The American Heritage Dictionary defines “diplomacy“ as: (1) The art or practice of conducting international relations; (2) Tact and skill in dealing with people. How “diplomatic“ is our current administration? Does it have any skill in winning friendships and influencing those who disagree with their policies? Does it understand that harsh words evoke a response in other countries?
I believe this administration still has not learned to “think outside of the (binary) box (good/evil).“ The world is not black and white (for us or against us), and many countries which might be our willing allies are responding to the insults that have been hurled at them. As a “uniter, not a divider“ G. W. Bush has united vast parts of the world -against us!
The Bush administration‘s plan to “democratize“ the Middle East and his fixation on Iraq reminds me of the film “Ice Age“ (Scrat‘s Missing Adventure) where “Scrat“ (Bush) is fixated on the acorn (Iraq) and thus causes a catastrophic split in the ice (the world). Do they not remember one of the root causes of 9/11 -- the presence of U S. bases near the Islamic holy sites in Saudi Arabia?
I do not question G.W. Bush‘s character, nor his patriotism. I do question his presidential skills -- foreign policy included. With very little detail he paints a broad picture of an “ideal world“ and asks that we trust him. He has ambitious plans for other countries, but watches the U.S decline. Had the energy put into his war plan been put into solving problems at home and improving relationships abroad -- we would indeed be the envy of the world. However, now the only remedy I see is this: All those who protested who are ‘‘irrelevant“ to George W. Bush should be registered to vote in 2004. Your vote will not be “irrelevant.“ And your message should be loud and clear to G. W. Bush then. .. “Can you hear us now?“
Ken L. Raney TC
Hussein & Hitler
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent
revolution inevitable.“ I could not agree more with that thought. It is a
conclusion that comes from studying the French Revolution which is the
best example of terrorism. Terrorism is first carried out by the party in
power against its own citizens. But a tyrant never survives as a
legitimate leader. Not only did Robespierre fall victim to his own
terror, but it is also ironic that Joseph Guillotine was beheaded by the
very machine that he championed for use in mass executions.
Hussein‘s path to power is almost
exactly that of Hitler. Both Hussein and Hitler came from meager
beginnings. They both promised a richer future to the downtrodden masses
in exchange for complete trust and compliance. After achieving a modicum
of legitimate power, both Hitler and Hussein terrorized their own people
through methodical intimidation and repression to create a tyranny. In
both cases, all those opposed to Hitler and Hussein within their
respective countries were (and are) silenced by imprisonment or
execution. This is not new information.
Saddam Hussein is more than just “not a good person.“ He is a
dangerous person. And that is why we must fear him. He is not simply a
dictator of a backwards country. He is the aggressive dictator of a very
powerful nation. And he has proven (by way of invading Kuwait) that he is
not content remaining within the confines of his own country. He has yet
to prove that he has complied, in even a small way, with the conditions
of disarmament that allowed him to remain in power 12 years ago. He has
instead done everything to the contrary by rearming his military and
concealing his biological weapons. He has done all of this at the expense
of feeding and providing basic comforts for his own people.
British prime minister Neville Chamberlain thought that he had negotiated a peace
on Sept. 30, 1938 when Hitler agreed to end aggressions by signing the
Munich Pact. In 1941 the U.S. was actively negotiating peace with Japan
when we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. Is Hussein any more
The US was fully aware of the atrocities being committed by
Germany and Japan long before 1941. But we were not able to directly
involve ourselves because of legislation that was created in the wake of
W.W.I. That law barred us from committing troops to any conflict unless
the US had suffered a direct attack by an aggressor. We were still
reeling from effects of W.W.I (the last time that poisonous gas had been
used until Hussein attacked the Kurds) and many wished that we could
ignore the brutality that was growing abroad. It was not because they
didn‘t have “oil or anything else we needed.“
Do you think that we should have allowed the people of Korea and China to
be enslaved by Japan‘s Tojo rather than fight for their freedom? Do you
think that we might have appeased Hitler by agreeing to let him
exterminate just Jews and gypsies? Should have we offered up our own
Jewish and African-American citizens when he was done in Europe?
I am not in the least bit swayed by the rhetoric of other
countries. Some countries may
have something to gain by keeping Saddam in power. Hussein did not
develop his arsenal in a vacuum. He bought it and he maintains it with
technology from...? This is a practice known as “profiteering.“ A number
of countries are going to face great embarrassment when the dust settles.
I loathe the necessity of war as much as I must accept it. The loss of
life that it causes is always devastating. We would all like to believe
that advancements in technology and diplomacy would make war a thing of
the past. But when a mad-man like Hussein combines modern technology with
medieval brutality, slavery, and totalitarianism that he refuses to
contain, we all must fear him.
Charles Russell Williamsburg
The Bombs Are Falling
I write these words with a heavy heart, for the bombs are falling.
Our brave men and women in the military will shed their blood because
President Bush has disregarded the will of the people of the United
States and the world and launched a war of agression against Iraq.
Thousands of innocent children will die. A civilization that has stood
for 50 centuries will suffer immeasurable harm. A city of five million
will be reduced to rubble. The bombs are falling.
Although I agree that President Hussein is a bad man, and that Iraq would
be better off without him, he is the leader of a sovereign nation. The
United Nations, organized to provide a place where sovereign nations can
come together to resolve disputes peacefully, placed demands on him that
he was complying with. However reluctant Iraq‘s compliance with the demands
of the rest of the world, he was complying. The inspections were working.
No weapons of mass destruction were found, and the non-compliant weapons
that were found were being destroyed as ordered. The peaceful disarmament
of Iraq was becoming a reality. But now, the bombs are falling.
Terrorism is a horrible scourge on the world. The attacks of 9/11/01 reminded
the American people that everyone is a potential target of terrorists.
President Bush is right for wanting to end terrorism. I disagree with his
methods. I think he is only attacking the symptoms, and not the disease.
But Saddam Hussein has not been linked to recent terrorism. Our own intelligence
agencies, the CIA, FBI, and NSA have failed to find any link between Iraq
and al Qaeda. An independent investigation on behalf of Vice President Cheney
undertaken after the reports of these agencies came to the conclusion that
such a link does not exist. Several foreign intelligence agencies have denied
the existence of that link. Yet President Bush says that President Hussein
is in league with al Qaeda. And so the bombs are falling.
Diplomacy has not failed. The world has for the first time engaged in a
serious and open debate on the legitmacy of war. Two countries with a
thousand years of being enemies have joined together as friends to implore
President Bush to allow the international weapons inspectors the time to
finish the job they started last November. The Prime Minister of one of the
few allies we have in this war just barely survived a vote in his Parliament
because of the support he has given President Bush. He too was calling for
more time for the inspectors. Diplomacy has not failed President Bush, President
Bush has failed diplomacy. On his orders, the bombs are falling.
Over the coming weeks and months, the American news media will report on
the course of the military action in Iraq. They will report only what the
military allows them to report. They will probably report on “minimal
collateral damage“. When you read these reports, keep in mind that collateral
damage means dead children. I weep for the people of Iraq. The bombs are
Terrorist organizations that have no interest in the fate of America. In response, our government will take
steps to further curtail the basic freedoms that make the United States
the great nation that it is. I support the troops -- I want them to come home.
I love my country. I weep for her now.
The bombs are falling.
Joseph King Charlevoix
Short responses to “peace“ protesters
After traveling to New York last month and walking around Traverse City recently, the following things came to mind as I heard the chants and read the signs of America‘s “peace“ protesters:
Protesters: U.S. is taking “unilateral“ action against Iraq!
My thoughts: A 30 country “unilateral“ coalition?
Protesters: We are in a rush to war!
My thoughts: An 11 year rush?
Protesters: There‘s no proof Saddam has weapons of mass destruction!
My thoughts: We know they have them. We know they hide them, do you need a mushroom cloud and millions dead to constitute proof?
Protesters: If we invade, Saddam may use weapons of mass destruction against us!
My thoughts: I thought you said Iraq doesn‘t have them?
Protesters: War with Iraq will cause more terror attacks!
My thoughts: Oh, so if we don‘t disarm Saddam, terrorists will never strike again?
Protesters: War will cost too much money!
My thoughts: Really now?... how much is YOUR city worth?
Protesters: We are against war under any circumstance!
My thoughts: Thats funny... I don‘t remember seeing any of you when we invaded Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia.
Protesters: No Blood for Oil!
My thoughts: The only blood spilled up to now is that of thousands of tortured, starved and killed innocent Iraqis, while Saddam builds weapons of mass
destruction... all financed with Iraqi oil... mostly paid for by France and Germany...
Protesters: Bush should only act through the U.N.!
My thoughts: Lets see... 17 U.N. resolutions violated by Iraq... continuing buildup of weapons being found by inspectors... Bush is only doing what the U.N.
doesn‘t have the courage to do... enforce its own laws.
Protesters: War with Iraq will destabilize the Middle East!
My thoughts: Are you saying the Middle East is stable now?
Protesters: America is an imperialist nation!
My thoughts: So which country do we own? What nation sends us their tax dollars? If America were imperialist, we would own the entire world.
No one wants or likes war, but most understand that sometimes it is necessary... just ask any Jewish person in Europe alive during 1945.
Steven Yenshaw Traverse City
President Bush has convinced a lot of people (but fortunately not many of us) that the only way the U.S. can deal with Saddam Hussein‘s Iraq is by making war on it because it has weapons of mass destruction and Hussein has murdered thousands of Iraqi citizens and is a threat to his neighbors and to the U.S.; so Mr. Bush feels justified in making war on Hussein despite all the havoc, pain, suffering and killing that entails.
I can‘t believe Mr. Bush is not aware that the U.S. (under both Democratic and Republican administrations) dealt with the communist Soviet Union for over 70 years without ever making war on them. And if Bush thinks Hussein has been so evil, how would he characterize the very bloody regime of the long-time Soviet dictator, Joe Stalin, not to mention the over-all repression subsequent dictators maintained over that country right down to Gorbachev, the last one? Hussein probably pales in comparison. Yet the U.S. did not resort to war to settle the great differences between us. No, we talked and talked and negotiated over the years, culminating in a number of very important disarmament treaties lasting to the present day, and never did we make war on each other!
Likewise, we haven‘t made war on the Communist Republic of China despite the ruthless dictators in their earlier history particularly, and their very repressive rule. No, we have worked with those dictators and we‘re still working with them, and despite the important differences between us we are not threatening to bring about a regime change there.
No, Mr. Bush, war against Saddam Hussein is not only not the answer, it isn‘t even necessary. We can live with him and work with him over the years just as we did with Stalin and have been doing with the dictators of China, with whom the future looks promising.
Edwin Prong TC
Bush‘s war on women
In the face of a threatened war in Iraq, it is easy to forget the other war-like policies that are being implemented every day by the current administration. Recently, it was confirmed that the Bush administration plans to expand the reach of the global gag rule, by applying it to international assistance in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Administration officials have indicated that it would bar U. S. HIV/AIDS funds to organizations in developing countries that also provide, counsel about, or advocate on behalf of legal abortion.
This is just one more step back for women and families in need of quality healthcare around the world. The administration dubbed their plan a “compromise.“ It is not. The only thing it compromises is women‘s health. The effect -- and intent -- is to cut off HIV/AIDS funds to reproductive health organizations that are known and trusted and best qualified to battle the epidemic.
In developing countries, just as often in the U.S., the same organizations that provide immunizations, maternal and child health care, and family planning services, increasingly provide HIV prevention, counseling, and treatment. Forcing organizations to create an artificial separation between family planning and HIV/AIDS services would mean thousands of missed opportunities to educate people and prevent the spread of the disease.
The impact of this move on women, men and children will be devastating. The administration is holding up money that would provide drugs, prevention education and resources simply because of their personal beliefs about a single issue. They are holding up funds that could save lives.
I urge all of you to call your representatives in Congress and let them know you are outraged that the current administration is playing politics at the cost of lives around the globe.
Kathleen S. Pistono Harbor Springs
Where is our wimpy Congress?
Everyone who becomes a U.S. citizen, serves in the military or accepts
the responsibility of public office swears “to defend the Constitution
against all enemies, foreign and domestic.“ Saddam Hussein is not our
enemy and is no credible threat to the United States, but our government
has made the United States the enemy of Iraq. In the headlong rush into
the battle against terrorism our government officials have eroded our
Constitutional civil rights against search and seizure, our rights of
privacy, and our rights to free political speech. This is an assault on
the Constitution. The real foe is not Saddam, but those domestic enemies
of the Constitution. Some who blindly follow the fixated president think
those who oppose the war are committing treason. The treason lies with
those domestic enemies who are undermining and destroying our
Constitution. “Advise and consent“ is the responsibility of the
Congress. The president may not declare war without the Congress. If Bush
goes to war without support of Congress, he should be impeached. If our
wimpy Congress fails to stand up to Bush‘s obsession with Iraq, they
shold resign. It‘s time for a regime change.
Harley L. Sachs Houghton, MI