As I read the article on Cindy Sheehan (August 25th issue), I noticed several references to the hot Texas sun. I kept thinking that if you could only experience the hot Iraqi sun, then you would truly know what "hot" is.
I got a call in early 2004 from an old friend. He said: "Mark is dead, killed north of Baghdad." We were all stationed together in North Carolina. I felt sad, angry, guilty. Six months later, I'm in the unforgiving Iraqi desert. I never supported this so-called war on terror. (At what point is their terror worse than ours?) But when a comrade dies for a false cause, we must salvage whatever dignity we can. Marines train to live or die on distant shores.
Our mainstream media rarely talk about the Iraqi victims of this war. They number in the thousands. They love their friends and families as much as we do.
Traveling in Iraq is a tricky affair. Civilians usually travel in "Haji-trucks." These are small Japanese pickups without any armor. We aren't allowed to carry weapons either. That may be why it is so easy to kidnap us.
There are thousands of civilians working here in support of Bush's war. Many are from surrounding countries: India, Nepal, Turkey, Egypt. Some are from farther afield: the Philippines, Bosnia. Most of these are virtual slaves, indentured to Kuwaitis. There are mercenaries. Then there are the techno-geeks like me, escaping the economic slump of Southern Illinois.
I guess my point is: It's easy to be against something when it is only an abstract idea. Seeing this place first-hand, it is hardly credible that Iraq was ever a threat to us. When you don't know where your next meal is coming from, you certainly aren't worried about bombing the world's mightiest nation.
I find it sad that a woman would actually write that people who want U.S. troops to come home "will share the blame for the millions who stand to suffer if we leave Iraq too soon" (Viewpoint, September 1st issue).
The writer, Rebekah Gleaves, describes herself as "a military wife" and says the suffering that ensued in Vietnam after America withdrew was because "U.S. politicians gave in to anti-war sentiment." Ironically enough, the same companies that profited from contracts during the Vietnam War are profiteering today from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Despite what well-meaning wives and mothers have to say, war will continue until the profit motive is removed or eclipsed by something greater -- say, global ecological destruction, perhaps.
I have heard that the challenge of being human is to choose not to fight.
First of all, kudos on your new look. Very slick. But I have to respond to former staff writer Rebekah Gleaves' article about Cindy Sheehan.
To borrow from Dan Aykroyd in Saturday Night Live's parody of "Point-Counterpoint:" "Rebekah, you poor misguided news slut."
First of all, Vietnam has nothing to do with our being in Iraq and to say that our involvement in Vietnam was an "unprecedented military success" must have veterans of that era shaking their heads in disbelief.
If Gleaves had spent any time researching the Gulf of Tonkin incident, it would soon be apparent to her that Vietnam was a trumped-up war initiated by the Johnson administration. I don't want to hear this twit whine about how unjustified we are in protesting an endless vortex of senseless slaughter.
Bush IneptitudeWe caught a brief, albeit dramatic, glimpse of George Bush's ineptitude for seven minutes in Florida on 9/11. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we see this administration's stunning incompetence writ large.
From the Persian Gulf to our own Gulf Coast, W's woeful inadequacies manifest themselves with disastrous results time and time again. No one could create a fictional character this incredible. Even my staunch Republican friends are now conceding this war was and is a huge, deadly mistake based on a lie.
Congressman Harold Ford is trying too hard to be everything to everybody (Politics, August 25th issue) so he can get elected to the United States Senate. We don't need another politician who will tell us what he thinks we want to hear. We need someone with backbone who will stand up to wrongs and try to right them.