January 29, 2003

The Lost Conscience of a Nation

I read a column in the New York Times today by Nicholas Kristof. It was a good article. Essentially I agreed with his premise that an attack on Iraq will make Americans less safe, not more. But there was too much pandering to Bush's fanatically conservative -- fascist -- point of view. The sentence that really stopped me was, "There's no moral tenet that makes me oppose invasion."

I was so moved I had to stop and write Mr. Kristof a note. Here it is:

Dear Mr. Kristof,

I agree with your conclusions that attacking Iraq will probably make Americans less safe. I would say it's about 100 to one more likely than the reverse. And I would agree that one does not have to get into the moral considerations to see the disastrous potentials of this attack. But I must say I find this statement very disturbing: "There's no moral tenet that makes me oppose invasion."

I know we Americans are all well immersed in a value system that says nothing counts but the bottom line and money is the only value that ultimately matters. But when I see someone as relatively high-minded as yourself shrugging off any moral considerations in the coming devastation of Iraq, I feel that we are such a spiritually impoverished nation that there is little hope for us.

The idea that the US could surgically remove Saddam Hussein and make the country democratic without massive casualties is more simplistic than Bush's favorite book, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." And the thought that a man of your obvious intelligence could pretend in its veracity just shows me that Americans are too intimidated to even think clearly.

Contrast that fairy tale scenario with the Pentagon's proposal to strike "shock and awe" into Iraqis with 400 cruise missiles a day on Baghdad, to destroy them "physically, emotionally and psychologically." This is a description of the most merciless terrorism ever committed. And you are buying into it when you pretend that the Bush lies could be true.

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