September 2007

We need to regain our nation

By Galen Larson

Did you have a good breakfast this morning? Did you see a beautiful sunrise? Were you hugged by your wife or greeted by an affectionate slap on the back from your father?

Were you able to ruffle your children’s hair and hear their happy prattle? Oh, isn’t it great to be alive?

Well, there are 3,600 mothers, daughters, fathers, sons and spouses who could not enjoy the day. They are the dead sacrificed in our nation’s disastrous war against Iraq. There are another 20,000 maimed beyond repair and a greater number living with mental anguish that will haunt them for years to come.

But, as Donald Rumsfeld, said, that’s collateral damage.

We have no idea how many Iraqi civilians we have killed — when you get hit with a 20-ton bomb it is instant vaporization. Two million or more upper-class Iraqis have left their homes and livelihoods behind, many choosing the sanctuary of a country deemed by this administration as one of the axes of evil, Syria. Due to the immigration laws of that country they cannot seek jobs or become employed. How do they survive? Their daughters have to take up the world’s oldest profession to support their families. Lurid hotels and brothels are springing up on the border with Iraq as girls as young as 8 sell their bodies to Saudi Arabians and others — all thanks to the war.

Whom should we blame for these atrocities? Clinton, for his stupid indiscretions? The Bush administration, for its self-righteous blundering? A group of zealous fundamentalists with a mindset no different from Al-Qaeda or the Taliban? Well, it is we the people who elected these war-mongers, supposedly to set our country on the path to righteousness. How right is the mayhem we have caused or the innocent lives we have killed?

We elected a group of cowardly draft-dodgers who ran for their holes after Sept. 11. We invaded a country that didn’t ask for our help and had not attacked us. As bad as our erstwhile friend Saddam was (and he was our buddy once, just ask Rummy), he kept order. Now we have created chaos in our effort to bring “democracy” to a tribal and sectarian people who had accepted rule by domination. Whether that is right is not up to me or George Bush to decide. But we let the pious and religious lead us into battle for no clear reason.

Let’s take a look at our religious leaders for the past few decades. The great and tearful Jimmy Swaggart, whom one would have thought might have sprung for a hotel room and given the lady providing the service he was seeking more than $25. Or Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye, who surely could have been a little more frugal with the dollars given to them by little scared pensioners. Let’s not forget the meth-inhaling, massage-receiving Ted Haggard or the pious James Dobson, who speaks of forgiveness but couldn’t bring himself to forgive Haggard. Then there are the politicians who have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar or in some other person’s pants besides their spouse’s. Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Sen. Dave Vitter, to name a few.

And then there is the good old boy Clinton. Being a Democrat myself, I hold him equally responsible for the sad state of affairs we are in. In the ’90s we had a balanced budget with a surplus in the treasury, 97-cent gas, non-contaminated food, civil liberties, a foreign policy of negotiation instead of bombs, decent wages for the working class. And we were a world leader in innovation, technology and manufacturing.

But Clinton had to act like a hormone- crazed teenager, thus helping propel Bush into office. And this administration has destroyed 200 years of progress in six short years.

To make matters worse, our news media have become a propaganda tool to rival that of Goebbels’. There are no reporters, just Kens and Barbies reading from a prepared script. Their motto is, if you’re not cute you can’t toot. We are told only of terrorists, insurgents, the Taliban. Weren’t 19 Saudi Arabians at the controls of the bombers on 9-11? Lies took us to war and lies of omission keep us there. No pictures of the caskets coming home, no reports on how our wounded were treated after they were exploited — not until one brave person complained.

We are fast approaching an election that will decide our future and that of our children and grandchildren. Forget the sound bites. Watch the candidates and see when they speak out of both sides of their mouth. Electing someone solely because of party affiliation does not always get the best results.

Can I alone make a difference? No. But an informed populace can. Vote “none of the above” on both tickets. Just maybe we can get our country back.

Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.