Commentary on Iraq crisis

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: March: Mar 20-03: Commentary on Iraq crisis
by Taka Aoki

The Pasty Cam is a growing visual archive of the beauty, history, people, places, and current events in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The daily pictures become a subject of discussion, with a variety of comments and viewpoints. Occasionally to facilitate certain threads of the discussion, and for readability, a sub-topic is established. This sub-topic is about the current crisis in Iraq.
By Mr. Wheatman, South end on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 10:22 am:

Indeed a fine shot. Kudos this morning to our brave troops for rising to their mission. May we have prayers in our hearts for a successful endeavor in ridding the world of an unpredictable, ruthless tyrant. Bravo to Bush and God bless America!


By GC,MI on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 10:54 am:

And May God help all the Children over there and keep them from harm.

By Yooper, , Undisclosed Location on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 11:31 am:

Yes, Yesterday, 19 March was also this old soldier's birthday. This Yooper served 33 years on active duty with the US Army. Been there, Done that! Including 3 tours of Vietnam and 1 tour of Saudi Arabia. Hey, I even spent 3 years in France. Hey! now I'm telling my age. Pray for those young soldier's in Harms Way! But I know those old soldiers will guide them safely thru this war.

By Rivera on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 12:08 pm:

Kudos Yooper for serving your country, we are indeed indebted to you and all of your comrades who have defended our great nation throughout our glorious history. May we never forget.

God Bless America

By Billy Slimp, Arlington TX on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 02:19 pm:

Happy Belated Birthday!

Also,I would like to say my prayers are with all the men and women from up there in the armed service; and with their families and friends too.

By Greta, Ca on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 04:28 pm:

Another excellent shot from Taka. He/she (did we ever find out which?) has superb taste in what is photographed. Every one of Taka's shots qualify as wallpaper in my opinion.
Mr. Wheatman - I couldn't have said it any better! I agree with you 100% about the ruthless tyrant over there. Bravo to Bush, God bless our brave young troops, and God bless America! Yeah!

By Erin McWilliams, Berkeley CA on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 05:16 pm:

Gorgeous shot here -- calls to mind a particularly dark evening I spent on one of the lighted ski trails up there.

On a more serious note, I certainly respect all soldiers past and present who have served in good faith, but I don't think that this invasion of Iraq is warranted. I do realize that Hussein is a tyrant and that the injustices over there are grave, but fighting violence and genocide with the same is not the answer. Bush's motives are less philanthropic than ego-driven -- his aim, clearly, is to distract Americans from an economy that has gone to **** under his leadership and to secure more oil for a nation (the US) whose citizens are prone to petroleum overuse and rampant consumerism. Since the war has already begun, I can only hope it ends as quickly and painlessly as possible, with minimal civilian casualties. Certainly, at a time like this, I'd rather be in the beautiful U.P. than just about anywhere else -- Washington and NYC are so vulnerable to attack right now, and here on the West Coast we're in striking range of North Korea's missiles. Let's all hope, pray, and, most importantly, ACT to bring about peace and insure the safety of ALL people -- both here and in Iraq.

By TB, Royal Oak, MI on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 06:41 pm:

To Erin McWilliams: I see we can count on your vote for the leadership in Iraq and North Korea. I wonder if the people in those countries feel and have been vulnerable? But I forgot one thing. We can always count on diplomacy without any consequences.

By kjr-Seattle,Wa on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 07:17 pm:

Hi everyone,

There are lots of Navy ships,and several other

military personel from Everett, Widbey Island,

Bremerton,Fort Lewis,ect,ect, Lets continue to

lift them up in prayer,and their familys and

everyone else serving over seas to protect are

freedom, God Bless America!!! kjr,Seattle Wa

By QTip on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 07:33 pm:

I also couldn't agree more with Mr. Wheatman. Our troops deserve all the respect we can possibly give them. Kudos.

By KATHY ,LAPEER,MI on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 08:30 pm:


By Erin McWilliams, Berkeley CA on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 09:42 pm: claim this is a public board, but when I posted a message supporting peace and opposing Bush's attack on innocent civilians, it was removed from this board. I realize that the U.P. is largely comprised of Republicans and conservatives, but whatever happened to free speech? I have always respected the rights of people whose opinions differ from mine to state them.

I look forward to the day when all people, including progressive-minded ones, can make their voices heard in the U.P. without censorship. It's not "anti-patriotic" to feel that unwarranted attacks of innocent people are cruel and inhuman. It's pro-child, pro-human, and pro-world -- a world of which the United States is a part.

Remove this post too, if you will, but realize the inherent hypocrisy in claiming to support a nation founded under the tenet of FREEDOM before all else and then preventing someone with whom you don't agree from speaking their mind.

The Pasty Cam features scenes of a beautiful land -- I want to insure that it's there for future generations. If the war escalates and nuclear attacks ensue, it may not be. Sad.

Erin, if you look above you will see your original message has never been removed, only edited for vulgarity.

By Erin McWilliams, Berkeley CA on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 01:37 am:

I wasn't aware of the "Commentary on the Iraq Crisis" sub-board, so my apologies are in order for presuming censorship. On that note, though, "the land of fire and brimstone" didn't constitute a vulgarity last time I checked. Perhaps I should have said "the economy has gone to heck" -- hmm, doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it? At any rate, I'm hard-pressed to find any person over the age of 11 who doesn't use the h word liberally. (Most of the country, with all due respect, is not comprised primarily of Apostolic Lutherans.) I've certainly enjoyed a hearty laugh over this allegation of obscenity.

TB -- I don't support the leadership in North Korea, Iraq, _or_ the US, for the record. Do Iraqis feel vulnerable? Yes, but the answer to their fears is not to fight fire with fire. Since many of you are bringing God into the issue, the latest issue of Newsweek magazine has some interesting letters from Christians who note that if Jesus were faced with the challenge of Iraq's liberation, he wouldn't fire missiles at innocent civilians -- he'd break bread. I couldn't agree more.

By Charlie Hopper, Eagle River on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 06:22 am:


For the record, I personally consider the flipant use of the word "hell" to be vulgar and inflamatory (no pun intended). I am 51, I am not an Apostolic Lutheran, and virtually no one in my circle of friends and acquaintances "uses the h word liberally". From person to person, it's interesting how values and frames of reference can widely differ.

By the way, there were no 'allegations of obscenity'. There is a distinction.

One of the most reasoned responses which I have heard in the present crisis was from Senator Carl Levin. In an interview with Larry King, he stated that he voted against the measure in the Senate which authorized the use of force in Iraq. However, when it was passed, he accepted it as the will of the majority and put his support firmly behind our troops and their Commander-in-chief. Here is a quote from Senator Levin's website:

"Now that hostilities in Iraq have begun, our thoughts and prayers are with the brave and dedicated men and women of our armed forces who are carrying out the mission of disarming Saddam Hussein. Their mission is a dangerous one, and our nation is grateful for their courage and their service."

By Mary Lou on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 06:13 am:

Lets stick together now that the war has started....give our heros 100% support and have faith that our leaders have our best interests at heart!! All of us, (even in the Copper Country) had to deal with nit-wit didn't do any good to turn and walk away, you had to go nose to nose and let them know what you thought of them or they were encouraged...they are wimps in contol of nations............remember: 9/11 and our symbol the bald eagle...DO NOT TREAD ON US...lets pray it is over soon.

By Mr. Wheatman, South end on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 07:06 am:

Aaaah, the misguided flaming left liberal! Once again they try to use spin and emotion instead of facts to verify their position. I sure feel sorry for our troops that hear the comments coming from the liberals who do not seem to appreciate their efforts while they are making a great sacrifice, some the ultimate sacrifice. They have done this willingly for hundreds of years, all so the leftists have the right to condemn them and their commander in chief. Amazing that there are still so many faithful and patriotic men and women that answer the call to ranks indeed, especially when the former administration tried so hard to destroy an elite military and turn it into a social program, only to use it when he needed to turn attention away from one of his many digusting escapades. I pray for our troops again this morning as it looks like they are making early strides to accomplish their mission. Kudos all around!!


By Sherry in FL on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 07:34 am:

Please, no matter if you support or do not support the action in Iraq show your backing of our men & women in all of the armed services. Dust off your American Flags and display them proudly.

By Mr. Wheatman, South end on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 08:28 am:

Well said indeed Sherry, this is the greatest country in the world, and I fail to see how any American can doubt that. We should give 100% support to the selfless people who defend it, and have defended it in the past. My flag is flying high and proud, and because of our troops I am positive it always will be. Free speech is a product of our battles we have faced in the past, and debate and opinions are welcomed to be expressed in our fine land, but anything less than full support for the people answering the call to arms is unacceptable in my humble, and free, opinion. Peace through strength, and God bless America.

By Marvin, Bumbletown/Florida on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 08:38 am:

The nice thing about this country is people like Erin do have a voice. The sad thing is the protestors in San Francisco yesterday who turned violent and torn up the place. I am proud to be a American. I am not proud of the protestors who turn to violence. We must support our troops and our president. May God be with them all.

By Jean, Devon, England on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 08:45 am:

Maybe Erin McWilliams would like to go and live under Saddam's regime? I certainly wouldn't!! I don't understand why people are objecting to this war as they didn't make such a fuss about the Afghan war. It is all about good against evil surely, and world security. I'm sure the Iraqi people will be most grateful to our troops as were the Afghans.

By GREG, GAINES, MI on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 09:08 am:




By DJB-MI. on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 09:12 am:

bio-chem, nuke & phsycology to this war, with potential of world domination of UN, is cause for concern. so far its under control of US, which is better than world domination. WE AGREE TO FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOM , NOT NEW WORLD ORDER.

By Riivera on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 01:26 pm:

Kudos, DJB-you hit the nail right on the head. Our Constitution is the ultimate authority, under our God of course.

By progressive and proud, Erin on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 03:19 pm:

"However, when it was passed, he accepted it as the will of the majority and put his support firmly behind our troops and their Commander-in-chief."

Charlie -- it's interesting that you culled this quote, because it illustrates exactly why this war is so unjust: it does NOT have the support of the majority. Rarely in the history of the world has a leader disregarded the lack of support from the United Nations, an organization founded to serve the interests of citizens of ALL nations. Have you done any homework on worldwide support of the war? You'll find that it runs very low. In Spain, for example, eighty percent of citizens were opposed to the war the last time I checked. I'm only sad that people of other nations fail to realize that not only do a great deal of Americans _not_ support Bush's violent intent, but that the man was not even elected fair and square. Honestly, the incompetence exhibited during the count of Florida's votes was almost without precedent -- how interesting that after lots of hemming, hawing, and "miscounts", Bush was given the vote for the state governed by a family member. Nepotism gets you everywhere, I suppose, but it shouldn't grant leadership to someone who was clearly NOT the citizen's choice. Oh, and Wheatman? Just for the record, I consider myself a radical, not a "flaming left liberal" -- had I not been caught up in a snowstorm at the Minneapolis airport, I would've cast my vote for Nader, not Gore.

A thought: it's funny that I'm accused of failing to cite facts (bringing religion into it in all caps is hardly sticking to statistics!) when many of you have failed to transcend a sixth-grade level in the spelling and grammar departments. Might want to order Hooked on Phonics before you point any fingers, eh? :)

I still love all you Yoopers, but you've got me in stitches this week.

By Irate at the moment on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 03:40 pm:

Erin: Are you for real? You certainly are not a yooper nor ever was with the attitude that you have. If my grammar is incorrect, pardon me, lady! Also, I recent your comment on Apostolic Lutherans. May you find "God's Peace."
To everyone else: GOD BLESS AMERICA!

By Irate at the moment on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 03:45 pm:

Erin: Before you call it to my attention, YES, I did spell resent wrong. After all with my sixth grade education here in the UP, what do ya expect?

By cla, troll on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 03:49 pm:

That's right Erin in CA. - make fun of people who are obviously not at your intellectual or morally superior level. I guess if you have a specious argument, that is the best you can do. Next time a tyrant comes around; we'll just throw YOU at them. That would be a laugh!

By me again on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 04:46 pm:

Irate -- I meant no disrespect towards anyone's chosen faith. I was simply stating that moral standards are relative -- in cities where there is real crime and violence, use of words such as the one deemed "vulgar" here wouldn't warrant a mention: there are simply bigger fish to fry.

(For the record, I have already found spiritual peace, and it does not involve blind support of a racist, homophobic president in the name of "patriotism"...)

CLA -- "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." -- Someone had accused me of failing to bring facts to the table, and I was simply pointing out that most of the posts on this thread were full of incorrectly spelled faith-based rants, not facts. If you want statistics on the lack of worldwide support for the war, I can find them for you.

By Greta, Ca on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 04:48 pm:

Erin is a typical Berkely dork, to say the least. No intelligence or rational reasoning there. Mr. Wheatman, I highly respect you and your well said statements! Kudos!

Ed. note: Please avoid personal attacks. Just because people disagree doesn't mean they can't carry on a friendly discussion.

By kristen sved, mi on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 05:00 pm:

Why are people so ignorant and angry!? To all of you jumping all over Erin..for what? For speaking her opinion in a free country? Are you angry that we all have freedom? If you look at her first post, she says, "I certainly respect all soldiers past and present who have served in good faith." Yet you keep rambling on about how she needs to have respect for soldiers. Why all the hate? What's the deal?

By Nita, Northwestern,CA on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 05:12 pm:

Please, Dear Yoopers,and the rest of us in the good USA, ignore Dear Erin and her intellect. She wanted to make a stir and did so. Give your words of kindness and support to our troops all over the world and to our government and to our President, George Bush.

You have to live with some of these liberal intellects to really appreciate them. I know, I live near the Redwood forests and surrounding areas and I KNOW OF WHICH I SPEAK.

A Proud Republican,female, somewhat conservative, NOT biased, prejudiced either.

Northwestern California

By Mary Lou on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 05:21 pm:

Erin, your comments are filled with, I think, I disagree, I agree, I this and I is apparent you are only interested in what you want to say, I, I, I.....also, your comment about about the area being conservative is interesting. It wasn't too long ago that it was considerd a hot-bed of liberal thinking....the unions being responsible for the closing of the Calumet and Hecla and the influence of the Co-ops in the rural areas. We are the nation that suffered the attack on our soil on 9/11.......we have the strength and will to defend ourselves. It would be nice is our allies agreed...but it seems they only want us to defend them when they are threatened.

By Enid, MI on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 05:29 pm:

"I meant no disrespect towards anyone's chosen faith. I was simply stating that moral standards are relative"

If moral standards are relative, how can one criticize intolerable moral practices?

By Linda in Genesee County on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 06:05 pm:

It seems this board is full of people who resort to name calling of people who feel this war is not necessary. I do support our troops and pray for their safe return, but I also pray for the safety of the Iraqi innocents who are, at this moment, being bombed into oblivion.

Unfortunately, it has become sedition to disagree with the position of the current administration. I consider myself a true patriot, but I am vehemently opposed to this military invasion of Iraq. It would appear that the administration's position of disarming a dangerous dictator is smoke and mirrors for the real reason for the invasion; the Iraqi oil fields.

It would also appear that North Korea poses a more immediate threat to the United States in that they have stated they have nuclear weapons, they can reach the western United States with them, and they have no intention of giving them up.

Maybe the reason that our esteemed President Bush isn't in any rush to "disarm" North Korea is that there are no oil fields in that location.

Just a little food for thought.

Godspeed to our troops.

By the ever-popular Erin on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 06:19 pm:

Greta -- what, pray tell, is a "typical Berkely (sic) dork"? I'm not a Cal student, nor have I ever been. I certainly don't consider myself an intellectual, and I didn't want to "make a stir" -- I simply expressed an opinion which is uncommon amongst Pasty Cam readers. If a stir was made, so be it. About 95 percent of people in my neck of the woods are anti-war, so if you posted to a local message board here, then I imagine you'd make quite a bit of a stir as well!

Mary Lou, you don't think that the U.P. is politically conservative? I guess it's all a matter of perspective. I've lived in several parts of the United States, cities and small towns both, and have never encountered the kind of closed-mindedness that I did while in the Upper Peninsula. I cherish the land and many of its people, but I think that some folks need to broaden their horizons a bit. The people there are very friendly, granted, but if you're not white, straight, or Christian, it's a different story altogether. (I am familiar with Mother Jones' visit to Calumet during the early part of the last century and many of the labor issues that were brought to a head, yes, but it's the current social climate I speak of.) The thing is, I do realize that the homogenous nature of the U.P. insures that many people's perceptions of blacks, gays, or women who deviate from standard gender roles might never be challenged. I have met some Yoopers who have been exemplary in welcoming and accepting people who challenged this homogeneity, but they are few and far between. I hope that the new generation of Yoopers realizes the potential inherent in diversity and welcomes those who might be unfamiliar to them.

Nita -- are you in Humboldt or Mendocino County? The logging struggles there are certainly quite intense, aren't they? Environmentalists want to insure the longevity of the forests, and many of the locals want to insure the existence of a lumber-based economy. I have a close friend in Fort Bragg, and he spoke of how tense things were while he was growing up -- two sides of the town always pitted against each other. I'm sorry that you've had negative experiences with some of the activists, but know that many of them are there with the best of intentions: they merely want to protect old-growth forests, not imperil the wood-based livelihoods of locals. It is, obviously, not a black-and-white issue.

"It would be nice if our allies agreed." Allies? It's not just our allies who disagree -- it's the bulk of the world.

I will be out of town for the weekend and unable to check this board, but if you any of you would like to engage in further dialogue, please feel free to e-mail me privately. I welcome the opportunity for discussion.

By mary on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 06:35 pm:

Thank goodness.......

By Lowell MO. on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 06:52 pm:

to all: Just remember that it sounds like Erin has lived in California long enough that she has had their mindset and beliefs rub off on her. You have to overlook such people and remember that not all people think reasonable. Just remember all of the troops over there not just the ones from our country as they are all fighting for not only our good but for the world's good.
I'm also proud to have been born in the U.P.

By Less Irate at the moment on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 11:37 pm:

Erin: Per your quote "but if you any of you would like to engage in further dialogue, please feel free to e-mail me privately." Now, what was that about 6th grade grammar? "if you any of you" - does not make sense to me! Where shall I send the Hooked on Phonics?

God Bless our military and everyone who supports the troops. God Bless America - Land of the free and home of the brave........

By Greta, Ca on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 12:54 am:

Whew!! I'm out of breath just reading Erin's long-winded nonsense. Does she ever take a break? Yes, let's ignore the squeaky wheel minority from the People's Republic of Berkeley, and honor our President and troops in this effort to keep our world and planet free from dictatorship or tyranny.

By Your Favorite Pariah in Berkeley on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 11:22 am:

Turns out my friend has a computer, so I wanted to say...

Irate: I send my apologies for the redundant typo! I try to proofread, but that's inexcusable. If you want to send me a copy of Hooked on Phonics, e-mail me for that po box number! I'm sure I could hawk it for twenty bucks on eBay when I'm done with it...

Greta -- for the record, I'm from Philadelphia originally, not Berkeley! You know, home of all those wacky liberals who signed the Declaration of Independence? Just wanted to clear things up! (For those of you who prefer to attribute politics to location, I'm proud to say that I've managed to retain mine regardless of geography -- ****, I even managed to refrain from hunting, drinking, and church-going while in the Keweenaw!)

Some of you could benefit from a sense of humor, but beyond that: did you ever stop to think that the "squeaky wheel minorities" you speak of might simply be concerned with the world beyond their doorstep? Values commonly attributed to the left, such as environmentalism, social justice, support of organic farmers, and a pro-diversity stance aren't extreme or newfangled: they represent a return to the egalitarian values of our founding fathers, who came here, if you recall, freeing religious persecution. "Freedom" for everyone begins in your own backyard, with the choices you make everyday -- bicycling ten blocks instead of driving your SUV (more need for oil = more need for wars like this one), eating low on the food chain, and treating people who don't look like you in a human fashion. "Wacky"? I don't think so. I think it makes a lot of sense. Berkeley may not be utopia, and in fact I'm here more out of circumstance than choice, but it has a lot of really cool things going for it -- it's nice, for instance, to be able to walk into any restaurant and know that my asthma won't be triggered by all the cigarette smoke. It's nice to see diversity cherished. It's nice that the power company gives out prizes for people who have lowered their energy consumption. Blessed with one of the lowest per-capita populations in the US as well as proximity to several Great Lakes, the U.P. won't be seeing a natural resource shortage as soon as people in some other parts of the country, but that doesn't mean that it's not an eventual threat for all of us. The extravagance and consumption-mindedness of Americans' lifestyles has earned us a reputation as greedy and arrogant in the rest of the world. You care about the children in Iraq, you say? Great! Do something about it! Wearing a yellow ribbon is going to do a lot less, ultimately, than being a conscious consumer. Just something to think about.

I do realize that most of what I've said will fall on deaf ears -- I'd venture to guess I'm one of very few people under 30 on here, and old habits die hard -- but pause for a second to reflect upon your privilege. As Americans, we have the luxury of sitting back and watching this war on wide-screen TVs. In Baghdad, people are afraid of their homes being blown up. If you were faced with the same kind of immediacy and it was your children that might be next on the list of casualties, would you be so quick to support this war? I'm not so sure.

Long-winded? Maybe, but I type 100 wpm, so it all comes out very fast. At any rate, I wish peace for all of you, your children, your grandchildren, and the less fortunate children in the Cradle of Civilization.

By Mary on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 11:52 am:

Dang, I thought we had the weekend off!!! :)

Pariah (actually not MY favorite!)


As Americans, we have the luxury of sitting back and watching this war on wide-screen TVs. In Baghdad, people are afraid of their homes being blown up.

Have you forgotten September 11th? Not all of us Americans had the luxury of sitting back and watching THAT war on wide-screen TV's. Some of us were afraid our homes would be blown up. That's what we hope this war will prevent from happening again. The troops aren't going in there targeting innocent people.

By Nita, Northwestern,CA on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 12:56 pm:

100 words a minute !... next time aim for brevity!

Your northwestern neighbor

By peace works. on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 02:52 pm:

he Bush Administration has launched a war against Iraq, a war that is unnecessary, unwise and illegal. By attacking a nation that has not attacked us and that does not pose an immediate threat to international peace and security, the Administration has violated the United Nations Charter and opened a new and shameful chapter in US history. Moreover, by abandoning a UN inspection and disarmament process that was working, it has chosen a path that is an affront not only to America's most cherished values but to the world community. The UN did not fail; rather, Washington sought a UN imprimatur for a war it had already decided to wage and scorned it when the Administration couldn't get its way.

To justify the war, the President has invoked the doctrine of "preventive" war, under which the United States is to be the sole judge of that doctrine's legitimacy and application. Thus, the war is about more than Iraq; it is about the character of our society and the international order in which we live. The Administration hopes that a quick victory will not only silence critics and confer an ex post facto legitimacy on the war but also give momentum to its larger political agenda. But even if there are minimal casualties and devastation, that will not justify overturning international norms developed over sixty years. Nor can it legitimize a worldview that will make Americans the target of international outrage and make the world less secure.

Americans will soon be forced to confront the question of who is to pay for what is about to unfold. The White House has withheld from Congress and the American people the true political, humanitarian and economic costs of the war and of the occupation that is to follow, but even by the most modest estimates, they will be staggering. In addition to lost lives in Iraq and ruptured friendships around the world, they include grave domestic damage; by adding $200 billion or more in war-related costs to the cost of his tax cuts for the wealthy, Bush has signed a death warrant for many social welfare programs and damaged our society for years to come. The costs also include the renewed threat of nuclear proliferation from countries, including North Korea, fearful of leaving themselves without a deterrent to US aggression.

Another issue that must be confronted is the postwar agenda in the Middle East. Already hawks are arguing that the United States should use a conquered Iraq as a base for increased military pressure on Iran and Syria, with the goal of further "regime change." If the Administration chooses this course, it will put the lie to its rhetoric about bringing democracy to the region. Instead, it must work cooperatively with the European Union, Russia and the UN to dismantle Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and bring about a viable Palestinian state.

If we are present at the creation of a new American empire, we are also present at the creation of another superpower--the largest, most broadly based peace and justice movement in history, a movement that has engaged millions of people here and around the globe. In America, in the weeks and years ahead, this movement confronts several historic challenges. In the long term it must build an alternative foreign policy and sustain its dedication to a nonimperial future. In the short term it must organize to remove the Bush Administration from office and elect new leaders dedicated to international cooperation and peace.

By RD, Iowa on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 04:57 pm:

P.W. :

As I read your eloquent (though somewhat misinformed) diatribe, I was reminded of another leader, in another time. He was criticized and vilified as an imperialist tyrant who was starting "a war which would last a thousand generations". All the rhetoric and bitter words of opposition could not stop him in his mission. That finally required an assassin's bullet.

History has vindicated Abraham Lincoln, as I believe it will vindicate George W. Bush.

By Mr. Wheatman, South End on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 05:07 pm:

The UN is a useless body which we do not need. They have passed 17 resolutions in 12 years and did not follow through with any of them. In a light sense, it is like setting a bedtime for your child, and then keep letting it slip later and later as long as the child wants to stay up but promises they will eventually go to bed. We are a nation with our own sovereignty, and in my opinion, have the right and obligation to do anything we need to do to protect it. Globalization is dangerous and a farce, and anything that can be done to thwart it would be worth it. 72% of America is behind the President, and so it is obvious it is the will of the country. We do not need to pander to the rest of the world which tend to resent us until they need help and then we are the first one on their doorstep to help. I fear I will get as long winded as Erin pretty soon, although I respect her opinion and her right to deliver it, I can with confidence state that the majority of the country will say she is wrong, so I better cap the pen, and once again wish luck and God's peace to the defenders of freedom. Kudos on the march to Baghdad!


By Erin Rita Marie McWilliams on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 05:09 pm:

Mary -- The invocation of "September 11" is often used as a tool to justify the acts of violence currently underway, but despite the obvious extreme tragedy of the day, the number of deaths is minute in comparison to the veritable genocides the United States is responsible for in countries all across the globe. Why have those received less than a fraction of the publicity? Could it be that they don't hit quite as close to home? Whether it's landmines (which are still detonating decades later!) in Cambodia or sanctions against Iraq (where tens of thousands have died for lack of simple antibiotics that could be had for mere pennies) Americans have caused much needless heartache, death, and devastation over the years with their greed and self-concern. This is yet another chapter. Repeating the "Proud to be an American!" mantra is useless if you're not taking a hard look at the values this country was actually founded upon. (Hint: they weren't capitalism and violence.)

It's interesting that it took "September 11" to wake a lot of Americans up to the fact that the world is a volatile, scary place -- it's sad that too many of them, ultimately, only view something as tragic when it primarily affects other white, middle-class people living in developed First World nations. I mourn the loss of the World Trade Center victims and their families as much as the rest of you, but why add to the suffering in the world by answering a terrorist attack with yet more useless killing?

By another yooper on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 07:02 pm:

This country is the most wonderful place to be. We have the freedom to disagee with our president, we can put it in print and not fear retribution. We can be an Apostolic Lutheran and not fear our leaders. We can practice any religion or lifestyle, live how and where we want, and women can have an opinion. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all humans had that freedom. Support your President even if you don't agree. Support your troops. Be proud to be an American.

By Marsha, Genesee on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 09:03 pm:

Wow! 100 wpm AND she knows how to use spell-check!

By just a teasing yooper on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 12:05 am:

Now here's a thought!
Maybe Erin could go and talk to Saddam. She's so longwinded and always has to have the last word, she might just be the one to wear him down to the point of surrender!!! :)

By Suomalainen on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 02:05 pm:

I received an email and took excerpts from that poem. Also the last lines were included. I found it fitting to post it on this thread.

"I am a soldier... Serving Proudly, standing tall. I fight for freedom,
yours and mine by answering this call. I do my job while knowing, the
thanks it sometimes lacks. Say a prayer that I'll come home. It's me
who's got your back."

To any who would protest the war in Iraq, I say follow your own
It is truly only you who knows how you feel. But in doing so I would
all of you to back up and stand by all of the people that are already
there preparing to give their lives for us and our way of life.

Let us not have another Vietnam and all the callous hatred that our
had to come home to face.

By Erin McWilliams, signing off on Monday, March 24, 2003 - 11:24 pm:

Marsha -- I've actually never used spell check, but you're right: I DO know how! Thanks for intuitively picking up on my dormant skill!

Tease -- Were you volunteering to set me up with an interview? Wow, thanks. I used to dream of a career in journalism, but I never thought I'd beat Barbara Walters to the supreme assignment..

Thanks, everyone -- it's been fun -- but like Wheatman, I'll have to cap my pen. Just not enough hours in the day to entertain the inanity of blind patriotism. But you know where to find that "republic" of "dorks" and "squeaky wheel minorities"...look me up the next time you're here, and I'll treat you to an organic veggie pasty, rutabagas and all. ;)

By dkk, PA on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 05:25 pm:

Thank God you make up less than 10% of our population. Calling a veggie mixture a pasty is false labeling.

You must be flexible if nothing else. No one could pat themselves on the back as much as you do without tremendous flexibility.

Speaking of Philthadelphia, they just elected a Mayor that went broke running a hot dog stand. He delcared bankruptcy at least once. He has no intellectual peer amongst most Mayors in the US.

By Darren on Thursday, April 15, 2004 - 08:31 pm:

I think its funny that almost everyone on here mentions God in their post. Whatever happened to separation of church and state that our forefathers so boldly outlined in our Constitution? Its nice to know that freedom of dissent is appreciated by the people of this forum.

By Charlie Hopper, webmaster on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 06:47 am:

Here is the complete text of what the Constitution says about "separation of church and state":

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
As citizens, we have freedom to openly express our faith and reliance on the Creator, both privately and publicly. Our forefathers wisely knew that Congress has no business telling us what we should believe (or not believe) about God (establishing or prohibiting).

The fact that visitors to this site frequently mention God is good evidence that those words penned in 1791 have indeed protected our freedom to believe - or not believe - as we choose (not as some dictator would choose for us).
By bj-milford on Friday, April 16, 2004 - 02:16 pm:

Than You Charlie......Well Said!

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