MY TURN: It's Not 'Lunatic Liberals' Who Threaten Us
Dr. Walter Schoen's Aug. 27 essay, "Lunatic Liberals Threaten Our Ideals," caught my attention. As a proud liberal, I was curious as to which ideals were being threatened. I'm still not sure.
The essay rambles through the middle years of 20th century American history, finally focusing on the Vietnam conflict. He claims that the war was lost on the home front -- because a "coalition of liberal politicians, the media, academics, and Hollywood elites" put enough pressure on the government that it lost its nerve and pulled out of Vietnam.
One thing is clear to me: If a coalition of American citizens (no matter their occupation), was forceful enough to get the government to change its course, then the government worked the way it is intended to work, right from the very beginning: "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Then, drawing the obvious parallel that so many of us have since 2003, Dr. Schoen likens Iraq to Vietnam, stating that "those same liberal voices are urging us to pull out" of Iraq today.
Of course we are.
The United States was led into Iraq under false pretenses. We were told that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction that were threatening not only the United States, but the entire world. When the WMDs failed to materialize, the American people were then told that our troops were there to "liberate Iraq," to free them from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
I cannot disagree that Saddam Hussein was a beast who brutalized the people of Iraq. He didn't hesitate to tap their phone conversations, search their homes without warrant, confiscate their possessions, and arrest and hold citizens for indefinite periods of time without benefit of legal representation. That was just the beginning. Even torture was considered an acceptable means to an end.
Schoen admits that mistakes were made, but liberals do not offer solutions, they only wish to embarrass George Bush. With respect, the administration needs no help in embarrassing itself. At this writing, it has been 1,212 days since President Bush's photo op "Mission Accomplished" landing on the Aircraft Carrier Lincoln.
Since that day, 2,484 American service people have been killed in Iraq, 19,890 of our brave soldiers have been injured, and the number of Iraqi civilian deaths is unknown. If I were the one who had swaggered around that aircraft carrier, I'd be pretty embarrassed.
As for solutions being offered, I've neither seen nor heard any solution from the White House other than "stay the course." I remember that phrase from the father of the current President Bush. It didn't work out very well for him, either. Unfortunately, solutions offered by top military officials have largely been ignored. They recommended more men, more money and more equipment early in the conflict. These recommendations were not acted upon, and now the situation is at best a nightmare, and at worst a nightmare.
On the liberal side of things, former Sen. John Edwards offered a reasonable solution in The Washington Post on Nov. 13, 2005: (1) Remove the image of an imperialist America from the Iraqi landscape by removing the exorbitant profits for American contractors in the region and building the capacity of Iraqi companies to do the work of rebuilding their own country. (2) Implement a U.S. troop redeployment strategy with a more effective training plan, complete with hard deadlines and clear benchmarks, for Iraqi troops. The incentive for Iraqi troop readiness would be that for every Iraqi unit that was certified ready, a proportional number of American troops would be withdrawn. (3) Launch a serious diplomatic process that brings the world, especially Iraq's neighbors, into this effort.
Schoen's contention that religious and racial profiling is the way to stop terrorism within the U.S. is un-American. "Muslims have boasted repeatedly they are going to destroy America," he says. I disagree. Terrorists who hide themselves behind the religion of Islam have boasted this. It is not reflective of Islam as a religion.
Suggesting that ALL Muslims be profiled as terrorists is as offensive as suggesting that all people of Japanese descent be herded into detention camps, or all people of German descent not be allowed to own property or travel freely around the country, or all people of African descent not be allowed to vote. It's bigoted, and goes against the very founding principles of this great nation.
The United States is the greatest country in the world because it is open to all. That openness, that freedom, brings some risk, but the risk is worth it. The greatest ideal of our country is "E Pluribus Unum": from many, one. We are one country, with many accents, many colors, and many voices.
I urge all my fellow citizens to listen to all sides of an issue and make up their own minds. Better yet, speak your own mind. Let your voice be heard. It's your democracy. Use it.
Linda Cloud lives in Lakeview.
More like this story