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Peace Can Be Patriotic Too

Posted by mair on March 17, 2003, at 16:15:19

Why do the Republicans think they corner the market on patriotism and that if you don't support Bush's war on Iraq you're unpatriotic and unsupportive of our soldiers in uniform?

The last time I checked, our basic foot soldier didn't decide on his or her own to go to Iraq, but he was ordered there by several levels of higher ups in uniform who were directed to give those orders by Bush administration guys who aren't in uniform and maybe never have been in uniform. I feel all the support in the world for our soldiers, but none for the war they are being asked to wage and none for the leaders who are asking them to wage it. History is replete with examples of men held to historical ridicule and contempt because they did not speak out against the misguided actions of their leaders. (Doesn't the quote "Would that I served my God as well as I served my King" come from a Shakespeare play and deal with the issue of blind allegiance?)

If this is the short war Bush wants, he will have rid Iraq of an awful man. But even in the midst of what he will perceive as a victory, he will have damaged our diplomatic relations with many governments, placed at risk the political future of one of his few allies, incurred the distrust and enmity of the arab world, enhanced the reputation the US has recently acquired as a world power willing to make its own very arbitrary decisions, placed untold American and Iraqi lives at risk, and virtually guaranteed that for a very long time Americans will have far more to fear from terrorists than ever before. I also believe it will take Americans decades to fully appreciate how curtailed their personal liberties have become all in the name of Homeland Security.

Does anyone really believe this is just about Saddam's nuclear potential? What about North Korea? Stalin always had nuclear weapons too, but both Harry Truman and Eisenhower thought containment was a preferable path to unprovoked preemptive strikes.

I feel pretty sick about what's happening, and exceedingly anxious about what this means for the future of this country. I'm in a state of suspended belief. But what hurts as much as anything else is the notion that anti war means anti american. Since when does the Constitution say that we have to check our opinions at the door as soon as some guy in a suit starts ordering guys in uniforms to fire bullets? How could we be more supportive of our troops than to want them to come home before any shots are fired.

I'm sorry to inject politics into PSB, but these are my depressing thoughts for the day.

I'm open to reasoned arguments from the other side - not just why this is a good war, but more importantly, why it's unpatriotic to oppose the war.





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