13 February 2003

i feel strange in my world right now. i am emerging from the haze of doubt and confusion and sorrow i have been battling with my personal convictions, if not constantly at least consistently, for the last year and a half. this feels beautiful. i feel as if an incredible weight has lifted from my shoulders.

but my realization of how beautiful this world is stands in stark contrast to the ugliness i am seeing in the political climate. i am finding myself engulfed in a haze of rhetoric and intimidation and fear. i remember the day twelve years ago when the u.s. (i suppose it was really the u.n. but it seemed like the u.s. to me at the time) attacked iraq. i was so young and thoughtless. all i knew was that my great nation, which was of course right, had done something and i must support it out of patriotism. and i wondered why my sophomore english teacher wept while she talked about it. and now i find myself dazed at the thought that we may find ourselves doing the same thing twelve years later. except this time i do not have the excuse of youth and innocence to explain my lack of understanding. i have only the cloud of hazy rhetoric with which i have been bombarded for the last six months.

i do not object on principle to the idea of a military strike in iraq. perhaps it is necessary. i do not know. but i wish i could trust the leaders of my nation to act according to fact and truth and with integrity. i cannot. i have heard too much rhetoric. how can i believe that a government leader acts with integrity when he objects to the u.n. allowing a "rogue nation" (one of the horrible members of the "axis of evil") to not comply with its decisions but is willing to act in direct opposition to the u.n.'s decisions himself? in this scenario, might makes right and there is one nation who will rule the world, either through direct or indirect means. how can i believe that president bush actually agreed with the resolution to send inspectors into iraq in order to determine if they are or are not in compliance with u.n. requirements when, a brief four months later, he is willing to throw it all away in order to disarm saddam hussein? how can i see the u.s.'s agreement to the resolution in november as anything but one step among many necessary to achieve its end objective, which is not the disarmament of saddam hussein but rather the use of force to disarm saddam hussein. we are behaving as a child who has decided it knows exactly what it wants and will get it at any cost. or worse, as an adult who knows better, when they can be rational, than to bully those weaker than they into conceding but is doing just that even though they should and do know better.

i object to war on moral grounds. but i am enough of a pragmatist to know that moral grounds will not always solve problems; war is not always avoidable. but i object strenuously to fighting a war when every honorable effort to avoid it has not been made and when the rhetoric of fear is the primary tool for arguing for said war. and no amount of mis-named pragmatism will convince me that i am wrong.

i am afraid. not of terrorists or "evil" nations or the idea of war. rather, i am afraid of the lack of honor and integrity i see at the head of this nation. i am afraid of the thick darkness that comes with the use of rhetoric as a tool rather than the truth. i am afraid of the perversity that will spring from the rhetoric of fear.

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