Anti-war and still patriotic

There is reasonable dissent and that dissent is not being listened to.

The Iraq war has cost the United States a great deal. So far, 1,936 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, more than 90 percent of all “coalition” casualties. Over 14,000 U.S. Soldiers have been wounded in action. The cost of the war totals over $200 billion; Minnesota’s share is $4.6 billion.

Those facts and figures are inarguable; they represent the hard truth and reality of the over two and a half year war.

But when objections to the handling of this conflict are raised, war supporters shout down opponents labeling them unpatriotic and un-American. We in the University Democratic Farmer Labor organization believe war supporters should worry less about undermining our troops and instead focus on why the Pentagon is under-arming our soldiers.

There is reasonable dissent in this country, and it is not being listened to; reasonable dissent from people who don’t care about Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan or Jane Fonda.See, we were told we were going to Iraq because they had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Donald Rumsfeld told us “we know where they are, we just have to find them.”

Sec. Rumsfeld, we’re still waiting.

We were also told that Iraq was connected to al-Qaida, something that has also been proven to be utterly false. So why does George Tenet (Ex-Central Intelligence Agency Chief, who called the case for WMDs in Iraq a “slam dunk”) receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor the president can bestow? Now the administration is changing the rationale for war saying this was about creating democracy to stabilize the reason. Except again, that’s not why you said we went to Iraq. Your case for war was 100 percent wrong.

There is a fundamental problem with the Bush Doctrine, and rather than launch into a diatribe about culture, history and manpower, let’s leave it at this: Anti-American Rhetoric; Supports or Harbors Terrorists; Oppresses Their People; Has or Desires WMD.

You can’t tell me what country was just described. What’s next: Yemen? Pakistan? Iran? North Korea? Saudi Arabia (where 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were from)? Syria?

This administration has further jeopardized the security of this country by their mismanagement and horrendous handling of the Iraq war.

Now 60 percent of the country disapproves of the president’s handling of this conflict, and only 44 percent think the United States did the right thing in invading Iraq.

Instead of focusing on Afghanistan, we as a nation have been sidetracked into a conflict we didn’t need. Now, the Taliban is still a grave threat.

Recently the Taliban killed four candidates and five election workers before elections. Maj. Gen. Eric Olson on the ground told CBS News that Afghanistan’s new army and police would need five to 10 years before they could begin performing properly.

Maj. Gen. Olson also reported the trail for Osama Bin Laden has gone cold. The man responsible for all that death and destruction is still free in part because this president didn’t see fit to devote the appropriate resources to hunting down this killer.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida has been responsible for attacks in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Yemen, as well as in Spain and London. The Washington Post reported al-Qaida still is over 18,000 strong and is operating in over 60 countries.

This President has failed his primary responsibility as president to defend the American people. Tough talk and rhetoric may work for campaigns, but not in securing this country.

Unfortunately, we have to go to war with the commander in chief we have.

Noah Seligman is secretary for the U-DFL and a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]