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Pursuit of Happiness

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Last night, I watched the local news. Some generic anchor said, "There's a question on everyone's mind about tomorrow." Yes, I was baited and stayed tuned to hear the big issue "on everyone's mind" about the day we celebrate our independence. Surely, it dealt with the ongoing slaughter in Iraq.


There was no mention of the war and its toll on our nation. Iraq Body Count has that number on its site. Today, the confirmed death count is 2,533 with five more, pending Department of Defense verification. Plus, there are thousands of troops with devastating injuries.

In an e-mail this week, my dear friend and fellow peacenik, Elaine Brower, whose son James is a Marine serving in Iraq, wrote that he had just called. Two friends in his platoon have been killed recently. She is worried sick.

So many families are.

The Declaration of Independence promotes "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," yet the decisions of our leaders belie this. Soldiers are dying for the War Machine's domination of world resources. That Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld shroud this in patriotism is a betrayal of our brave men and women who wear the uniform. Each soldier becomes a Terri Schiavo to be used as a political tool to further the agenda of the worst presidency in our history.
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Today, peace groups across the country are protesting a war that has brought nothing but grief and dishonor to America. Instead of attending picnics and displays of exploding fireworks, many of us will be fasting to honor the sacrifice of our troops and to demand and end to war. We reject the president's rhetoric that we honor the dead by "staying the course." There is no honor in an immorality perpetrated by the lies of Bush's bloodthirsty administration.

By fasting for peace, we pay tribute to the potential of our country, a possibility of hope, a promise to the rest of the world. We, the people, this collective, defining our country, must hold firmly to the ideals that can reinforce a "pursuit of happiness" that doesn't come at the expense of our values, the military, their families and friends, and countries across the globe. Then, perhaps, we will understand the true meaning of "pursuit of happiness."
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Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a (more...)

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