Read the fine print

Terrorism is the tactical result of the strategic failure of American policies come back to haunt us; Iraq being the current example. But waging terror to contain terror makes as much sense as waging war to make peace; it will never work. If we think killing those who caused 9/11 will check this “terror,” we should also realize that injuring innocents in the path of this “speculative” pre-emption will be to harm them in the same manner that harmed us, repeating the crime. We then become the very “terror” we seek to stem, inflicting it on others; expanding its awful effect rather than limiting it, making us co-conspirators of its failure in doing so. Further, we must face what the dark reality of pre-emption really brings: that soon, those we kill will become as skilled as us in doing so, and will seek to inflict on us the same harm we once forced on them. As nations sow, so shall they reap. On these terms, then, the United States is repeating in Iraq, the same pattern of political failure sown in Vietnam, “military victory, but moral defeat.” 1

The Gulf of Tonkin incident was as much a lie to Vietnam, as 9/11 was to Iraq; neither event had anything to do with actual threats they posed. Why, then, were these wars waged on such mutually false assumptions? For forged reasons that brought shame, death and hardship to all, with the lesser states suffering far more than the U.S. Such ill-conceived geopolitical ambitions dissolve a nation’s integrity, splitting its moral resolve along party lines that undermine its overall unity, purpose and strength. It says one thing nationally, while doing another internationally, becoming a colossal hypocrite in both.

A nation so divided cannot stand with such policies because they inflict the same moral crime on its citizenry, they seek to inflict physically on its enemies, pursuing foreign strategies destructive to its domestic livelihood. They rob Peter to save Paul, eventually killing Peter; with Paul getting off scot-free. This is what Mr. Bush drafted the American middle class into in 2000, which he plans to induct into the fiscal hall of shame in 2005.

In this light, Bush & Co. must be seen for what they are: a constitutional disaster to our nation; a windfall to the rich; a full stop to our moral way of life and freedom and a global pariah to peace. It seems they’ll do anything to secure their world order, by destroying ours and any others. Thus, Mr. Bush’s surname should be read for what it means as moral acronym: Basically Un-Safe for Humanity! I share with thinking Americans these words of encouragement, to oppose this false war, and the moral falseness of pre-emption more so, by voting Mr. Bush out and Mr. Kerry in. He’s the first step out, or Iraq will bring our end. “Save America/Defeat Bush, not Save Iraq/Defeat America.”

1) When false patriots accuse me of questioning the right of my nation to exist, by opposing its policies through dissent, I reply that I am not questioning my nation’s right to exist,but upholding it by questioning how it is to exist—the essential moral prerequisite of a democratic society “of the people, by the people and for the people,” and not for the select political few. If we fail in our dissent, we fail in our freedom.

2) When these same false patriots accuse me of denigrating the fine service of our troops by not supporting them in war, I reply: I denigrate no soldier asked to duty they did not request, but which was forced on them by “superiors” not “present” in its performance. I fault the failure of choice of these so-called superiors, to place them in harm’s way, when no facts presented justified such a harmful result for them or their families. Therefore, if you “support our troops,” bring them home! Killing them is not supporting them!

3) And further, I must remind you even more, of the critical duty of moral service True patriots owe their families, their neighbors and their country, to inform, lead and check their nation’s policies when wrong, with these words of human service: There is more than one way to “serve your country,” and opposing an unjust war is just as honorable as fighting a just one, for the same moral reasons. Civilian law must strictly limit military role, or a questionable stratocracy will menace our consensual democracy. Ladies and gentlemen, read the fine print: We are not working for them, they are working for us, and they’re not working!

4) And finally, I ask those who’ve sought to justify what their Teacher denied, with every breath of his life, this “fundamental” question:

What would the “Prince of Peace” say to a president of war?

“If you cannot see God in all, you cannot see God at all.”

—2004 Gregory John Campbell, All Rights Reserved, First, Do No Harm

1 Taken from the title of Thomas C. Fox’s fine book on the 1991 Iraq war, Iraq: Military Victory, Moral Defeat, 1991, Sheed & Ward; used by permission.

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