Sunday, January 14, 2007


There is a scene at the end of the movie The Bridge On the River Kwai after the bridge has been blown up and almost everyone has been killed in the fighting. In the calm the follows the fighting the commander stands overlooking the destroyed bridge and bodies and with a look of sadness and horror on his face speaks one word, repeating it several times, "Madness."

Afghanistan, Iraq and now Somalia. Bellicose words for Iran and Syria. Madness.

Destruction and dead bodies. Madness.

Where does this madness stop? Who will stop it? How many more will die?

We are now fighting wars in three nations: three wars in which we are the invading and occupying force or are actively and forcefully engaged with the invader. Because we are trying to subjugate those nations with minimum cost to ourselves we are using airpower and artillery instead of manpower, knowing that that usage adds grotesquely to non-combatant deaths and injuries – including women and children.

The purpose of terrorism is to create fear. What does our president think is the effect of our soldiers in their goggles and helmets, their boots and body armor, their tanks and weaponry, looking like something out of Star Wars and patrolling the streets of an occupied nation?

Is the solution to an act of terror to become the world’s most violent and brutal nation? To make the middle eastern world more afraid of us than we are of them?

When I was in high school we had a bully who ruled his little corner by threat and intimidation. He was, in fact, rather tough and did sometimes beat people up. I was a big guy and was on the football team, but I didn’t really want to take this guy on. Us football players understood violence pretty well, of course, but we limited it to the football field.

I don’t recall what precipitated the incident, but this guy finally stepped over some sort of line. One of my teammates organized the football team to take this guy down. As I recall he sort of disappeared from sight after that.

Violence, war, in self defence is justifiable, even noble. Our initial foray into Afghanistan was supported by the entire world, and by me, but in our president’s latest speech that nation was not even mentioned as part of the goal. Instead, he brought Iran and Syria into our gunsights with vague threats of “disrupting networks.”

We, the people of this nation, are allowing our president to use our strength as that high school bully used his. In doing so he is inflaming those who already fear and hate us, and he is making the threat greater every day that we deal death and destruction so callously throughout the world.

More importantly what he, what we are doing is wrong. Morally, ethically wrong. It is a crime against nature, a crime against peoples and a crime against nations.

Stop this madness.

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