Friday, September 03, 2004

But, Mr. President, What About the Dead?

A great speech tonight by the President. The best he has ever given. I would imagine it is the best speech that money can buy.

There is much one might comment about regarding the content. I want to address one small aspect of what I heard.

There is a tactic he uses when speaking about Iraq that he has fine-tuned over the last year. He used this tactic tonight. He does not blatantly connect Saddam Hussein with 9/11. Instead, he infers a connection. Twice tonight, when he began to speak about Iraq, he brought up 9/11 in the next sentence. From then on in the speech, assuming we had made that unconscious connection, he referred to "Afghanistan and Iraq," as if the two were yoked in responsibility for 9/11.

They are not connected. Hussein did not want foreign terrorists in his country, for his own reasons. We have found no WMDs or nuclear programs in Iraq. The military move against the Taliban can be justified. But the invasion of Iraq cannot. The attempt to claim that such an invasion is part of the "war on terror" is a smokescreen.

Why the smokescreen? Why did we invade Iraq? We don't know. And that deeply troubles me. Saddam was a bad guy; no argument there. But here's the kicker for me; the part I don't understand; the issue that no one will talk about; if the invasion was against Saddam, and not the Iraqi people, how can we justify the death of over 11,000 innocent Iraqi civilians?

The news, and even the Democrats, speak about the cost in blood of Iraq. I assume that they are going to mention these innocent lives that have been lost. Instead, I hear about the almost 1,000 Americans who have died. Yes, that is tragic. But, these were combatants. To me, the greatest tragedy is the families who were sitting down to share an evening meal who were suddenly blown to bits by American bombs. Why don't we talk about this? Are the Iraqi people our enemy, and so these casualties are just "collateral damage" allowable cost of warfare? Do these innocent victims not make the nightly news because they aren't American? Or maybe because they aren't Christian?

This silence over such a huge cost of lives troubles me. And it troubles me that I have not once heard the President show any concern for these innocent people we have slaughtered. Yes, I said "we"...the blood is on my hands as well.

If you would like to read about some of the specific incidents of civilian deaths, incidents for the most part ignored by the American press, you can find them here.

I have no idea why we went into Iraq. The reasons given by the President have been, one by one, proven false. Either the President was misled, and so misled the American people, or he deliberately lied. I have yet to hear him admit that he was wrong. Instead, he stopped mentioning WMDs and nuclear programs, and started talking about "freeing the Iraqi people."

Let's state the obvious beyond the moral question of taking innocent human lives. Every time a non-combatant is killed in Iraq, we make an enemy of that victim's family and friends. With over 11,000 civilians killed, that means we have created, at a minimum, 50,000 new enemies of the U.S. And we wonder why more American soldiers have died in August than in July; and more died in July than in June? And the President claims we are making the world safer?

I have heard no good explanation from the President of why these people had to die to remove Saddam. I have seen no evidence that American interests were threatened by Saddam. He was effectively contained. Why an invasion? If it was for humanitarian reasons, then why have we not gone into Sudan, where the atrocities are at least equal, if not even more appalling, to mention but one example?

When the President tries to slip one by me, with his subtle suggestion that somehow there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11, I get suspicious. Why did he invade? Was it to finish the job his dad started? Was it about oil? Was it about corporate profit, as suggested in this month's Harpers? Did God tell him to do it? I don't know.

But I do know that 11,000 innocent civilians is a high price to pay. And I'd like an answer, Mr. President; what it was that was worth the high price. Until I hear an answer to that question, I must assume that you are a very dangerous man, who places a low value on human life, and I will do what I can to see you removed from office, before we start dropping bombs on innocent Iranians.


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