2007-04-06 / Columnists

The Progressive

Commentary By John Paul Culotta

Unity And Division

"In things essential, unity; in things unessential, liberty;

In all things, love" -Augustine of Hippo

After the midterm congressional elections, most Republican commentators were saying the Democrats would use their new majority status to hold witch-hunts regarding the Bush administration's handling of security and the war in Iraq.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was fond of speaking about the power of subpoena. Right wing radio commentators were implying any investigation regarding the conduct of the war would undermine our courageous troops, give solace to our nation's enemies, and would be partisan in nature. Our leaders need to understand the public's need to understand our involvement in the Middle East and the ramifications our policy is having on the American public.

It is a correct and responsible activity for the leaders of Congress to question the action of this administration regarding security and the use of the military for purposes that are not related to the security of this nation. Our military should never be sent in harm's way for reasons that are not essential. We all understand that military force is often necessary for the survival of a nation. Since September 11, 2001, we are all concerned about the acts of international Islamic terrorists. Our nation was brutally attacked by young men who were willing to sacrifice their lives to accomplish horrific acts of mass murders. They were well educated and came from families that were well off economically.

Our nation already investigated the September 11 attacks. The commission set up to investigate the attacks submitted a report and made recommendations. It is now imperative to investigate the reasons for our military invasion of Iraq, the changes that the Patriot Act has had on our civil and political liberties, the corruption in the issuing of contracts for corporations that helped our military at the time of invasion and occupation of Iraq, the use of torture, the administration of justice in the nation, and the disregard of the Geneva conventions.

It is not self evident that our military involvement in Iraq has made this nation safer. There is considerable evidence that the military invasion and occupation has damaged our reputation abroad and given recruits to extreme Islamic terrorist groups. Our value system is seriously questioned here and abroad.

Leaders cannot use our military as background photo opportunities. Support for the troops should not mean an escalation and more deaths and causalities for policies that failed. This is immoral. We must also consider the deaths of innocents in Iraq. There is considerable evidence most Iraqis wish to see the backs of the occupying forces.

Our nation is united. We all want a secure nation. Support for our troops entails sacrifice for all of us. We would be willing to sacrifice through increased taxation and a draft if the situation called for this type of sacrifice. It is not essential for national security to occupy a nation, set up a constitution for the occupied people, and for this nation to decide how foreign corporations will use the resources of that nation. My family has not been asked to sacrifice. In my opinion the least fortunate among us have been used as cannon fodder.

Are we willing to have history write this as our response to the attacks of September 11?

Do we need all the provisions of the Patriot Act?

We must question the foreign policy of this administration. We will be united when our national existence is at risk. We must question and demand our liberties when we are not at risk. Our justice system must not become a partisan machine's play toy. We should always love. Our national security demands love for all the victims of war and terror (American and foreign).

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