Many people, one movement

TAdam Duininck The most frightening display of rhetorical distortion I have seen during this war is the idea that those who protest the decisions of our leaders are not supporting the men and women of our country in their fight. It has been clear to me in the rallies, protests and marches that this antiwar movement only stands for one thing: a large variety of complaints from a large variety of constituents. Though the conservative press might not want to print the following views, please allow me to explain.

There are veterans with their message of “Support the troops, bring them home.” There are families trying to teach their children that this constant fighting will only perpetuate the problems of terror, not solve them. There are college students trying to understand how President George W. Bush can justify killing thousands in order to liberate millions. Of course there are numerous left-wing extremists that would oppose anything Bush would do, but if we are to gauge the scope of this movement, we must address the variety of its participants and investigate their motives. There is not one type of protester – one sort of opposition – as is often relayed by media coverage, catch phrases and sound bites.

There is strong resistance to federal tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy in this time of funding shortages on the federal, state and local levels. Our schools are suffering, both K-12 and higher education, we have a healthcare system that is failing and needs re-evaluation and unemployment is reaching new highs. These social problems cannot be averted by this costly, preventable war.

There is strong resistance to our governing officials’ lack of patience with inspections and their insistence on our pre-emptive war. War is failure. We give up on using our rational minds, our intelligence, the thing that makes us special as a human species, by going to war. All diplomatic options were not exercised before the decision for war was made. It was a devastating decision made by an impatient administration.

There is strong resistance to the killing of innocent people in Iraq and anywhere in the world. This is a point that everyone in the world can agree upon, left or right wing. However, the Bush administration has had a history of bombing campaigns in Afghanistan, eliminating a nation with which nobody is concerned. Bush and his administration have already warned that “thousands may die so that millions may be free,” but it is easy for this decision to be made when the blood that is shed will be on foreign ground.

And most importantly, there is resistance to a myth that has been reinforced since Sept. 11, 2001. That is the myth that those who oppose us are jealous of our freedoms. This myth has been used by hawks to rally support for an avoidable war and to aid in the argument we must “liberate” a sovereign nation. The fact is many of these nations and these terrorists who oppose the United States do so because of our militaristic occupation of their region and because of our unilateral policies regarding the Palestinians and Israel. Osama bin Laden fought on our side against the Russians in 1980 and was our ally along with Saddam Hussein until around 1990 when the first Bush administration positioned a military presence in Saudi Arabia. It is this forceful foreign policy – this arrogant misuse of a Department of Defense – that compels terrorists to attack our nation. This is the root cause of many of the Arab nations’ hatred for our country and will be further perpetuated after the war.

There are many other reasons for resisting the Bush administration and this unnecessary war. These points are applicable to both the conservative right and the liberal left. By highlighting the diversity in the dissent, it should be obvious that we are still supporting our troops and our nation. Let us not forget that, though we are Americans, we all live in this world together, we all benefit from it and we all have a responsibility to it. Though Bush, Attorney General John Ashcroft and other members of the administration have made statements against those of us who speak out in these crucial times, we must make our voice heard. Peace is patriotic, to voice our frustrations is democratic and we will continue this resistance until changes have been made.

Adam Duininck is a University CLA student. Send letters to the editor to [email protected]