Artists at war, April 4, 2003



Frederick Horsman Varley, also known as Fred Varley (1881 – 1969), was a member of the Canadian Group of Seven artists and served as a Canadian official war artist in 1918, painting his experiences at the Front. “We’d be healthier to forget… and that we never can. We are forever tainted with its abortiveness and its cruel drama.” (Fred Varley)



For What?
completed by Varley while an official war artist
Fred Varley (1881 – 1969)

(RG note) This is a representative group of artists’ opinions on the current war. Thank you to everyone who wrote. I’ll give you an idea how we laid this one out: First of all we copied every recently received and as yet unpublished letter in its entirety and printed it out. It came to over 200 pages. Then we went to work and cut down the letters to include the main material and indicate a pro or anti-war stance. Some letters started out being 5 pages long. We then rearranged the letters from more or less shorter ones to more or less longer ones. I’m sorry but we decided to eliminate some letters entirely — where sentiments were as well or better expressed in another letter. We were careful to maintain the balance. There were some very well written letters. A very few were unintelligible. This special edition of the Robert Genn Twice-Weekly letter response page gives, I believe, a pretty fair cross section of what artists are currently thinking. Thank you for writing.


War the biggest evil of all
Rose Moon, Sedona, Arizona, USA

Thanks for addressing the war issue. I am joyous to hear that most artists realize the need for peace. My art friends and I used to talk about “the evils of distraction” a term we used to describe anything that kept us from our studios. War has to be the biggest evil of all. There is no way we can escape its demand for attention. Many of my art friends have stopped working completely. I tell them do art now more than ever! Never stop. Use the war for reference material if you have to or avoid it completely and paint a serene nature scene. Don’t let it drain your energy to the point where you cannot function. Artists are needed now more than ever to hold the energy for creativity.


We are slaughtering them
James Thurston, California, USA

As one Marine said, “We are slaughtering them.” “They” are young, untrained men, mostly teenagers, driving at full speed in white Nissan pickups. Their guns are dated, rusty. “They keep on coming.”


George W Bush idealism

With all of the democratizing idealism shown by G W Bush and the current administration, there are a few problems. As warned in your previous collections of artists’ letters about the war in Iraq — this US invasion is going to take years, perhaps generations, to heal. One does not murder outgunned mother’s sons in open deserts and then expect mothers to thank you. What we are witnessing is a supreme misunderstanding of human nature. It will take wiser men to do the damage control.

(RG Note) Related reading: Artists and Iraq and Artists and politics


Lights going out
J P Switzer, USA

Democracy cannot be enforced on Iraq. Democracy has to grow and develop from within, in its own sweet time. Even with Saddam gone the country will still carry on in the same way. Guns will be put to the back of children’s heads. What a waste it has all been. What a poor demonstration of our creativity. We have been totally lacking in imagination. If we wanted more terrorism — we are now guaranteed it. Our airlines are on their knees. Foreign travel is diminished. With this error in judgment, the lights are going out all over the world.


Dream world
Gary Hartenoff

Unfortunately, most artists live in a dream world. I am sometimes embarrassed by the naivety of these, mostly uneducated, people who either choose to stick their heads in the sand or rebel because of some idiotic cause. If it were not for these wars against the oppressors, most of these artists wouldn’t be allowed to express their idealism.


Never forget
Ron Sanders

Remember, remember, September 11. One of the greatest atrocities in human history was committed against America. No, do more than remember — Never forget.


Bless them all
B Shimmel, California, USA

I was an officer’s wife during and after the 2nd world war. I weep for the Iraqis and our people losing their lives. Nothing ever reached Bush before he started this mess. Now I BLESS EVERY ONE INVOLVED, including Bush, daily, moment by moment for the safe return to sanity and Peace. It seems nothing else will work.


Covering up “Guernica”
Eleonore Esau, Canada

There could well be another “Guernica” depicting the gassed bodies of Iraqis and Kurds. To do nothing now would be to “cover up” that “Guernica.”


Foreign policy
Andrea Pratt

Why is it that when one person is killed it’s called murder and when 100,000 are killed it’s called foreign policy?


Pray for George W Bush
Helene, Canada

Spiritual Peacemakers are banding together to pray for George W Bush. I have to stress that this has nothing to do with agreeing or disagreeing with President Bush in regard to the war in Iraq. As Spiritual Peacemakers we must release our judgment and focus only on the higher good. George Bush has the power to affect the lives of so many people, and we pray that he will do so with compassion and peace. The intention of this vigil is to break down the walls of fear and increase the love in his heart. It is the gift of the children of the world. Please join us. Spend 15 minutes to send George Bush all the love you have in your heart. And tell the whole world.


Not desensitized
Mary Jean Mailloux, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

It is good to know that others whether pro or con are thinking and feeling and not desensitized to what is happening in a small country in the world. I can only read and watch a little of it. I must say I want to hear some good news. “The war is over.” In defense of a peaceful solution to ruthless dictatorships, I would like to remind people of South Africa and Apartheid. In the end sanctions worked. That is how the rest of the world helped South Africa. Yes many died in Africa, but we did not destroy the country, and Nelson Mandela, who came into power was elected by his own people.


The containment of opposites
Suzanne Northcott, Canada

I am experiencing a great sag in energy in my work even though I strongly believe that it is vital that we continue to create beautiful work right now. I am not surprised that artists polled greatly favor peace in this instance. Where this is a war born of fear, artists school themselves in courage. Where this is a war trying to separate forces into good and evil, artists school themselves in the containment of opposites.


Art doesn’t know
Glenn Morgan, Canada

A letter of yours implies that “art knows” hence “artists know.” I am not really convinced of that. To me this comes across as some sort of moral superiority because we are able to see beauty and to be creative. Possibly, it makes artists a little more sensitive in where and when they can be creative and inspired. It is worth noting that the famous scientist, Isaac Newton, was very prolific and creative during the time of the Bubonic plaque.


Wondering if I belong here
Charlene Kull, Michigan, USA

I do so enjoy your inspirational, poetic prose, but was so dismayed by the numbers you last presented on the feelings of artists about the war that I wondered if I even belong in this group of creative minds. I will read your special section later when I have time, but count me in as one who believes that the actions we take now will end up making our world safer in the end. Yes, there will be suffering and loss, but I believe that inaction would have led to even greater losses. We support this president and his great internal strength and fortitude.

P.S. My husband served as an officer in Vietnam and our third son was born while he was there. I know what it means to worry about your loved ones at war. But now, I worry about our future generations of civilians who will live in terror unless strong people stop the actions of those who will harm us — no matter what we do.
Miracle needed
Andre, France

Most nations of the world were against America’s incursion into Iraq. The warnings given to the USA were based on the understanding that maintaining peace and the stability of our world after such an invasion would be harder, not easier. The war will be won swiftly and efficiently. The peace will not be so easy to keep. It will be a miracle if things go smoothly.


Lidia Colman, Hawaii, USA

I am a survivor of WW2 from Poland. I do not like war; it represents to me a lot of pain, loss and destruction inner and outer. I thought that at age 70 I would have worked it all out emotionally but I find myself deeply affected once again. I can’t paint, somehow nothing looks ok to me and I am not able to focus for very long at the time. It took me awhile to realize what was going on with me. We have a lot to learn in this country about being more humane, more honest and less concerned with the mighty dollar .My heart goes out to all the mothers whose loved ones are being sacrificed on the battle fields. I do not understand why we have not found other ways to communicate or to fight our wars. Maybe create robot warriors to carry out missions.


Helen Channen, Canada

Subtitled: What I do, in the absence of family and friends to keep restless wrenching thoughts at bay when bombs are falling.

I recognize the rising feelings, a lonely restless helplessness.

I know I cannot afford to court depression.

I fill the kettle with well water, filtered, pure.

As it comes to the boil, I peel an orange, small, dried, past its best,

But very sweet. I save seeds to plant when snow is gone,

Indulging a foolish hope that some may sprout,

Spend a summer growing in a foreign clime.

On the deck railing a blue jay pauses, wary, watchful,

Darts down to capture a peanut, and is gone.

Finds a perch on a maple branch.

Automatically my eyes search the trees,

Find instead a rosy-breasted rosy headed finch,

Bright against dull gray wood.

The kettle sings. Hot water warms the hand-crafted teapot.

I select a tea bag. Red Rose orange pekoe brings

Echoes of childhood, tea brewing on the wood stove,

A warm kitchen, the family’s haven.

Such a distant time, filled with echoes of a different war.

Will we never learn?

The steaming mug of tea warms my face,

Brings a welcome comfort.

The strains of Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang reach my ear.


Killing for a good cause
Jim Cowan, Canada

Two thousand and three years of Christianity and we still find it acceptable to bomb and kill… as long as it’s for “A Good Cause.” Reduce the thing to the immediately personal, “I tried talking to the guy but it didn’t work… so I shot him” The fact that the world opposes this war — is that not worthy of consideration? The fact that Mr. Blair’s position as leader is very much in question in the UK. Is that not worth thinking about? Is it wrong to ask “Why?” The fact that the US is being led by arch-conservatives and that there exists a background document urging even more such wars. Does that not give pause for thought? If the world had been convinced that the over-riding motive of this was to liberate the unfortunate Iraqis from Saddam the US would have had a real coalition. One that did not require economic blackmail and insult. Obviously the world has not been so convinced. ‘Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition’ just isn’t good enough.


Force them out
Robin Lauriault, Florida, USA

At this point it is beginning to look as if Bush’s war isn’t going to work out exactly as he had planned. On the one hand, I want the war over as quickly as possible to save lives on all sides, but on the other, if Bush and his henchmen get away with attacking and occupying a sovereign nation on the flimsiest of excuses, what other nation will be next? In other words, if we have forgotten the lessons of Vietnam, maybe it’s time we relearned them. The Iraqi people presumably have no love for Saddam Hussein, but they do love their fertile crescent, and though I have no love for Bush, if foreign troops were invading Florida, I would do my damndest to force them out.


“Operation Iraqi Murder”
Anonymous, France (translation)

I will suggest that Saddam and his sons are now dead. The next cadre of his Baath party are now taking over and continuing his legacy. When they are killed or expelled yet another group will follow. Murder will have to continue right down to the last child. There are no “elite” Iraqis. They are people fighting for their land. We may consider them misguided but they will now become human bombs for themselves — sympathizers from other countries will join them and the more virulent among them will spread out over the world.


Experience in Arab world
Johnnie Liliedahl, La Porte, Texas, USA

I lived in Saudi Arabia for 13 years with my American husband. I eagerly went to that exotic country with my innocent, naive expectations that I could interface with a new culture and we could all learn something from each other. I had no preconceptions and no prejudices. I was quite the liberal. As an artist, I felt there would be no barriers between me and them, and I was open to all new experiences.

After 13 years of being (me or my friends) pelted with rocks by Saudi first graders (boys only, girls are not seen in public), caned in public by the religious police for showing elbows or ankles, my husband being arrested because I dared to bare my arms on a beach), listening five times a day to the screaming loud speakers from the mosques on every corner rant and rave “Death to Americans,” and finally the bombing of the Khobar towers where we lost so many of our young soldiers (who were there at the invitation of the Saudis, I remind you), we decided to leave. This was in 1997.

We lived among the Saudis, not in a compound. We saw more than the usual westerners saw. My illusions about the Islamic world and the barbaric behavior they are capable of sickened me (they still cut people’s hands off for stealing) and drove all toleration for their attitudes and excuses from my heart.

I challenge every do-gooder, altruistic, peace-loving, simplistic person (like I was) to live among them for 10-15 years and come away with any sense that the Islamic culture is anything but a cover for the most brutal, totalitarian, oppressive institution devised by man. Walk in my shoes for even five years in the deserts of the Middle East and you will come away forever changed.


Australia at risk

Australia is at grave risk. This should never have been our war. We would have been obliged to participate if the UN sanctioned this war for the sake of our alliance with the US, but without that we should have done a Canada and stayed out of it. Australia is an innocent abroad in the Middle East. Unlike Britain, we have never been a colonial power. Unlike the US, we have never propped up evil regimes like Saddam’s. We must get out, as soon as possible.

It’s clear we’ve been lied to by Bush and by Howard, both about this war’s purpose, and its risks. The blind arrogance of Bush and his mates is beyond belief. Bush is in the process of uniting Arab peoples around the world by turning Saddam, of all people, into a martyr for Islam. And the war on terrorism? What chance help from Indonesia, Pakistan and the rest now that their peoples are on the march.

I realized Bush was mad when his army chiefs starting calling suicide bombers and guerilla fighters “terrorists.” For God’s sake, it’s their country, and they’re facing overwhelming force! The US is INVADING Iraq, to take it over – their bodies are in some cases the only effective weapon they’ve got.

It’s so obvious that what Bush is doing will cause an arms race, not reduce it. No country can hope to beat the Yanks off with conventional weapons – they’ve got air, sea and land completely covered. The only recourse is chemical, biological and nuclear weapons (the Yanks used them in Vietnam, and have not ruled out using them in this war). It’s all there is that can deter a rampaging rogue superpower which has trashed international law and international institutions to get its own way.

And as I’ve said before, if Australia is attacked, it’s no longer terrorism. We have invaded Iraq. Iraq, or its new allies, have every right to attack back. Again, they haven’t got the weapons and systems to launch a conventional attack, so why wouldn’t they use unconventional methods? Because they would kill civilians? We’re doing that right now in Iraq.

There is no comfort at all in knowing that Bush, Blair and Howard knew exactly what risks they were taking and have no excuses. The top level intelligence leaks, the warnings from former top defence brass, the foreign affairs warnings, all were to no avail. What role did Australia play in this misconceived plan of attack? Why did Howard ignore his intelligence advice that this war would increase, not reduce, the risk of terrorism? Why did he deny that the threat to world stability posed by this conflict was far worse than Saddam – head of a third world, internationally isolated, obsessively monitored regime?


Who’s Smarter?
by Cindy Osbourne, contributed by Jane Morgan

President George W. Bush received a Bachelors Degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard. He began his career in the oil and gas business in Midland in 1975 and worked in the energy industry until 1986. He was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5 percent of the vote. In a historic re-election victory, he became the first Texas Governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms on November 3, 1998 winning 68.6 percent of the vote. In 1998 Governor Bush won 49 percent of the Hispanic vote, 27 percent of the African-American vote, 27 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of women. He won more Texas counties, 240 of 254, than any modern Republican other than Richard Nixon in 1972 and is the first Republican gubernatorial candidate to win the heavily Hispanic and Democratic border counties of El Paso, Cameron and Hidalgo. (Someone began circulating a false story about his I.Q. being lower than any other President. If you believed it, you might want to go to URBANLEGENDS.COM and see the truth.)


Little truth in the news
Warren Criswell, Benton, Arkansas, USA

Here is a letter I just sent to CNN. I sent similar messages to ABC, NBC and CBS. FOX proudly admits their role as a propaganda machine, so there’s no sense writing to them.

Walter Isaacson
CNN News President

Dear Mr. Isaacson,

You are doing your network and the American public a great disservice by reporting only what the White House and Pentagon want us to know instead of the facts as you know them. CNN used to be the most trusted source of news. No longer. The only way to get objective reporting since this administration has been in power is to rely on international news sources. Not everybody has access to Newsworld International. It’s true that many crucial stories are being uncovered by independent journalists in the American print media, but unfortunately most people are too “glued to their tubes” to notice. We never see these stories on Larry King. Why? Is it because AOL-Time Warner was one of the corporations that put Bush in power? Is money all it takes to make whores out of journalists?

We are not told by Aaron Brown, for instance, or Wolf Blitzer, that all of the evidence against Iraq, so earnestly given by Colin Powell, was fabricated, has been proven false and fully exposed in the print media. I haven’t heard one mention of the FBI investigation of the forgery of the Niger documents requested by Senator Jay Rockefeller of the Senate Intelligence Committee. No mention either of PNAC (Project for a New American Century), written a decade ago by Wolfowitz, Perle and other neo cons for Dick Cheney, which called for, among other aggressions, the invasion of Iraq and “democratization” of the Middle East for the purpose of controlling Iraqi oil, the blueprint they have now been able follow thanks to 911. Nor is there any mention of the U.S. role in putting Saddam Hussein in power in the ‘70s or how we funded and armed him in the ‘80s against Iran, while at the same time sending anti-aircraft missiles to Iran. (Maybe you remember Iran-Contra? The masterminds behind that little scheme — which like the current one cost many many innocent lives — have all been convicted and are now back in the government. They are the authors of PNAC. Hardly a mention of Perle’s resignation to prevent an investigation which would have revealed not only his illegal cashing in on the war but Cheney’s, Rummy’s and Bush’s too. What happened to investigative reporting?!) No mention either of how we assisted Saddam in acquiring biological and chemical weapons. No mention either of the President’s personal religious beliefs and close ties to fundamentalists seeking “apocalypse” in the Mideast or on his dangerously low IQ. Or of the cheerfulness with which, as governor of Texas, he executed all those prisoners — as many as they would let him — which shows that he has no compassion for anybody, certainly not Arabs. And you are NOT showing the carnage we are causing in Baghdad and elsewhere, even though every other television news service in the world IS showing it. You report that the people of Iraq are fighting back because they are afraid of Saddam, just as the government wants you to, and don’t mention the bare possibility that maybe they are fighting to defend their homes and their country against a ruthless aggressor that has been starving them for the last 10 years with sanctions. And in spite of massive antiwar demonstrations here and across the planet, you barely mention them. But you know all this — and yet you sit on it. You know, no American President is permanent, and this one is Humpty Dumpty incarnate. When he falls, you don’t want to get caught with the king’s horses.

In a democracy suppressing the truth is not patriotic. It’s not even self-serving — not for long. When it is generally known what you are doing, no one will ever trust you again. No network would dare hire you. It’s sad that no Walter Cronkite could exist in this environment of controlled news. On the other hand, if you have the balls to break free, let your reporters tell the truth, both sides … you will be the Man. Why not go for it?


Man of his word
Ron Sanders, Fort Wayne, Indiana USA

When our troops have control of Baghdad our government will re-engage the world and the United Nations for rebuilding, oversight, peacekeeping, etc. And if our government shows restraint in future pursuits of such weapons and terrorism, then perhaps the world will again see that Mr. Bush has been a man of his word, going no further than stated and taking no more than declared. And perhaps the anger will cool if the majority of Iraqis tell their tales of torture and pain and express an appreciation for the chance at self rule.

But, unfortunately, there is no way to see the future. And there is no way, once we are there, to see what a different path may have looked like. And so we can only pray that the wisest paths are chosen along the way by men and women who seek humbly to do what is best for the world so that the best good for the most people will prevail.

But no matter what happens, I believe that we are seeing a change to our world from which there is no going back. And surely the world will be a far different place 10 or 20, and most certainly 50 years from now. I can only pray, for my children’s sake, that it is a better place.


Support for troops
Mary Barnes

I believe we should support the men and women who have gone to Iraq to fight this War. No one likes conflict .. no one wants war.. no one wants to see the destruction that war causes. We may be an artist, that does not mean we are without the ability to reason the rationality of good from evil or right from wrong. We went to fight in Bosnia. Why, because the person in control was evil, inhuman and did lesser acts against his people than Saddam. So please tell me why we find it so righteous to protest this war when this man is more evil and more inhuman than the dictator of Bosnia. What part does politics play in our support of all this.. Let’s be honest with ourselves and say a lot! Madaline Albright was directly involved in the conflict in Bosnia because of her roots and heritage.. but no one questioned why we were there. So why is this different!.. We have a greater stake, and more to lose if we do not involve ourselves and take a stand against a man who provides Money, and Arms to commit terrorist acts in our country… 911… than we ever did in the fight in Bosnia!! My oh my what the press had done to rule our minds and intellect.


New channel of energies
Kelly Borsheim, Cedar Creek, Texas, USA

“Creativity implies dialogue . . . war is a failure of creativity.” We did a decent effort in trying to convince the US government to be a little more creative about this problem than the standard “let’s go kick some butt” method that history has proven to be effective for only a very limited time. Perhaps we failed because we let the emphasis be on “no war” instead of offering creative, realistic alternatives for conflict resolution (or stopping unacceptable behaviour) that were put into terms in which the world’s decision makers could relate. Now that the decision to go to war has been made and the war is well underway, there is no longer the question of whether we should or should not go. We have a different question before us now. And the answer, unfortunately, is not as simple as “back out and come home.” The peace protesters should now channel their creative energies into how to minimize damages to all of the people who are in Iraq, including the soldiers, and to ensure our leaders keep their promises in the aftermath.


Patriotic stand
Russ Williams, Austin, Texas, USA

Many people talk about how this war is necessary for our freedom. Yet there was no credible threat to us from Iraq (and our own intelligence officials complain this war is only increasing the likelihood Saddam would do something against us). They talk about liberating the Iraqi people from a harsh dictator. Yet our history shows we always install a puppet dictator who serves our short term interests instead of the “liberated” people and ends up being just as bad. (Remember, we used to support Saddam.) And lately, incredibly, a majority of US people seem to actually believe that this war is to punish Saddam for 9/11. Yet Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 (nor has Bush ever claimed he did — he just keeps mentioning the 2 together and letting people make the association.) People say this war will save us from terrorism, yet US and foreign intelligence officials agree this war is only serving to increase terrorist recruitments. People say this war will help world peace. Yet we have bullied and alienated our allies, united the middle east and Muslim world against us, and squandered the unprecedented worldwide goodwill we once had after 9/11. People say this war isn’t at all about oil. Yet several years ago Rumsfeld and others were explicitly saying we should take out Saddam to protect our oil interests.

No one disagrees that Saddam is a brutal dictator. Opposition to the war is not about supporting Saddam. It is about finding a better way than ignoring UN and world opinion (to show Saddam he can’t ignore UN and world opinion). A better way than suppressing dissent (to show Saddam he can’t suppress dissent). A better way than firebombing Baghdad with “shock and awe” tactics (to show terrorists that violence against civilians is wrong, as Powell had the gall to argue at the UN, standing in front of the covered-up Guernica) A better way than lying repeatedly about evidence to the UN and US citizens to justify the war (to show Saddam that he shouldn’t lie).

Many people seem not to realize that a key Iraqi defector whom the administration frequently quoted for key bits of evidence also testified that Iraq had destroyed its weapons of mass destruction. (As I write this 6 days into war, Iraq still hasn’t used their alleged vast arsenal of WMD against our troops.) People seem not to realize that Powell’s hyped British intelligence report was a fake, plagiarized from a student’s paper 10 years ago, or that the chemical weapons factory turned out to be an abandoned building with no plumbing, or that the Niger/uranium deal was a faked document (to which Powell blandly responded “If that’s inaccurate, fine.”) i.e., Powell basically said “Who cares what the facts are, we are attacking Iraq regardless.”

It is not patriotic to simply believe what your leaders tell you and support them no matter what. It is patriotic to question and correct your country when it’s going astray.


Time to take arms
Ron Mains, College Park, MD, USA

My wife and I are both artists and do have slightly different views on the situation in Iraq. I will not speak for her, other than to say that she is more sensitive to, and disturbed by, the human suffering this conflict is causing.

There are times when an individual or a nation must “take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them.” Saddam Hussein and his government dishonestly represented themselves to the world, particularly with respect to their intentions and capabilities for weaponry that clearly are not used to rationally defend a nation against foreign aggression. Diplomacy does not, and continually will not, work when dealing with someone who has a megalomaniacal intent to rise to absolute power over a multi-national area of the world. Many in the middle east see Saddam as a savior of the Arab people. And that is exactly how he wants to be seen by these people. What they refused to, or could not, see was that his form of salvation for them came at any cost, to anyone, Muslim or Arab or not. This is the very same man who gassed to death over 100,000 of his own people during his war with Iran. This is the same man whose government consistently arrests, ‘interrogates,’ and executes those who speak out against him, or act to undermine his control, or that he sees as a threat to his plans. Does any of this sound familiar? How about Adolf Hitler? Or maybe Idi Amin?

Sometimes it is the responsibility of strong leadership in nations to intervene in these situations, for the greater good of all on a longer-term basis. Saddam Hussein was, and presumably still is, a relatively patient man. He knows his plan takes time and cannot be enacted until all of the right elements are in their proper places. It is the obligation of the senior leadership of strong nations to recognize the signs of disruption, corruption, and virulent disease and to take actions to control, eliminate, and eradicate its causes. And it is the right and obligation of those same countries to stop a Saddam Hussein before he has all of the elements of his plan in place, rather than after. It is far too easy to plunge the world into chaos and to destroy the social and technological progress that has been made in the last several thousand years. Such destructive possibilities posed by an errant asteroid or comet are relatively clear and recognizable. The same destructive potential posed by a person or government is not always so easy to see, and is far more arguable, from both sides of the argument.

President Bush and his advisors have been consistently clear on their view of the situation in Iraq, both with respect to its potential and to Saddam Hussein’s intentions. They have also been equally clear and unequivocal in their statements as to what was required to correct the situation and eliminate the threat that Saddam and his government represented to the Middle East and the rest of the world. I support our actions in Iraq 100%. Does it take another Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, or assassination of Archduke Ferdinand to make the situation sufficiently clear for everyone to see and understand what is required? If so, how much greater will the cost be of the course corrections required? Or would it be a matter of ‘too little, too late’?

All of the people of this world deserve the opportunity to live without the fear of reprisals, purges, and pogroms. All of the people of this world deserve the right to pursue their lives for the betterment of themselves and others, so long as their actions to not deprive others of these same rights. And anyone who consistently and methodically acts in a way to destroy either these rights or those who promote them needs to be removed from power and authority. Live and let live. Be and let be. And do unto others as you would have others do unto you. And yes, if I were hell-bent on an egomaniacal path of destruction to dominate the world, I would hope that someone would intervene and take me out, if necessary.

Saddam Hussein needs to be stopped before he can destroy any more lives, in his own country or elsewhere. If the cost of stopping him now, with military action as we are currently engaged in, is measured in the loss and damage of innocent lives, it is a far, far, lower cost than we all will have to pay later if we had not intervened when we did. I hope and pray the war is brief and the loss of innocent and combatant lives is as low as possible. And I hope and pray that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein is eliminated completely and irrevocably.


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