Tuesday, March 31, 2009

War & Peace: Can we hope for change?

Since that fated day of September 11th,
this nation has been set on a perilous
course. Before that date we endured,
survived, and prevailed over threats
more visceral and immediate than
those we face today. But we had not
resorted to overt, unprincipled,
"preemptive aggression." We rejected
such action as immoral, unconscienable,
illegal, and beyond the pale. And then
came the "Bush Doctrine."

The Bush Doctrine is a proposal that America
has some inherent "right" to attack, invade, occupy,
or destroy any nation. This abomination betrays our
most fundamental values and beliefs. Such tyranny
flies in the face of our laws, traditions, and values.

The sad transgressions of the Bush/Cheney administration
should have been roundly rejected by the Obama administration.
Unfortunatley, this has not been the case. Barack Obama has
embraced these unconstitutional claims and seems willing to
violate extant US treaties and international law if it fits the
purposes of Robert Gates and other hangers-on.

It is time for the American people to move beyond hope to
demand real change in America. The misuse of our forces to
attack soverign nations who have not attacked us is illegal,
immoral, and does not serve this nation well. Since January,
our nation has participated in unprovoked attacks on a number
of nations. These attacks have precipitated civilian casualties,
made untenable situations worse, and sullied our reputation
and credibility.

"The New York Times reports that "The outrage over civilian
deaths swelled again over the weekend. Hundreds of angry
villagers demonstrated... after an American raid on a village
in the province on Friday night. The raid killed at least 16
villagers, including 2 women and 3 children, according to a
statement from President Hamid Karzai." ...Our attack
wasn't in self-defense; the Taliban isn't massed on our border.
They'd not been indiscriminately lobbing missiles, on a daily
basis, into Los Angeles or Chicago or Dallas. President Obama
approved the unleashing of the drones, recognizing that there
was a high probability civilians would be killed, including
women and children."

If Mr. Obama continues this extralegal behavior, our nation
will be seen as a rogue state and our current decline will
continue unabated. "Karzai warned the killing of innocent
Afghans during US military operations was "strengthening
the terrorists."
If we hope to find peace in our time, we must
establish a cabinet level department of peace, reject the
corporate enforcement tactics of the previous administration,
and demand that our leaders in congress and the White house
honor the letter and intent of constitutional and civil
law. We must rejoin our brothers and sisters as part
of a community of civlized nations who reject violence
and aggression as first resorts.

Mr. Gates has got to go. His history of abuse during eight
presidencies, has established that he is willing to lie to
congress, presidents, or the American people to advance
his personal agenda. We cannot afford such irresponsible
acts. These are tantamount to treason against the state.
The interests of the American people must trump the
interests and ambitions of corporate transnationals
who may often have little if any loyalty to this nation
or our people.

We need not suffer war. We can restore the peace.
But these goals require that we embrace the rule of
law and reject the Bush doctrine of unprincipled
aggression, in favor of a more hopeful movements
towards international peace, transnational
reconciliation, reconstruction, rebuilding, and in time...
we may find redemption for the atrocities perpetrated
in our name in recent times.

Tim Flanagan, Portland writer, teacher,
and facilitator at PeaceResource.org
Box 22, Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034


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