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ISSUE 116 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/4/2002

Administration undermines world peace

By Dan Schramm
Staff Writer

Friday, October 4, 2002

One of the few redeeming characteristics of Mike Cassano's op-ed piece in last week's Mess ("Army Game Brutal," Sept. 27), in which Cassano ruminates on the moral relevance of shooting a computer-generated image in the face with a computer-generated sniper rifle, is the question he accidentally raises about what is courageous and what is cowardly in international conflicts.

While Cassano thinks that the US military requires of its soldiers the courage to kill and be killed, I find it wholly ironic that the vast majority of the destruction wreaked upon our enemies takes place from such great distances. A war at air or sea gives the soldier no opportunity to survey the human cost of their actions. Pushing a little red button to send a Tomahawk missile screaming into an enemy’s headquarters is a simple action.

How sophisticated our military logic is! We wage war only when necessary, which is approximately every time a world leader fails to grovel at our feet. We show no malice or hatred towards those necessary enemies. A capacity for hatred is reserved for people who understand that their enemies are human.

And yet despite our absurdly disproportionate military superiority, the citizens of this country, as well as our frightened national leaders, have demonstrated a cowardice equal to any Iraqi citizen. Worse, because they will stand against our red, white and blue cannon, not because they support a corrupt dictator, but because it is their land that we will invade, and their livelihoods that we will destroy in the name of freedom and liberty.

A number of ulterior motives have been postulated for the Bush Administration's desire for war with Iraq. They range from questions about energy and oil to maneuverings for election. From the desire to shift national attention off of the stagnating "War against Terrorism' to the hypothesis that our Commander-in-Chief is seeking a geopolitical restructuring of the Middle East to better suit our corporate interests.

These possible motives should be sickening to any person of conscience or principle in this country. Even the official reason for war given by our president is found wanting when compared to this nation’s concept of justice.

Supposedly, we have reason to fear a terrorist attack if Saddam Hussein is not removed from power. Therefore, we must use the indiscriminate, yet ultimately moral, violence of our military to prevent the indiscriminate, and ultimately immoral violence of our enemies. It is funny how right and wrong somehow end up nicely synonymous with what is good and bad for America.

"But," our president would protest, "we think Saddam has ties to Al Queda, and that he might be making weapons of mass destruction." To which I would once have replied that the internal standard of justice in this country is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. The same should apply outside of our borders as well.

I no longer stand on solid legal footing with this argument anymore, because the actions of Ashcroft's Justice Department have already undermined our country's criminal due process laws and put an indefinite end to many American citizens' civil liberties. All in the name of her distorted perception of freedom.

Still, somewhere softly wafting, up in those ethereal clouds of Peace and Truth and Justice, come the old, romantic lyric of long ago, "The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave." And I can't help feeling that those two values we most desperately crave can only be protected if we show a dedication to the ideals of an international peace. All in the name of liberty.

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