We should’ve brought the soldiers home

BRATTLEBORO — Let me see if I got this straight.

I thought the USA was the country that protected the little guy. I thought we were the ones that protected one country from another's aggression. Yet in the case of Iraq, we became the aggressor. We invaded and annihilated another country, killed thousands of civilians, dislocated millions, and destroyed a culture and a country's infrastructure.

We did so based on the belief that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and was planning to launch them against us, and that the country was also implicated in the attacks of 9/11. Both of these claims turned out to be false.

This conflict, according to The Washington Post on Sept. 5, has cost Americans directly or indirectly more than $3 trillion. It has led us to the brink of economic collapse and cost thousands of lives and untold suffering to both Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers.

At home, in this post 9/11 era, most of us have seen our basic freedoms and constitutional protections disappear. Wiretapping, computer tapping, search and seizures without a warrant and habeas corpus are gone. Media control and a managed public opinion have become more obvious. Homeland security is fast turning this country into a police state. Patriot Acts I and II, plus a corporately controlled government and Congress, have brought the full impact of “shock and awe” right to our doorsteps.

Now, as our economy is but a heartbeat away from a total collapse, our government is committing thousands more soldiers and billions more in military expenditures to a war effort in Afghanistan.

Come on! The Taliban controlled the government of Afghanistan from 1999 until its overthrow in 2001. It has since regrouped and is fighting a guerilla war, an insurgency against the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This is not an international terrorist organization bent on killing Americans. It is an extremely fundamental and ruthless regime, perhaps best known for its brutal treatment of women. They are a nasty group of warring, ignorant thugs; however, they are a regional phenomenon, primarily made up of members from the Pashtun tribes.  They pose no direct threat to America.

Al-Qaida was founded by Osama bin Laden and it operates an international network of sleeper cells and radical militants who are calling for a global jihad. Although there is much controversy over the definition of jihad, the western interpretation is death to Americans. This group is characterized by suicide bobmers, and it is considered to be a terrorist organization.

Consider this. If you are so full of hate that you can strap on a vest of bombs and explode yourself, there is precious little anyone can do to stop you. Additionally, if you want to plant a secret bomb on a ship, or a plane, or a subway, or poison our water, or explode a dirty bomb, killing Taliban and al-Qaida soldiers in Afghanistan is not likely to prevent these things from occurring.

Remember: When it comes to one's last breath, there should be no debate about why we are there.

Join us for a peace march on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 10 a.m. starting at the New England Youth Theatre on Flat Street in Brattleboro. Our poor soldiers ... we should have brought them home years ago.

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