LC’s Commentary

Listen To The Voice of Reason

You cannot hide the results of war

 

When Major-General W.T. Sherman ordered the people of Atlanta to evacuate the city in 1864, the city leaders attempted to impress on him the hardships citizens would suffer if they followed his orders. In a letter to the city leaders of Atlanta on September 12, 1864, responding to their request, General Sherman penned the following: You may as well appeal against the thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.

 As I look at what is taking place in Iraq, I draw a parallel. There is the clamor to stop the war in Iraq from many quarters. However, before any meanful dialogue can take place about stopping it, President Bush must swallow his pride and admit that going to war was indeed a mistake.  It is entirely possible that the President and his advisors are not capable of admitting that it was a mistake to invade Iraq and will make every effort to continue the fight. 

Sherman went on to say: you have heretofore read public sentiment in your newspapers that live by falsehood and excitement; and the quicker you seek the truth in other quarters, the better. Look at the picture painted for going to war with Iraq by the Fox network, Limbaugh, Boortz, Hannity, O’Riley, Liddy, and a host of other supposedly well-intentioned folks.  Look at the picture that that President Bush, VP Chaney, and Sec. Of Defense Rumsfield, Colin Powell and others painted for going to war and its aftermath-short and sweet. Remember the mission accomplished and Bring em on statements?  Maxwell said the following: Nothing is more haughty than a man of moderate capacity when once raised to power.

Now that the Iraq war has come to many Americans through body bags, wounded and maimed solders and Walter Reid Hospital, some are beginning to feel a little different about what they were led to believe.   The Bush administration and their loyal mouthpieces once totally dictated what aspect of the war was debated-not so any more, and they are having a hard time with this new factor.  Conservative talk Radio and television are having more difficulty explaining his reasons for invading Iraq to their once loyal and dedicated listeners.  By the way, the reasons have changed several times.  Conservative talk Radio and television, once marched lock step behind the Bush Administration policies in the Middle East, is wavering and some are close to open rebellion against the President policies.

The Bush Administration has made a concerted effort to keep certain war related scenes away from the public eye-namely the flag-draped silver coffins filled with human remains. They do not want the public to see the military burial details as they go about the business of burying the dead in pomp and ceremony.  They do not want the public to see and hear with any frequency the gun salute and the impact that it has on grieving families. The ceremonial folding of Old Glory brings tears to the eyes of all but the unfeeling. It is futile for the Bush Administration to attempt to keep these sights away from the public, because there are literally thousands, maybe millions of us who remember the silver coffins and the burial details from the Viet Nam war.

I was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage Alaska for two years (1965-1967. This was during the height of the war. My job description allowed me close access to the flight line where aircraft landed. I cannot begin to count the number of C-141’s I saw returning from Viet-Nam loaded down with Silver Coffins. I saw troops coming and going to and from Viet Nam. Many who managed to make it back to the United States alive would disembark from the planes and kiss the ground. I still have a vivid memory of going into Base Operations and looking at the flight board. Posted on this board was information about incoming and outgoing flights, including type of aircraft and what kind of cargo it was carrying. When it came to people, there were two categories-Sob’s (Souls on Board (living people) and Human Remains (dead bodies). Hardly a day passed when there were no planes landing with Human Remains. I was there the day the first C-141, especially equipped to transport the wounded landed at Elmendorf. There was a big to do about it. After a while, these planes loaded with wounded solders were so frequent that they were viewed as just another plane loaded with the results of war. I say to the President and those who support his position not to allow the unloading of military caskets to be shown, it is too late for that. Many of us know that silver coffins, body bags and wounded and maimed are all part of war-seen or unseen.

To further illustrate the sins of war, look no further than those who profit from war. Among these are the lobbyists, contractors and speculators. Patriotism is the furthest thing from their minds. It is all about money. The Bush Administration seems oblivious to the fact that unscrupulous contractors are pilfering the public treasure.  Many functions ordinarily performed by uniformed solders in the Iraq war are firmly in the hands of contractors.  The results have been devastating. Huge amounts of money (billions) have been lost or stolen and very little trace of it can be found. The greed and profiteering associated with war is nothing new and can be traced back to the Civil war and beyond. Military and civilian personnel in charge of procurement are easy targets for bribery. Offers of huge sums of money can persuade the most honest of us to look the other way or do special favors for a select few.

Defense contractors are making huge sums of money from the Iraq war. Halliburton is without peers when it comes to profiting from the war. Funny thing is, when the issue is raised, it is quickly smothered by the current administration. I am sure that Vice President Chaney has nothing to do with deflecting criticism away from his old firm.  Try as they may to hide it, the subject of war profiteering will continue to raise its ugly head as long as we are war.

 

In a world where almost anything is for sale, reasons for making war are not immune. It is certainly possible that the petroleum industry have a stake in the US making war against oil rich Iraq.  I chuckle when I hear those who are getting rich at the expense of the lives our youth professing undying patriotism to this nation when in reality they are only concerned about the almighty dollar.

In his second Inaugural speech, President Lincoln spoke about the ongoing civil war. He said the following; both (North and South) read the same bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other. The prayers of both could not be answered. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of others men faces…………Fondly we do hope; feverently we do pray, that this mighty scourge of war may soon pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continues until all the wealth piled up by the bondman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid with another drawn with the sword; as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

President Lincoln analysis of the Civil War can be use to analyze the Iraq War. Although those of the Muslim faith use the Koran rather than the bible, both sides in this conflict are praying to their God to intercede on their behalf. Whose prayers are being answered? Lives are being lost on both sides. Families on both sides are grieving and wondering why the war continues. Wonder when either side will pray for the wisdom and courage to find a just way to end this unjust war.

   

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October 13, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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