Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cloy's Pain

I've known all along that war is a horrible thing. I've written and I've marched and I've sung my heart out trying to get others to feel the same sense of loss I feel when I think about what terrible harm the Bush Administration and its war in Iraq has done to the people and places in Iraq and, of course, to the American soldiers they have so cynically thrown to the wolves of war. BUT I have never as fully felt the pain our Iraq veterans have to deal with as when I read Cloy Richards' poetry about his experiences there.

Please gird yourself for a flood of emotion and then take a rough ride through Cloy's painful memories. (

Now you, too, know doubly well why we cannot allow the madness of this unnecessary war continue.

Meanwhile, the Congress, via the Senate's new non-binding withdrawal timetable, has sent W another message, however weak, that the nation is no longer following his lead. His response, of course, is that he is not willing to listen to the people or their representatives and so will veto the bill even though it provides the funding he seeks for the war.

Sen. Chuck Hagel of Iowa spoke best about his decision to vote for the bill when he said that Iraq is not a prize for America to win. Though BushCo and their few remaining supporters say that the objective is the establishment of a democratic government in Iraq, it is in reality the establishment of any kind of government favorable to American policies. Even if we accept that as an acceptable goal, it is time that we learned that we cannot establish meaningful long-term relationships at gunpoint. Even if we buy into the idea that in Iraq we are somehow avenging 9-11, we have to ask ourselves how many Iraqi lives it takes to balance the scales against the 3000 who died in the Twin Towers.

We created a horrendous mess in Iraq the day we invaded. It was a Pandorra's box whose contents are going to haunt us for years. Our children and grandchildren are going to have to pony up and pick their own pockets to repay the debt we are piling up. The Middle East will be less stable for years than it was in 2002, and it was no shining example of stability then – thanks to American and European meddling in the region from WWI on. We will suffer additional terrorist attacks here at home because we have are creating so many new enemies every day. We might be able to reinstate the world's faith in the U.S. as a nation dedicated to peace and justice, but it isn't likely.

Our government is going to have to choose between continuing to slide into the muck of secrecy, torture and diminishment of individual rights as instituted by BushCo and reopening itself to public view via repeal of many provisions of the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act and reinstatement of compliance with the Sunshine Laws. Our only hope lies in the latter course.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. – M. K. Gandhi

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