Dear Congressional Representatives:
This letter will contain few facts. Instead it is a congealing of experiences that have percolated through my life, and admittedly, some ad hominems.
I lived through the Vietnam war. I am NOT a veteran. Instead I saw the horrors of war splashed across my family’s television set, almost every evening. There are images of the atrocity of war indelibly etched on my mind, that even the passage of several decades, have failed to erase.
No one wants war. It is NOT good for business. The cost is always bloodshed and more violence. It matters not what side. Let us examine a brief history of war in the 20th century.
From 1950-1953, the United States nearly unilaterally fought in the Korean Police Conflict. An estimated 2.5 million civilians were lost on both sides. The Police Action ended in a stalemate. The news of the day, were from newsreels.
As time progressed from the early 1950‘s, by the time we put men on the Moon at the end of the next decade, we would be fully entrenched in another unilateral expansionism: Vietnam. This was the first war that was daily brought into living rooms around the world. We did not just hear about the horrors, we saw them. Day after day. Even revered newscaster Walter Cronkite grew weary of what he saw. So did the American public. The Vietnam war sparked many protests and riots.
During this war…something changed. Something was different. We had courageous people like Dr. Martin Luther King, as a guide. The tide of prejudice and discrimination was giving birth to ideas of non-violence, and peace. For me, the birth pangs of change, had matured.
Nestled between the amazing heroism of Apollo 13, and high school graduation, is a little known event: May 4, 1970.
Exercising First Amendment Rights, the students of Kent State University in Ohio, had gathered to protest the Vietnam War’s incursion into Cambodia.
On that fateful day, Students: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Glen Miller, Sandra Lee Scheuer, and William Knox Schroeder were brutally shot to death by Ohio National Guardsmen. In just 13 seconds, they had fired 67 rounds.
The impact of this incident, coming just four weeks before my high school graduation, changed me utterly and profoundly. As I pondered the realities or war, wrestled with the meaning of life, I came to the realisation that wars solve nothing.
On that day, in that hour, I was transformed into a life of pacifism, by the sacrifice made by these individuals. During the course of the Vietnam War from 1955-1975, an estimated 1 to nearly 4 million people had died. It ended in yet, another stalemate.
Fast forward to 2003. Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq. The U.S. had actionable intelligence that Hussein had Weapons of Mass Destruction (Chemical Weapons.) They were stockpiling uranium, and they were connected to the September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre attacks. Just like Vietnam, the President, Cabinet Members, and Generals’ again lied to the American public. In the 8 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days, we unilaterally tore this country apart, what was accomplished? Over 113,000 lives were lost. For the first time, the world was able to see war in real time.
Have we learned anything? There is no such thing as a limited war. We may want to detach ourselves from the killing because someone else is pushing a button. Has the American political consciousness grown so callous, that it is granted some kind of immunity and shielding that it can not see the atrocities and ambiguity?
As a nation, the people you represent, are war weary. We are NOT the policemen of the world. Why MUST the United States act unilaterally? The unilateral military intervention into the sovereign affairs of a foreign government. How is that different from imperialism? Tell us, if you know.
When our allies say NO to war, this nation needs to STOP and reflect on its actions. There are other non-violent methods for dealing with Syria. When Russia wanted to talk with Speaker-of-the-house John Bohener and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid last week, they both refused. What harm is there in sitting at a table, and listening?
Peace is NOT the absence of war, it is the presence of trust.
I am reminded of this thought, taken from the Outer Limits Episode entitled: The Light Brigade
The greatest horror of war is the fateful transformation of our children, into heroes.