Bush's crimes are not our soldiers'


The Berkshire Eagle

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


To the Editor of the Eagle:


Mr. Mason, the "fiercely proud" father (Eagle letter, May 9) whose son was not welcomed home by cheering crowds and thanked for his service in Iraq, deserves some thoughtful replies.


Perhaps Mr. Mason's son believes leaving his wife, three children, and job, and endangering his life in Iraq is the hardest thing he's ever had to do. Most of our service men and women feel similarly. Who could ever say they were wrong? It is an immense sacrifice, and they are doing it primarily for others, not themselves. There ought to be cheering when they return home, and there ought to be thanks! Their safe return is what all of us pray for.


Sadly, one reason cheering and thanks has been scarce is that the war is controversial. According to polls, about two-thirds of Americans think this is a war that should never have been fought. Many of us, me included, feel the war is:


Immoral. More than 80 percent of the world was opposed to this war from the start. Many countries most opposed were Iraq's neighbors, countries which should have felt most threatened if Iraq was really as dangerous as we were told. Bribes were paid (or threats made) to many countries in the "coalition of the willing" in order to get them to join the venture, causing the coalition to be mocked as the "coalition of the billing."


Illegal. It was declared a violation of the U.N. charter by the U.N.'s legal department, the U.N.'s secretary general and by a thousand members representing an association of legal scholars.


Unjust. The people of Iraq did not deserve the vast devastation brought upon them.


Unwise. It is a war that is making more enemies for the United States.


But the criminality of Bush and company is no reason to ignore the noble sacrifice that Mr. Mason's son and so many others have made. Mr. Mason's son and other returning service people have proved their willingness to defend our freedoms at great risk to themselves, even though that is not what they've been doing. Sadly, they've been duped and cruelly used by their criminal government.


While retaining pride in the sacrifices he made, Mr. Mason's son should keep an open mind about the motivations of his government and the merits of the invasion and occupation. A good example to follow is that set by Major General Smedley Darlington Butler.


Upon his death, Butler was the most decorated U.S. Marine in history. After retiring from military service, and realizing how he and other Americans had been fooled and controlled, he entered politics and spoke against excessive U.S. militarism in the interests of "big business." Efforts were made to discredit him, but Butler remains a hero of immense proportions to military personnel everywhere.


One famous quote of Major General Butler is this, "The Spanish-American War was a highlight of my life when I went to war at the age of 16 to defend my home in Pennsylvania against the Spaniards in Cuba." He was speaking facetiously, of course. He had come to realize that the Spanish-American War had absolutely nothing to do with defending America or America's freedoms.


If Mr. Mason's son keeps an open mind, the chances are good he will one day realize this war against Iraq, like the Spanish-American War, had absolutely nothing to do with defending America or America's freedoms. If he does come to realize that, I hope he will tell it to others. His goal at that point should be to stop history from repeating itself, over and over and over.


But Mr. Mason, and his son and family, should always feel pride in the service given. It is our government's top officials who should be ashamed.