Time to speak out, again
I founded the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition solely to protest President Bush’s drumbeat for the invasion of Iraq. Despite the march of millions worldwide and hundreds locally in opposition to a pre-emptive strike, we invaded Iraq and Bush was re-elected. I decided after the re-election that the American people had spoken, and we would deserve whatever came next. I haven’t been to a Roaring Fork Peace Coalition meeting or written a letter to the editor for the last two years, waiting to see what karma had in store for us.After Sept. 11 and before the invasion of Iraq, I quoted Nietzche: “Take care in fighting monsters that you do not become a monster yourself. If you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss will start staring back into you.” Looking deeply back into us in condemnation is Abu Ghraib, rendering for torture, Walter Reed Hospital, 3,000 dead U.S. soldiers, 300,000 murdered Iraqi civilians, and chaos. It is time again to speak out against the most inept, corrupt and clueless presidential administration in my lifetime. President Bush appears to be on the verge of attacking Iran to rally us again for a war to take our focus away from a miserable failure in Iraq – a war to promote Bush’s ideological view of the world and planned years ago by the neoconservatives to control Middle East oil.Critics of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition complain that we hate America and love terrorists. Terrorists are obviously wrongheaded and ideologically violent. No letters to the editor are necessary in this regard. What is disturbing to anti-war protesters is the uncritical and zealously patriotic acceptance by the American public of our own barbarous acts clothed in the name of “freedom” and “support the troops.” When it was the perception that we were victors, there was no moral outrage about the ten of thousands of Iraqi civilians being killed. Only when we are losing the lives of American soldiers and clearly losing the conflict are we against the war. We have enriched the lives of many with our international humanitarian largesse while at the same time enraging many with our military and covert manipulation for geopolitical advantage. It is the less obvious covert actions of our government that critics of our government wish to expose.It is always amusing to me that those passionate for the war focus on a few outspoken anti-war letter writers to paint the entire Roaring Fork Peace Coalition as extremists. Participants at past anti-war marches organized by the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition have been doctors and nurses, the Re-1 school board president, mayors and councilmen of Aspen, Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Rifle, the Garfield county assessor, school teachers and administrators, and veterans of all the most recent wars – people who recognize that a trumped-up, unjust war visits misery and death upon Christians, Jews, Muslims, American soldiers, Middle East civilians, men, women and children alike. Supposed “smart bombs” are actually deadly stupid.I thank all of those who were courageous enough to come to anti-war events and to speak out before the invasion of Iraq because the risk of being called unpatriotic had serious consequences for your business and reputation. It is safer now to voice your protest but as important as before. There will be an anti war gathering at Sayre Park, Grand Avenue, Glenwood Springs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 17. Bring a picnic lunch. It will coincide with a anti-war march on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. which is expected to attract tens of thousands.It is no longer an option to remain silent as we look into the abyss of raining chaos on the entire Middle East region.Calvin Lee is a resident of Carbondale.