To the editor:
By simple measurements we are winning the war on terrorism. We have attacked Afghanistan, largely routed the Taliban (which President of the World Bush assured us he had no interest in doing), established a military base there (which President of the World Bush assured us he would not do), and are narrowing in on Osama bin Laden. It is clear that we will take him dead or alive, preferably dead, despite our government's refusal to provide one scintilla of evidence that he is actually the mastermind behind the attacks.
But, we've been told he is, at least 1,000 times, so he must be guilty. Right? After all, we know that politicians never abridge the truth. It also is an interesting message to the millions of children whose faces are glued to the TV every day: If you don't like somebody, kill 'em! Anyway, with victory at hand there is one sure thing: We are spending tens and tens of millions to kill one man who is as replaceable as you or I. We are destroying a country already ravished by 20 some years of conflict and have killed thousands of innocent citizens, just as innocent as those who died Sept. 11.
I recently traveled extensively through small towns and large cities in the Midwest, and everywhere I saw a mixture of patriotism and pride. American flags were hanging from houses and cars, painted on walls, and tattooed on forearms. A thousand times I saw the slogan "God Bless America" adorning every surface large enough to accommodate the 17 letters and spaces required.
I became sickened by the inanity of the request and the ease with which one can be patriotic when someone else is doing the dying. In what conceivable way does the world's most blessed country deserve anything more? If God's blessings are to be sought, should we not seek them for every living being, especially those who have so little and from who we have so little and from who we have, traditionally, readily taken so much?
Somewhere in the bowels of all this guns and glory, dead or alive, military tribunal, bunker buster bombs mentality, I sense a politician's most cherished dream coming true. It's called re-election.