LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT
The following letters are not necessarily the opinion of this webmaster,
unless signed by him.
December 4, 2007 -
Pres: In Reader's Digestís, November 2007 issue, an article by
Michael Crowley tells the story of health care and other benefits being
provided to members of Congress. I admit that I am quoting liberally from
his article, to wit:
Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. The ďCadillacĒ plan: $250
deductible and a plan which covers "everything." And you cannot
be rejected due to age, existing medical conditions or bad habits
like smoking. I would also like the benefit of being able to drop by
any physicianís office I choose where an ample staff is at my service
(like the benefit Congress has with the Capitolís physicians), or
choosing a top rated hospital in which to receive care from the most
highly trained physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, physical therapists,
etc. The health care and prescription drug coverage provided to Congress
is better than Medicare, with a prescription drug benefit of the most
popular plan wroth 42% more than the standard Medicare drug plan. Oh, and
I would also like to keep my generous health plan after I retire, or
change jobs, just like Congress. And I would like the plan to include my
choice of care - homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc. and I would
like to have the privilege of unlimited visits, just like those that are
afforded for traditional Western medicine. Because the way Western
medicine, the FDA and pharmaceutical companies are going, I want choices.
This health care plan is provided to members of Congress courtesy of
taxpayers. Seems to me that since I am paying for Congressí health plan,
Congress can pay for an equal or better plan for me. I think thatís only
fair, donít you ?
And while weíre on the subject of benefits, I would also like a comparable
pension plan, just like members of Congress. After all, I have almost 40
years of service in the work force. I would like to retire at age 62 with
a pension totaling around $53,500, with an automatic cost-of-living
adjustment tied to inflation, just like members of Congress. Because
according to the National Taxpayers Union, Congressional pensions are
about twice as generous as that of a comparably paid corporate executive.
And thereís basically zero chance that the federal government will ever
break its pension promises, since it can borrow endlessly or simply raise
taxes. And since Iím paying the taxes, I want the benefits.
I would also like guaranteed pay raises, like members of Congress.
Yessiree, an annual raise tied to inflation sounds great to me. After all,
I work hard to keep this economy going - I deserve it.
If Congress is going to represent the people, at their expense, Congress
should be willing to live more like the typical American. Or raise the bar
so the typical American - me - can live like members of Congress.
I will be circulating this email widely, after which, I may decide to run
How about it, Pres? Get with the people!
June 3, 2007 - Today, fourteen
more of our boys died for you and your father's oil, and South America
wants to blow up JFK. When are you going
to stop this senseless, so called, war? How many more of our boys have to
die before you realize that those people don't want us there?
By the way, what
country are we at war with? In times, before 9/11, wars were
between countries. One country won the other lost, since we won, most of
the time, we helped the losers get back on their feet (It was a
profitable solution for the big businesses,) Then that country could
rebuild and go to war with us again. Who won? Big business! who lost?
the people of the world.
Come back to earth George, come back to the
people. We will support you if you start caring for the people. Start
with bringing back our young before they are killed or maimed.
January 11, 2007 - Dear President Bush: I am a Korean war veteran and I wish to volunteer to go
to Iraq and fight. I wish to volunteer in order that the young people in
this country may continue to live a long life. I, and guys my age, are
responsible for what is happening, not the young guys. I am guilty through
my lack of voting and lack of protesting this ridicules project of yours.
I will at least know that I am fighting for your fatherís oil interests
and for his business buddies who have interests in the far East, and not
for reasons your writers or advisors invented. That wonít deter me from
fighting. You wonít have to give me any of your pre-written rhetoric about
patriotism or love of my country. I love my country.
At age 77, I am very active, I could easily march a
couple of miles through the desert, I am a good marksman, I have
experience and I would make a good target. And, when I get blown up, or
wounded, give me a heavy a dose of morphine and then shovel me into a pit.
You can save the expense of shipping me back to the states. I will sign a
release. I donít even need pay. My social security will be enough. Think
about it, there are thousands of old guys like me who would gladly give up
their lives to save the young from being exposed to death and
You would be doing me a great favor. I cannot sit in a
comfortable chair and read the paper or watch the TV news about our young
being slaughtered for your ego. I remember WWII, when I was target
practicing with my BB gun at age 12, knowing I would soon be going to war,
and I remember how I felt. But it was a war to stop all wars and end
oppression. And tears form in my eyes when I think of all of those people,
including my friends and relatives who died or were maimed for that cause.
A cause soon forgotten, as were the veterans.
Take me, Mr. President, take me!
7/22/2006 Dixon, Lisa -
, , -
I have read very disturbing things about you today. I hope that they are
not true.REMEMBER!!!! Jesus is our Lord and Savior. He is the only one who
can save us. GOD IS LOVE.
10/02/2005 - Here
is an open letter from the poet Sharon Olds to Laura Bush declining the
invitation to read and speak at the National Book Critics Circle Award in
Washington, DC. Forward it along if you feel more
people should read it.
Sharon Olds is one of most widely read and critically acclaimed poets
living in America today. Read to the end of the letter to experience her
restrained, chilling eloquence.
The White House
Dear Mrs. Bush,
I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind
invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on
September 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the
breakfast at the White House.
In one way, it's a very appealing invitation. The idea of speaking at a
festival attended by 85,000 people is inspiring! The possibility of
finding new readers is exciting for a poet in personal terms, and in terms
of the desire that poetry serve its constituents--all of us who need the
pleasure, and the inner and outer news, it delivers.
And the concept of a community of readers and writers has long been dear
to my heart. As a professor of creative writing in the graduate school of
a major university, I have had the chance to be a part of some magnificent
outreach writing workshops in which our students have become teachers.
Over the years, they have taught in a variety of settings: a women's
prison, several New York City public high schools, an oncology ward for
Our initial program, at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely
physically challenged, has been running now for twenty years, creating
along the way lasting friendships between young MFA candidates and
their students - long-term residents at the hospital who, in their humor,
courage and wisdom, become our teachers.
When you have witnessed someone nonspeaking and almost nonmoving spell
out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his
new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion and
essentialness of writing.
When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is
completely nonspeaking and nonmoving (except for the eyes), and pointed
first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to
the first letter of the first word of the first line of the poem she has
been composing in her head all week, and she lifts her eyes when that
letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy
the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty and
wit--and the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each
person's unique story and song.
So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought
of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I
thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books and meet some of
the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a way,
even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling that we
should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my belief that the wish to
invade another culture and another
country--with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers,
and for the noncombatants in their home terrain--did not come out
of our democracy but was instead a decision made "at the top"
and forced on the people by distorted language, and by untruths. I hoped
to express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny
and religious chauvinism--the opposites of the liberty, tolerance and
diversity our nation aspires to.
I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear
witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its
writing-against this undeclared and devastating war.
But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I
sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what
I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.
What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food
from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that
unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of
permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying
to other countries where they will be tortured for us.
So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and
shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the
clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of
the candles, and I could not stomach it.
11/08/2004 - chapman, mike - email@example.com
MT. HOPE, WV, U.S.A - 373 davis cemetery rd
Dear MR PRESIDENT I would like to thank you for a great job I voted
for you Iknow you will get the job done thank you for coming to Beckley
this summer gave a good boost to the town hope you get to come back
soon I didnt get to go inside that day I had to work but I got off for
afew hours to take my mom out to see you walk in to the building that day
we listened to your speech on the radio you had people in this town
talking loved the message you gave to Beckley wish I could of met you that
day I would love to get a sign picture from you hope I didnt take up to
much of your time I just wanted you to know that were praying for you to
make the right decision Hope you and your wife have nice holiday season
mike chapman Beckley WV 373 davis cemetery rd mt hope wv 25880
thank you mike
10/27/2004 - Coleman, Hubert - Cole904@Yahoo.com
Allenhurst, GA, United States -
Dear President: I would like to know if you can give a waiver for
those of us who has served for 20 plus years in the US Army to get jobs
with the State Dept, US Marshall, or DSS. I would like to continue
to serve this great nation but because of my age of 42 I am not eligible.
I retired 30 Jun 04 with 22 years of service in the US Army and wish to
continue to protect this great nation. Why do we after retirement
not get that chance because of our age? Can you help with this>
09/04/2004 - Richards, Jana - firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been reading up on the Civil War and I read that even
President Lincoln had problems with people loosing faith in him during the
war. He turned out to be one of the great presidents of our time. I don't
like violence but I don't believe in sitting by and letting other
countries destroy our families and our lives. How would Americans feel if
you just blew off this terrorist thing and let it go just to have them
attack again in 1 or 2 years....or even 20 years! A lot of people can sit
by and say many things about how you handled this whole terrorist problem
but what if it was their families in those towers, would they think
different? War has been a part of this country for so long and it probably
will remain part of this country for many more, but I fully support this
war and I don't want the next victim to be my family or my daughter.
Families who loose their loved ones during this war are no different than
families many years ago, their family member(s) knew the risk in being in
the military and took it because they believed in this country and loved
it. I think this country is not what it used to be and many people don't
believe in this country anymore so they begin to "hate" because
their loved one fought and died for a country they lost faith in.
I may not believe in everything you support but there is more I
don't believe in in the oppsite parties campaign. So hopfully this year
the vote will be "legal" and we can rest in the fact that the
country will be lead by the most efficient leader
08/21/2004 - Wm. Mcphearson, Iowa, USA - Dear Mr. President
This email came to me today. What do you make of it?
you can't get through this list without wanting to throw up, I'll
understand. But pass it around anyway. This is the nail in the Iraq
War's coffin for any sane, thinking individual, regardless of their
(Thanks to Tom Paine.com and the Center for American Progress.)
To get some perspective, here are some real-life comparisons about
what $87 billion means:
$87 Billion is more than the combined total of all State budget
deficits in the United States. The Bush administration proposed
absolutely zero funds to help states deal with these deficits, despite
the fact that their tax cuts drove down state revenues. [Source:
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities].
$87 Billion is enough to pay the 3.3 million people who have lost jobs
under George W. Bush $26,363.00 each! The unemployment benefits
extension passed by Congress at the beginning of this year provides
zero benefits to workers who exhausted their regular, state
unemployment benefits and cannot find work [Source: Center on Budget
and Policy Priorities].
$87 Billion is more than double the total amount the government spends
on Homeland Security. The U.S. spends about $36 billion on homeland
security.Yet, Sen. Warren Rudman (R- N.H.) wrote, America will fall
approximately $98.4 billion short of meeting critical emergency
responder needs for homeland security without a funding increase.
[Source: Council on ForeignRelations].
$87 Billion is 87 times the amount the Federal Government spends on
After-School Programs. George W. Bush proposed a budget that reduces
the $1billion for after-school programs to $600 million cutting off
about 475,000 children from the program. [Source: The
Republican-dominated House Appropriations Committee].
$87 Billion is more that 10 times what the Government spends on all
environmental Protection. The Bush administration requested just $7.6
billion for the entire Environmental Protection Agency. This included
a 32 percent cut to water quality grants, a 6 percent reduction in
enforcement staff, and a 50 percent cut to land acquisition and
conservation. [Source: Natural Resources Defense Council].
There you go. In black and white. A few million of you will receive
this letter. Please share it. I, like you, do not want to see another
approval rating over 50 percent.
this the other day through a link in an email. How do you intelligently
respond to it. shinning it on or discounting it, as not true, doesn't
a good percentage of the American population the victim of mass
hysteria, when all semblance of common sense vanishes for a large
percentage of the population?
certainly appear so after reading "Deserter." Bush, as any
BuzzFlash reader knows, evaded service in Vietnam by using family
connections to leapfrog over a waiting list to get into the Texas Air
National Guard. Then, among other improprieties, he didn't show up for
his annual physical one year and was permanently grounded, thus
wasting millions of taxpayer dollars spent on his training. Of course,
then there's the AWOL thing, which was long enough to be considered
desertion if....well, if his name were Juan Gonzalez instead of Bush!
boy, but don't get the author of "Deserter" going! The above
paragraph is just for starters in making the case that Bush is a
military fraud, a rich kid popinjay who showed his support for the
Vietnam War by making sure that he didn't get any closer to risking
his life than a swimming pool in Corpus Christi.
08/08/2004 - Smith, Rachel - DrumMonkey05@hotmial.com
Dear Mr. President,
I'll start off by saying that i'm only 17, so,
technically, I can't vote, but beleive it or not, childrens' opinions
can have an affect on their parents opinions. I fully respect and
support our president, and our troops, and I don't think anyone could
be more proud to live in the USA than I am, but i personally don't
understand why you have such a gruge against gay marrage. Okay, while
I can understand your point, that doesn't mean I agree with it.
And you are right, marrage is sacred, but if two people love each
other enough to commit to being together for the rest of their lives,
why shouldn't they be allowed to? Would you rather a
"normal" marrage end in divorce?Perhaps they should just
have different benifits than a "standard" couple.
Again, i will say that i am only 17, and i am not gay, but i
understand both ends of the argument, and personally, disagree with
your's. Please do not take offense to anything i've said, and i hope
you can answer my questions. Thank you.
07/21/2004 - Olmstead, John - email@example.com
Tucson, AZ, USA -
Dear President Bush. I stumbled upon this site
accidentally, and was sickened to read what these left-wing morons
wrote. Thank you for being the strong President who was needed
during these critical times -- times when we are fighting an enemy who
doesn't mind blowing himself/herself up, just so Americans will die.
Don't worry. Most people know you are doing the right thing, and
we continue to pray for you and our young men fighting for Iraqis, and
even for the morons that wrote these emails.
04/18/2004 - Abel Cranstin -
Omaha, NE, USA
Please put this on the letters to president, I got his email and
thought he should read it.
George Bush wants John Kerry to name the foreign heads of state Kerry
says told him privately they'd like to see an end to the Bush
administration. That's fascinating, don't you think? Bush wants Kerry
to name names.
I'm dreaming this, right?
"If you're going to make an accusation in the course of a
presidential campaign," Bush told reporters in Washington this
week, "you've got to back it up with facts."
If Bush wants to know which foreign leaders might have confided that
they wouldn't mind seeing the Bush Doctrine end in November, all he
has to do is pay attention to world affairs for a few minutes. Even
before the abominable Madrid train bombing 10 days ago, distrust and
outrage at U.S. policies had been shown to be reaching new levels of
hostility from France to Morocco, from Germany to Jordan, from Russia
"The wounds have not healed among the allied publics since the
end of the war and, in fact, things are a little worse," Andrew
Kohut told The New York Times the other day. Kohut directs the Pew
Research Center for the People and Press, which surveyed world opinion
on the matter. He then added, "there are trends that speak to a
more long-term and continuing disconnect between the old allies."
Maybe Kerry ought to comply with Dubya's request, if only to save him
the mental effort of figuring this stuff out for himself. The greater
challenge to Kerry is restraining himself from firing some questions
back. Unlike Kerry, I don't have the requisite restraint.
So, for the chief executive who suddenly wants names named, who
suddenly flirts with some understanding of the merits of full
disclosure and transparency after more than three years of running the
most secretive government in American history, a few similar
Who met with Dick Cheney in the first days of this administration to
formulate America's energy policy?
Which corporate titans wielded the key influences that have resulted
in the most enviro-hostile administration in memory, the highest gas
prices in memory and a myopic oil-junky foreign policy?
(Oh, that's right, I've got to wait until the Supreme Court rules on
this one. In the meantime, Cheney can go duck hunting with Supreme
Court Justice Antonin Scalia, so they can get their story straight on
why I don't need to know this.) Who was on board for the notorious
Who allowed a planeload of influential Saudis to fly out of the
country Sept. 13, 2001, with all commercial air traffic grounded and
before any formal investigation into the hijackings had fully begun?
Who outed Valerie Plame, the CIA operative whose terrorist tracking
operation was destroyed because her husband had the nerve to say part
of your State of the Union address was a fiction designed to build
support for Bush War II?
Who decided not to allow soldiers returning from Iraq at Walter Reed
Hospital to be interviewed by representatives of the Disabled American
Veterans unless agovernment official was present?
Who directed Thomas Scully, the Medicare administrator, to tell
Richard Foster he'd be fired if he didn't withhold the actual cost of
the prescription drug benefit package that passed Congress with a $400
billion price tag, some $130 billion less than Foster knew it would
Whom is National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice protecting by not
testifying publicly before the independent commission investigating
the Sept. 11 attacks?
Who came up with the idea that your own testimony before the
commission should not exceed one hour, the amount of time you
generally spend working out every day?
Who actually saw you complete your National Guard obligations in
Alabama during the Vietnam War?
Who, at any level of any government agency, has received any form of
discipline, let alone been fired, as a direct result of the massive
intelligence failures that led to Sept. 11?
Who forgot to restrain you from repeating the fiction that you watched
on television from a Florida schoolhouse as the first plane hit the
World Trade Center building the morning of Sept. 11, even though no
video of the first plane hitting was discovered until the next day?
OK, I'm out of space. If he cares to, John Kerry can take it from
4/11/2004 - K., Sharon -
kalkaska, mi, USA -
I support our president, I support our troops and I support the
USA,You can't support one without the other.Nobodys wants a war or to
send their children to their possible deaths, but our country is a
free country because of the sacrifaces our brave men and women have
made over hundreds of years.How would you feel if your country was
ruled as the Iraqi people have lived for years? So I say, Dear Mr.
President, you have a very tough job in front of you, I believe you
will do the very best to your ability to insure our country remains
free,our security is insured,and our homeland remains ours. Good Luck
because I don't belive I would want your job.
04/01/2004 - W., Allan -
Dear President Bush: First, I served in the Army during the during the
Korean War. It was a war, a lot of people are dead or maimed because
of it. I was fortunate. I just received a letter from Medicare about
some up and coming benefits. That's nice, but what a cheap shot on
your part to put your name at the head of the letter as if it was your
idea. And why did you wait for an election year to do it, when it has
been needed for years? Do Government officials receive Medicare or do
they have their own benefits like their full salaried pensions. What
makes them so important that the people have to pay them after they do
their term? Put them on the same level with us and we will have better
Social Security and Better Medicare. You don't have to answer this.
03/28/2004 - P. J
Kokomo, in, USA -
Dear President Bush I'm married to a first grade teacher. I'm
one of the people that listens to the woos of professionals that have
little control of how they can run a classroom with all the mandates,
lack of corpral punishment and a work load that goes way past the
classroom. Their president says let no child be left behind, but about
50% of today's children are being raised by parents who are children
themselves, It seems that if all our children are to get an education
more attention should be spent on how to give the classroom back to
the teacher. They now spend to much time keeping track of unruly
children. I think you are one of the best presidents we've had. Please
support our teachers so they can do their best. Yours truly J Pohlman
03/21/2004 - B., Heather , IN, United States -
I feel that this war in Iraq
shouldn't have started..and now that things are going beyond that,
lives being lost on both sides, and information NOT being correct from
what we were initially told by the president p/his VERY reliable
sources. We as a country (and bush as the instigator and
president of this country) should own up to the mistake and get out as
quickly as we can. I have tried to find a website that I can
voice my opinions for bush to read easily (or at least he public
opinion advisors who are supposed to monitoring public opinion of
things), but I couldn't find anything. If anyone knows of one I
would SOOO appreciate the information b/c I want to voice my opinion
that continues to be proven right as things go on. We are losing
lives, money, world support, etc based on this "reliable
source" and "revenge over 9/11"...let us be mature and
say "I'm sorry I made a mistake, let me try to help you get back
on your feet w/"orders, do it my way attitude, and less funds
that we can't really afford." Like we tell all our upcoming
children to do when they find they make a mistake. To at least
own up to their own mistake and correct it immediately. When
will America or the president do that.
by Intelligent People
There can be no high civility without a deep morality. - Ralph Waldo
I am very doubtful whether history shows us one example of a man who,
having stepped outside rational morality and attained power, has used that
power benevolently. Clive Staples Lewis
Political surrender leads almost inevitably to moral surrender also,
Men are not made religious by performing certain actions which are
externally good, but they must first have righteous principles; and then
they will not fail to perform virtuous actions. Martin Luther
As soon as we lose the moral basis, we cease to be religious. There is
no such thing as religion overriding morality. Man, for instance, cannot
be untruthful, cruel or incontinent and claim to have God on his side.-
Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
Increase of material comforts, it may be generally laid known, does not
in any way whatsoever conduce to moral growth.- Mohandas Karamchand
Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be
maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to
expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious
principle. - George Washington
Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of morality.
- Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
Right and wrong
I would rather be right than president. - Henry Clay.
Whatever is physiologically right is morally right; and whatever is
physiologically wrong is morally wrong. - Mark Hopkins
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must
spiral down a militaristic stairway into hell of thermonuclear
destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have
the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is
stronger than evil triumphant. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
A straight line is the shortest in morals as in Mathematics. - Maria
If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. Men will
believe what they see. Let them see. - Henry David Thoreau
The man who is so conscious of the rectitude of his intentions a to be
willing to open his bosom to the inspection of the world, is in possession
of one of the strongest pillars of a decided character. The course of such
a man will be firm and steady, because he has nothing to fear from the
world, and is sure of the approbation and support of Heaven.- William Wirt.
Words to think about from a Benedictine Nun
National Catholic Reporter
Is There Anything Left That Matters?
by Joan Chittister, OSB 05/29/03
A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Sister Joan is a best-selling
author and well-known international lecturer. She is founder and executive
director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for Contemporary
and past president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses
and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Sister Joan has been
recognized by universities and national organizations for her work for justice,
peace and equality for women in the Church and society.She is an active member
of the International Peace Council.
This is what I don't understand: All of a sudden nothing seems
First, they said they wanted Bin Laden "dead
or alive." But they didn't get him. So now they tell us that it doesn't
matter. Our mission is greater than one man. Then they said they wanted Saddam
Hussein, "dead or alive." He's apparently alive but we haven't
got him yet, either. However, President Bush told reporters recently, "It
doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man."
Finally, they told us that we were invading Iraq
to destroy their weapons of mass destruction. Now they say those weapons
probably don't exist. Maybe never existed. Apparently that doesn't matter
either. - Except that it does matter. I know we're not supposed to say
that. I know it's called "unpatriotic." But it's also called honesty. And
It matters that the infrastructure of a foreign
nation that couldn't defend itself against us has been destroyed on the grounds
that it was a military threat to the world.
It matters that it was destroyed by us under a
new doctrine of "pre-emptive war" when there was apparently
nothing worth pre-empting. It surely matters to the families here whose sons
went to war to make the world safe from weapons of mass destruction and will
never come home.
It matters to families in the United States
whose life support programs were ended, whose medical insurance ran out, whose
food stamps were cut off, whose day care programs were eliminated so we could
spend the money on sending an army to do what did not need to be done.
It matters to the Iraqi girl whose face was
burned by a lamp that toppled over as a result of a U.S. bombing run.
It matters to Ali, the Iraqi boy who lost his family - and both his arms - in a
U.S. air attack.
It matters to the people in Baghdad whose water
supply is now fetid, whose electricity is gone, whose streets are unsafe,
whose 158 government ministries' buildings and all their records have been
destroyed, whose cultural heritage and social system has been looted and whose
cities teem with anti-American protests.
It matters that the people we say we
"liberated" do not feel liberated in the midst of the lawlessness,
destruction and wholesale social suffering that so-called liberation created.
It matters to the United Nations whose integrity
was impugned, whose authority was denied, whose inspection teams are even
now still being overlooked in the process of technical evaluation and
It matters to the reputation of the United
States in the eyes of the world, both now and for decades to come, perhaps.
And surely it matters to the integrity of this
nation whether or not its intelligence gathering agencies have any real
intelligence or not before we launch a military armada on its say-so.
And it should matter whether or not our government is
either incompetent and didn't know what they were doing or were dishonest and
refused to say.
The unspoken truth is that either as a people we were
misled, or we were lied to, about the real reason for this war. Either we made a
huge - and unforgivable - mistake, an arrogant or ignorant mistake, or we
are swaggering around the world like a blind giant, flailing in all directions
while the rest of the world watches in horror or in ridicule.
If Bill Clinton's definition of "is" matters,
surely this matters. If a president's sex life matters, surely a president's use
of global force against some of the weakest people in the world matters. If a
president's word in a court of law about a private indiscretion matters, surely
a president's word to the community of nations and the security of millions of people matters.
And if not, why not? If not, surely there is something
as wrong with us as citizens, as thinkers, as Christians as there must be with
some facet of the government. If wars that the public says are wrong yesterday -
as over 70% of U.S. citizens did before the attack on Iraq - suddenly become
"right" the minute the first bombs drop, what kind of national
morality is that?
Of what are we really capable as a nation if the
considered judgment of politicians and people around the world means nothing to
us as a people?
What is the depth of the American soul if we can allow
destruction to be done in our name and the name of "liberation" and
never even demand an accounting of its costs, both personal and public, when it
We like to take comfort in the notion that people make
a distinction between our government and ourselves. We like to say that the
people of the world love Americans, they simply mistrust our government.
But excoriating a distant and anonymous "government" for wreaking
rubble on a nation in pretense of good requires very little of either character
What may count most, however, is that we may well be
the ones Proverbs warns when it reminds us: "Kings take pleasure in honest
lips; they value the one who speaks the truth."
The point is clear: If the people speak and the king
doesn't listen, there is something wrong with the king. If the king acts
precipitously and the people say nothing, something is wrong with the people.
It may be time for us to realize that in a
country that prides itself on being democratic, we are our government. And the
rest of the world is figuring that out very quickly.
From where I stand, that matters.