Mark Bourdon letter: Our choices in Iraq have consequences
President Bush challenged skeptical lawmakers not to prematurely condemn his plan to send 21,500 troops to Iraq and challenged lawmakers to "put up their own ideas."...
President Bush challenged skeptical lawmakers not to prematurely condemn his plan to send 21,500 troops to Iraq and challenged lawmakers to "put up their own ideas."
A recent chart published in The New York Times (Jan. 17) highlights the consequences of our choice to invade Iraq: The $200 billion annual cost of war in Iraq could instead provide universal health care for all uninsured Americans; preschool for all 3- and 4-year-old children in the United States; full implementation of the 9/11 Commission's security recommendations; full funding of cancer research; and immunizations against measles, tetanus, TB, polio, diphtheria, and whooping cough for all the world's children.
We need to call for an immediate transformation of U.S. policies from militarism to humanitarianism and open dialogue in Iraq and across the Middle East. In addition, we should immediately begin to withdraw U.S. and allied combat troops from Iraq, completing this withdrawal within the next 12 months.
But, we must not abandon the people of Iraq and escalate the civil war that is already occurring. We should use our skills and talents by providing international trainers and experts in conflict resolution and nonviolence to work with the leaders of all factions.
Without preconditions the United States should partner with the United Nations and enter into immediate discussion with all conflicting parties in the Middle East - including Iraq, Syria, Israel, and Palestine. We need to truly listen to the people living in this part of the world and assist them in finding their common ground.
The American public needs to be educated about the plight of the people in the Middle East by asking the media to provide extensive coverage of "listening sessions" in the Middle East.
And lastly, we need to honor all of our military women and men who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan by providing jobs for returning veterans, full and accessible health care, and ongoing support for those who have experienced violence while serving their country.
If we invest our war machine into a peace machine, we can be leaders in promoting peace throughout the world versus promoting anger, hatred and fear which only leads to a world of conflict and death.
These compassionate steps will help foster true security in the United States, the Middle East, and throughout the world. As a person of faith, I urge you, our leaders and representatives, to enact a policy of kindness and generosity, even to those who fear and revile us. That is the kind of world we wish to live in.