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Editor's Note: In recent weeks we have been barraged with letters weighing in on the United States' plans to attack Iraq, which as of press time, our country appears poised to do. We have not had the space to run most of these letters in our print edition, and offer many of them this week as an online Web Extra.

The supreme bully

WAR?

Why? Why now? What's the hurry? These questions have been asked many times over the last few months during the Bush Administration's build up to war with Iraq.

My wife and I just returned from a month-long trip through India. While there we interviewed Indian doctors, psychiatrists, diplomats, university professors and business people.

One of the questions many Indians asked us was why Americans are willing to go to war. We could not answer this question without distancing ourselves from the Bush administration's 'idee fixe' on Iraq, all the while feeling more and more vulnerable as Americans travelling through a safe country, but with a growing anti-American sentiment.

If the Bush administration follows through with an attack on Iraq, and without U.N. Security Council approval and/or significant allied support, Americans will not be safe travelling through much of the rest of the world, not to mention our own country, for a very long time.

We are rapidly making our mark as the supreme bully who will use its military and economic power however it pleases, whether justified or not. No matter what the outcome of a war with Iraq, we will incite more terrorism everywhere. We are in for one of the worst military, political, economic, and foreign policy disasters in U.S. history.

-- Robert McAndrews

Colorado Springs

Imperialism at work

Watching President George Bush and his henchmen hold their joint statements after the Azores Summit was a chilling moment for me, for there they were again. Behold the powers of the U.S., Britain, Spain, and Portugal holding the future of innocent people in their collective hands. I thought of the impact their resolutions would have on people living their lives oblivious to the thoughts and judgments of Western society. Wondered about the people who swear their loyalty to this "evil man" named Saddam Hussein; who cheer, chant, and hang posters for their leader in public.

This was chilling. Foreboding because the henchmen's resolve is filled with half-truths and whole misconceptions, blatant disregard even for human needs, and the predisposition of ignorant people to enslave; avaricious to colonize.

Harkened by a phenomena that reinforces faulty decision-making processes to justify then strengthen these same processes ironically, it was these same powers that unleashed commercialized human trade on the world. And though well versed on apologist claims that slavery existed in humanity before African slavery and still exists in current times, I see similarities to a transoceanic human trade conducted for greed and sheer exploitation, not much else.

No, I do not see us enslaving Iraqis or others in the Middle East, but I do see Imperialism and its subjugation at work. Don't you?

Yet, with destiny manifested long ago, where and how will it now end? What of the adage, "Every action has an equal reaction"?

-- N. Villanueva

Colorado Springs

Right into his hands

The President and his supporters have thrown up one phony argument after another about why we must attack Iraq. Remember the aluminum tubes fiasco?

The Colin Powell sideshow that turned out to be smoke and mirrors? The desperate and unavailing attempts to link Iraq to the 9/11 attack? And the latest is the dreaded unmanned drone, which turns out to be little more than a model airplane kit held together with duct tape.

Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, but the President is cynically using our justifiable anger over that event to launch a preemptive attack on a backwards nation that has not attacked us. A unilateral and unprovoked attack would cast a blot on the honor of our country and would set a disastrous precedent for our battle against terrorism. On the day that we attack Iraq the happiest man in the world will be Osama bin Laden, because George Bush will have played right into his hands.

-- James J. Amato

Woodland Park

Building democracies

At a time when international issues are at the forefront of the news, I am concerned that there has been so little coverage of a significant event -- the election of 18 judges for the International Criminal court (ICC), which the United States has yet to join. The ICC will try individuals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. While it does not have retroactive jurisdiction, it is empowered to prosecute from now on the kinds of crimes that Saddam Hussein has committed.

U.S. critics have claimed that the ICC's judges would come from countries that did not respect the rule of law and human rights, would seek politically motivated trials against Americans, and would be unqualified to handle the world's most serious criminal cases. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, all of the elected judges are from free countries and are experienced judges, ministers of justice or diplomats.

If we truly want to build democracies and the rule of law, Americans should urge the President to finally support the ICC.

-- Alice Snyder

Colorado Springs

Crusade against evil

Are not George Bush and his minions terrorizing millions of citizens of Iraq? Are they terrorizing many millions of those people living in the Middle East? Are millions of Muslims around the world terrified of Bush's messianic crusade against "evil?" (I'm pretty terrified myself of the horrors they are about to perpetrate and the havoc which will result around the world and even in this country under the auspices of the zealot John Ashcroft.) Who is the chief sponsor of terrorism in the world now?

Bush and company know full well that the United States' attack on Iraq will kill thousands, maybe tens of thousands of civilians within days of the start of war. Will this not be pre-meditated murder? Won't Bush and his co-conspirators be war criminals once the slaughter of civilians begins? No wonder they refuse to participate in the International Criminal Court.

-- Steve Flynn

Chipita Park

A chilling precursor

I heard a quote last weekend on Clay Jenkinson's Thomas Jefferson Hour, wherein he dispensed entirely with his portrayal of Jefferson, and instead offered his own commentary on the coming war against Iraq. It was new to me, and a chilling precursor of contemporary U.S. foreign policy.

Note that the whole gist is just what conservatives have been preaching all throughout that period: The principles upon which the Republic was founded are not universal, as Jefferson proposed, but are "only" OK for us, and somehow inapplicable to the rest of the world. Furthermore, we should quit "encumbering" ourselves with such silly moral baggage, and act with ruthless self-interest. Never mind how it came to be that we ended up with so much of the world's material wealth. Just protect the disparity, now that we've got it.

Jenkinson's got his facts all right, but pardon me while I puke.

-- Scott Graves

Colorado Springs

Day to think

I grew up here. I know how it is. I know better than to sign my name to a letter like this, but a few Saturdays ago, I took my nine-year-old daughter to "Thinking Day" (an annual Girl Scout event which teaches tolerance and multi-cultural awareness) instead of attending the peace rally on Academy Blvd.

Now I have such mixed feelings. Should I just ignore the pictures of tear gas in the park, the national news coverage, the folks talking about using children as shields to hide behind? Well, reluctantly, no!

You are really not getting it. I still have a right to voice my opinion without fear, don't I? Oh, and by the way -- no war please.

-- Patricia Higgins

Colorado Springs

War is not a game

Innocent Iraqi civilians are not the only ones who will suffer the horrors of war. American soldiers, who will be required to carry out the murder and destruction of an entire society by committing an act of terrorism, which will horrify their conscience during combat and in the aftermath, will suffer from the memory of their deeds for the rest of their lives.

When Baghdad is in ruins, our army will enter bombed-out neighborhoods where the blackened bodies of children lay in the streets. The murder of these children will weigh heavily on the minds and hearts of our service people. As a result of the 1991 Gulf War, more Iraqi children died than Iraqi soldiers.

The beloved sons of Iraq's civilian men and women, drafted into the army at age 18, will also be innocent victims of an unnecessary war. So will Iraq's heroes -- the police and firefighters. These good people will die trying to defend their homeland, or surrender to imprisonment by the invading forces.

War is not a game. There will be real damage done to the lives and psyches of thousands of American and Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Death, destruction, anger, hatred, sorrow, guilt. These are the results of war.

Supporting our military personnel means not allowing the Bush administration to force them to carry out an illegal and immoral aggression that will result in guilt and psychological suffering when our soldiers are faced with the dreadful result of their actions.

-- Sue Gray

Carbondale, CO

Lust for power

With each passing hour I become more and more dismayed by the headlong rush to unprovoked war with Iraq being promoted by a small group of elitist conservative zealots who surround a weak president.

It seems apparent that all calls for reasonable restraint from former allies and friends in the international community, as well as the deep reservations of at least 50 percent of American citizens, are being ignored. Even worse, Americans who love this country, and because of that love speak out against this unjust war, the first time in our history we will have attacked another sovereign nation without provocation, are summarily dismissed as "unpatriotic!"

I remember the McCarthy era and fear we have entered a much more scary scenario of suspicion, hatred and name-calling in a faulty attempt to preserve national security and pride. This is utter madness, and may well be the historic zenith of this experiment in representative government. Greed and the lust for power have proven to be the downfall of past leaders and civilizations. If our leaders cannot right the Ship of State and bring back reason and deliberation to our governmental processes, I fear we will lose this ultimate "game of chicken."

-- Charles Merritt

Colorado Springs

I believe not

I believe:

Bombing for peace is logical. The "Patriot Act" is patriotic. Good Americans don't protest, or ever question their government. The bin Laden (Saudi) oil family is not linked to the Bush oil family. One billion dollars a day in new budget deficits are OK. Preemptive war is legal by international law. We can "liberate" Iraqi civilians by launching 8,000 missiles into their cities, and shooting our incredibly radioactive plutonium laden "depleted uranium" bullets all over their country. The world's people support this slaughter, and Jesus thinks it's OK too.

Mr. President, I believe. Mr. Limbaugh, I believe. Fox News, I believe. CNN, I believe.

Nah. I don't believe, and I am confident that the corporate takeover of the reins of our nation's policies will not be tolerated. The emperor is naked ... naked .... NAKED!

-- David Singelyn

Warner Springs, Calif.

Calling Senator Campbell

On Feb. 27 KGNU radio morning news reported that Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell commented that the 100-plus phone calls and faxes (part of one million plus in total state-wide to representatives, senators and congressman) that flooded his office yesterday in protest of war on Iraq, were "insincere" because they were part of a "coordinated" effort (rather than "spontaneous").

Not only do I find his suggestion that any anti-war sentiments (be them coordinated or spontaneous) be "insincere" extremely offensive, inconsiderate and ill-founded, but I find his rational backwards and illogical.

It is not very convenient for any lay person to take time out of busy, daily schedules to call or fax state or congressional legislators (let alone write the letter to fax and identify contact numbers of legislators), and the fact that over one hundred people bothered to call/fax his office alone is testimony to just how sincere people are in opposition to war. How many other times since Campbell has been in office has his office phone lines been jammed due to incoming calls?

That so many people took the time and effort to coordinate their action, and followed through in great numbers, is testimony to sincerity, because face it, we'd all much rather be doing something else than bothering to organize anti-war protests and calling our representatives about Iraq.

But because we feel so strongly in our opposition, we have inconvenienced ourselves to call our elected leaders to encourage them to responsibly act in the interest of national security, in the interest of the international community, and towards diplomatic means of peace. How dare Campbell suggest that we are not sincere? What would it take for him to consider anti-war sentiment sincere? Civil disobedience? Acts of terror, even?

Sorry to disappoint the Senator, but we are a peaceful people seeking peaceful means to a peaceful end, acting responsibly by using the civic tool provided us to express our concerns. I was not a caller because I did not know in time about the action, but for sure, I will now call Campbell's office regularly, to responsibly communicate my sincerest demands that we seek a peaceful solution with Iraq. And I will encourage everyone I know to do the same.

-- Aubrey Fennewald

Fort Collins

Kindness is a commodity

Why do we need to go to war to fight terrorism? Our President is using the fight or flight approach. Why can't we show the Iraq people some kindness instead?

I was told a long time ago you win more friends with honey then vinegar. It's fairly obvious that their main commodity is oil. From what I've seen of their country, they don't seem to have the land that would produce the corn or grain that we have. Why can't we offer to export some commodity that they need in exchange for the oil that we need?

Maybe I'm being simple-minded but if we go to war I would think that it would give them no choice but to retaliate and use their nuclear weapons against us. Are we still little children that think the only way to get what you want is to fight for it? I think we had better review our Psychology 101.

There has to be a better way to live than to kill people to get what you want. Let the weapons inspectors do their job and try another approach. There are terrorists everywhere. But not everyone is one. I don't want to see us kill a lot of innocent people to get one group of terrorists. I guess I'm old-fashioned but I would rather kill people with kindness than bullets.

-- Iva Wolverton

Colorado Springs

Making the case

This letter is a general response to the purported significance of the recently unveiled audio recording of Osama bin Laden delivering a diatribe against the US. Colin Powell asserts that this recording somehow supports the premise that Iraq is in demonstrable collusion with Al-Qaeda operatives.

Certainly there have been arguments already put forth at the UN concerning intelligence directly linking Baghdad with aiding a known terrorist in the weeks following September 11, 2001. Assuming the Bush administration has already been successful in making the case that Baghdad directly supports Al-Qaeda activities, I am led to wonder what additional argumentative work this purportedly genuine audio recording does.

In my view, it does very little. At most, it merely shows Osama Bin Laden appealing to the religious sentiment of the Iraqi people for his own purposes. It is a shadowy recording made by a shadowy fugitive appealing to an even more shadowy audience.

The release of this recording will serve more to whip up popular American support than an equivalent popular Iraqi response. There may be very good reasons to pursue military actions in Iraq, but this mysterious recording cannot be one of them.

-- Aaron C. Arnold

Colorado Springs

Question the leadership

Ever since 9-11 there has been ridiculous rhetoric claiming that if the people don't support the nation going to war then we are un-American, un-patriotic, should leave, etc. etc.

The problem with such rhetoric is that it is short-minded, simplistic, disingenuous and flat-out arrogantly ignorant.

The issue with many of us that oppose these wars, be it with whoever the political enemy du jour may be is not a lack of support for our troops. These honorable people are our friends and families who are going into harm's way for us, and we applaud them for making that hard choice and sacrifice. They are worthy of our honor and respect, and we should (and do) give them that. We want them to do the job correctly if they have to. We love them and want them to come back safe and sound. We want our government to honor them and respect them as well by taking care of them in return for that sacrifice.

The issue is in fact with the political leaders who send them there. History has shown that wars are fought over resources and ideologies. Every side thinks they are right, and the measurement of what's right and what is not is counted by casualties. These so-called "leaders" send our family and friends into harm's way to fulfill a political purpose. When their agenda is exposed, the exposers are labeled conspiracy theorists and crackpots. Truth is foreign to these "leaders."

What this all comes down to is that the polarizing issue isn't the instrument of policy that our troops truly are. The polarizing issue is the policy itself, as set by those who have betrayed the trust we placed in them to be our leaders -- to look out for our interests first and their own second. And yet we continue to elect these betrayers?

Honor the troops. Question the leadership. Think about it instead of swallowing what is spoon-fed us.

Patriotism without skepticism is nationalism. Nationalism destroys nations and destroys civilizations.

It isn't the people. It's the policy. Bad policy gets innocent and honorable people killed, while the guilty and dishonorable get away.

-- Mike Seebeck

Midway, CO

The sad truth

To the editor:

We should all stand behind our President and this country! I am really tired of people saying, "Peace, Peace." We all want PEACE! Why don't people think about what this country would be if we didn't fight for it when the British came over, etc.

It is sad that we have wars, but this has been the way for thousands of years.

-- Roberta Decker

Via the internet

  • Readers of the Independent weigh in on the war in Iraq

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