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Letters to the Editor

June 02, 2003

War raises a number of troubling questions


To the editor:

Many Americans understand definitions and concepts. No matter what a person's position on America's war against Iraq, perhaps we Americans can have some common ground about the English language. For example, Webster's definition of "diplomacy" is "the art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties, and agreements."

As far as I understand, the only communication that Bush and his administration had with Iraq was telling them to disarm or else. Sorry, President Bush, but ultimatums are not acts of "diplomacy." The Bush administration's diplomacy with the Prime Ministers of other countries at the United Nations came down to this - "you're either with me or against me." Sorry, but, that's not "diplomacy" either.

Then there's this term "fight for peace." Webster defines "peace" as "the absence of war." So please, give the Americans a little credit and say something like, "fight for power" or "fight for control," not "fight for peace" because you just can't do that. Now we are in the process of threatening Syria with an invasion if they don't "behave." Of course, the administration is denying that we are actually threatening war against Syria. Instead, Mr. Rumsfeld said, "they know what happened to Iraq so they know what we mean." I don't know about you, but I'm a little tired of being treated like I'm some idiot. Just tell the truth: we are giving Syria an ultimatum or else we will invade.

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I'm also concerned about mainstream media's presentation of this war. The war is being presented to us in the way that the Bush administration wants it to be seen - as a liberation. Many Iraqis and Arabs in other countries, although adamantly against Saddam Hussein, see the war, not as a "liberation," but an "invasion" of an Arab country by Bush's America. I know this because I listen to certain news stations like WPFW 89.3 FM out of Washington, D.C. that presents news that is not censored by the White House or the Pentagon or corporate business. They also allow discussion of all sides of the issues. I have also been learning from these stations information such as the approximate numbers of innocent Iraqi victims that were killed on a given day, which infrastructures we have intentionally or accidentally bombed, and what other countries around the world are saying about America's war on Iraq.

I might add that the headlines around the world are mostly anti-American. I heard a story from a news corespondent in Iraq on April 24 about the Iraqi children who are having their limbs blown off by land mines. I would like to remind the readers that President Bush refused to sign the Land Mine Treaty. It's a very dark day in our country when there is censorship of information for the purpose of creating support for an administration's foreign policies.

This brings up another concern - the concept of fighting war to prevent terrorism. I have always thought that peace is created by making friends. That's what I was taught, and that's what I have taught my children. Through our destruction of a few enemies, I wonder how many more enemies we have created. Has this war really increased our "safety" when resentment towards America keeps growing? While threatening other countries may control them, does it really create "peace" that resides in ones heart? In a democracy, information is shared, and its people are free to discuss, debate, and make decisions based on truths. People can disagree openly without threat of reprisal. It is an open system of government "by the people." We have been living with secrecy, misrepresentation, and deception under the Bush administration.

Finally, I'd like to discuss a most misunderstood concept during these troubled times. "Patriot" is defined as a "person who loves, supports, and defends his country." As surely as a supporter of a war is patriotic, can also someone who truly believes that we are making a mistake be patriotic? Can someone who opposes a war love his country, and support and defend his country by trying to prevent if from making a decision that will put America's future at risk? Patriotism is about defending one's principles rather than taking a specific position. It is what makes America great.

James Gregory

Charles Town, W.Va.




City a wreck


To the editor:

Every time I think that I'll venture to go through downtown Hagerstown I am sorry I made the effort. Unbelievable. I don't think that I have ever had the opportunity to see our town when it wasn't torn up. How many times can you dig up the same street and sidewalks? Why are they continually tearing them up? Can't someone get this mess organized?

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