Thursday, June 8, 2006


This is particularly for those who read my "Letter to the Editor" in the Indianapolis Star on June 5 (see previous post "Haditha") and the response the Star printed by a Mr. Robert O. Adair on June 7. I sent this to the Star, though it has not yet chosen to print it:

WAR NO LONGER WORKING FOR US. The point Mr. Adair chooses to ignore in my Letter to the Editor (June 5) is that modern war, initiated preemptively or engaged reactively by civilized governments, claims to be morally justifiable, able to be waged humanely, and concluded with dignifying victory. I have no doctoral degree in history as Mr. Adair has, but it doesn’t take a Ph.D. to see that waging war as America has in Vietnam and Iraq is no longer working for us in these and other national security and international relations objectives.

IMMEDIATE & LONG-TERM FALLOUT. With war as the preferred means of resolving conflict, not only do our leaders fail miserably in outcomes they promise, their chosen methods of influencing outcomes turn at least some morally sound young people into those who can commit atrocities like My Lai and Haditha, cast our citizenry into a mode of suspicion and shadow, and send America’s international goodwill capital into deep deficit. Anyone can see that if we continue to rely on this form of conflict resolution as our nation’s primary expression of power and influence, our moral influence and power for engendering democracy will not last long.

INESTIMABLE COSTS, UNACHIEVED GOALS. Mr. Adair asserts that the Iraq war has been won and that it was efficient in term of the loss of lives. Daily reports coming from Iraq seem to indicate otherwise on both accounts. Who is adequately counting the loss of Iraqi military and civilian lives (see And how do we begin to tabulate the cost of a new generation of international terrorists our manner of waging war has seeded, the disenfranchisement of multiple millions in Muslim communities, the escalating levels of violence against America’s international workers and travelers, not to mention the monetary crisis this new era of war-making is brewing as our generation’s legacy to the next?

REAPING RESULTS OF POOR CHOICES. I am not an idealist or a liberal (though labels don't intimidate me). I simply see that our leaders chose to wage war on their own very narrow terms when other effective options were available. And when they chose to wage war thus, they set a course that includes, invariably, the negative outcomes we see at Haditha and the absence of the positive outcomes so boldly promised.

REAL-WORLD ALTERNATIVES TO WAR. I know of no “nice” war. I know, however, of valid alternatives to war as a means of international conflict resolution and national security that have been successfully employed on this planet in our lifetimes. I choose to try to bear witness to these demonstrable alternatives to war instead of silently justifying war’s atrocities or giving verbal support to war as “just the way it’s always been” and therefore always has to be.

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