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Only a matter of time

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

While everyone else appears to have given up trying to prove me wrong, Jay Pate continues his frantic attempt to invalidate my points by assassinating my character. Pate’s latest accusation is that my “sin is … a callous indifference evidenced by, among other things, a sudden interest in the plight of Iraqis precisely at the point of Hussein’s demise.”

His assumption that I am a recent convert to activism is correct. Until two-and-a-half years ago, I was guilty of the attitude that what went on outside of the United States didn’t concern me. Like most Americans, I was ignorant of the suffering of the Iraqi people under the economic sanctions and Saddam’s totalitarian regime. Nor did I know anything about U.S. foreign policy and its effects on the lives of people the world over.

Then came 9/11 and I wondered what the United States had done to merit that horrendous attack, so I immediately set about finding out what my country had been up to. My research led me to the conclusion that U.S. foreign policies had created a lot of anger and hatred, particularly in Arab lands, where our support of Israel and brutal regimes such as that of Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, and even the Taliban had contributed to the suffering of countless Middle East civilians. It turns out that 9/11 was a direct result of U.S. meddling in the Middle East.

When the Bush administration started talking about “pre-emptively” attacking Iraq, I saw it as another tremendous policy blunder that would bring more terror raining down on American soil. My initial motivation in becoming a peace activist was not to save Iraq from attack by the United States, but to prevent another terrorist attack on America.

As events in Israel/Palestine have shown, using force against terrorism is futile and only leads to more violence. It’s far preferable to eliminate terrorism by changing dangerous policies that lead to hatred and anger, than to try to combat it with bullets and missiles.

Jay’s objection to my assertion that “war is not the answer” takes the form of the old “what about Hitler” cliche. First of all, killing people and blowing things up are an asinine way of resolving conflict, even when faced with so-called “undeterrables.” Second, as I’ve already shown, in the case of Iraq, George Bush was behaving more like Hitler than Hussein. Perhaps if the German citizens had been more aware of the policies and practices of their government, they would have protested Hitler’s pre-emptive war doctrine and prevented World War II. Anyway, the point is moot, because we will never know whether Hitler or Hussein could have been deterred by non-violent means.

The way I see it, the war on Iraq accomplished nothing but creating more terror and violence in the world. It’s only a matter of time before the United States experiences another terrorist attack. With the destructive invasion and brutal occupation of Iraq, the Bush administration virtually guaranteed it.

Sue Gray

Carbondale


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