Kofi Anan) say it is illegal. What about other tyrants? What about other countries that torture their own people? Why not attack half the World? I think the answer is simple: They do not have oil.
The US/UK are so eager to launch an attack on Iraq (and not Saudi Arabia/North Korea for instance) because it's an easy target - Iraq's military capacity is only half of what it was in the last gulf war. How then does this fit in with the US/UK claim that Iraq is a "serious threat"?
The lack of democracy in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia doesn't seem to pose a problem and neither does Israel's failure to comply with a number of UN resolutions. How can this not be called hypocrisy? Economic sanctions have taken the food out of the mouths of ordinary Iraqis and medicines out of Iraqi hospitals (while not hurting Saddam personally at all except maybe his pride); now bombs are going to be dropped on the Iraqi people - to me, this does not seem to be the best solution.
I think the process utilized to date has undermined the UN's authority and alienated other communities around the world. And lastly, the dictum for Saddam and family to leave has the appearance of being contrived to allow "Bush's War" to get underway and has no basis in logic, compassion, or supporting hard evidence.
Certainly, Bush is not in a position to give anyone in the world a moral lecture about WMD, given the country's track record. Yet, he emphasizes the importance of his mission by reserving the right to use them once again, in a "pre-emptive tactical warfare", which in my opinion equals genocide. And there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop this.
Mr. Bush is totally wrong. Going to War without a UN resolution is illegitimate. It will divide the world religiously and cause unending war.
And lastly, I'll post this letter from someone who has been in Iraq to one of the main people who advocated/helped bring about the war. It makes for enlightening reading.
January 15, 2002
An Open Letter to Richard Perle
chairman, Defense Advisory Board
From Kathy Kelly
Voices in the Wilderness
Dear Mr. Perle,
I am writing to you from a faraway land, Iraq, and yet I sense we are not remote from one another. Perhaps you are thinking every day of the cities I've visited this last month: Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul. Be assured that I am thinking, every day, about the recommendations that you and your colleagues make as you urge President Bush to show strength, courage, and vitality by intensifying U.S. warfare in Iraq.
I recently watched children dance and sing and play at the Baghdad school for Music and Ballet. One little girl played the piano, another the violin. Young Ibrahim sang an Arabic translation of a song you may know, based on a melody composed by Jean Sibelius. The lyrics were written in the 1930s during the brief outbreak of peace between world war. "This Is My Song" expresses hopes for peace among people who hold in common a deep, true love of their homeland. Another little boy showed me a drawing he made of 9-11, twin pillars of fire and smoke. He said he felt bad about the attacks, but added that he doesn't think Americans understand what happens to other people when they're hit by American bombs.
After Christmas, you wrote a rosy scenario for the New York Times entitled "The U.S. Must Strike at Saddam Hussein," (12/28). In it, the U.S. attacks Iraq with extraordinary precision. In the cross hairs of a gunsight appears the only Iraqi who seems to matter to American policymakers, Saddam Hussein. After U.S. forces for good eliminate the evil leader, Iraqis take to the streets, dancing, and we all rejoice the outbreak of peace.
However, the fantasy reveals more about America than it does about Iraq. It's easy to imagine the crowds that would tear down pictures of Hussein or topple statues of him. Reporters in Kabul found some Afghans dancing when the Taliban fell, and shaving their beards or removing their burkas. But what about the Afghans who huddle now in fear of Northern Alliance warlords, or who quietly starve due to the physical and social chaos war has brought? Survivors who've seen their villages obliterated by U.S. bombs aren't joyous. Beyond the fanfare of the media, refugee families are even now dying in the snow.
Mr. Perle, you work with complex issues and must know the pitfalls of over-simplifying the realities of other peoples. Your plea for war ignores the future horrors the horror of war may bring. If Iraq collapses in civil war, where would the bloodletting stop?
Increased belligerence does not address a solution to the complex and lethal problems that have already arisen because of current U.S. policy. Whatever the future, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children will never celebrate it. They are already dead. Economic warfare, waged through sanctions, claimed the lives of these innocents.
Will their parents blithely overcome the sorrow they felt when they couldn't obtain the medicines they needed? Will the liberation you envision erase the pain they felt when they gave their children poisoned water and watched them succumb to sicknesses? Will the doctors who struggled vainly to heal them jump for joy if Iraq is again attacked?
Teachers, writers, engineers and civil servants who've lost their savings, sold their belongings, and eked out a living on paltry wages aren't likely to rejoice if the U.S. again bombs the debilitated infrastructure they've tried mightily to restore.
Across Iraq, people ask us why Americans want to punish them even more. For 11 years they've been told sanctions were a "peaceful" alternative to war, and now they're told war is the solution to the suffering of sanctions. In a twisted way the message is at least consistent: to please remember that they're better off dead.
Remarkably, children here seem very ready to believe that Americans can be kind and just. Like children everywhere they are full of curiosity and show easy affection. In their laughter and hopes rest my hopes for a peaceful world.
Please, Mr. Perle, when you preach that no war against terrorism will be successful without Saddam Hussein's removal, try also to remember other terrors inflicted on these people over the last 11 years of our "assistance."
I feel sure that you care deeply about America's national security. Placing our trust in developing, stockpiling and using overpowering and costly weapons has not enhanced that security. We must open our hearts to the cries of people across the world who feel we treat them as dust beneath our feet.
At its core, war is impoverishment. War's genesis and ultimate end is in the poverty of our hearts. If we can realize that the world's liberation begins within those troubled hearts, then we may yet find peace, and a renewal of the courage and vitality you so passionately desire.
--Kathy Kelly is director of Voices in the Wilderness, the first U.S. grassroots organization to bring activists into Iraq to witness the effect of sanctions, to violate the sanctions by bringing medicine and toys into Iraq, and to educate the U.S. public upon their return.