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About that Patience, Mr. President

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Message Mary Pitt

You know, the patience you are asking the American people to provide while you continue to slog around in the quagmire called Iraq; while the "surge" creates conditions that will unite the Iraqi people. May I be so bold as to remind you that one of your campaign promises was to unite the American people? Seven years later, the United States is more divided than at any time since the infamous Civil War. And that is only problem one.

How many more of our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers do you intend to be slaughtered or totally broken in mind and body before they are allowed to come home to salvage their homes, marriages, and family relationships as they work to restore the long-neglected framework of American life? You have stated that your goal is to establish democracy in the Middle East, a laudable goal on its deceptive face, but the problem is much deeper than that.

You say that the Iraqi people want peace and perhaps they do, on a temporary basis. However, even there, your premise is fatally flawed. First, there are no "Iraqi people"! Never were and probably never will be. Their religious, cultural, and historical differences are too deep and any reconciliation will take thousands of years because they have been just as they are for that long already.

You see, history tells us that the whole area of the former Mesopotamia was populated by bands of nomadic warriors, loyal to nobody except their tribal leaders and willing and able at any time to shed the blood of anybody from any other tribe. They were eventually placed under a British "protectorate" but the Englishmen found nothing but a perpetual war on their hands and never did create anything resembling a peaceful state among them.

When England proposed to end its protectorate, the world leaders met in conference to decide what could be done with Mesopotamia as a whole. They recognized Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria as independent nations and turned Kuwait over to the governance of the sheiks. Other small nations were carved out, which left them with a large area containing the tribes which either did not fit anywhere else or whom they did not trust with independence.

Turkey did not and does not want the Kurds because they might unite with the Turkish Kurds and start a revolution in that country. They would not allow Iran to include the area because it would make Iran too large and powerful, and culture of the remaining tribes is so worrisome that they would cause trouble in any nation that might accept them.

And so, in an agreement of inspired practicality, they bundled them all together, gave them limited access to the sea, and placed them under the rule of a brutal despot under the theory that only by force could they be controlled. And it worked! While the Kurds did cause trouble for Turkey from time to time, or the Ba'athists did start a row with Iran occasionally, they were largely kept under control by their ruling tyrants. Even your father, President George H. W. Bush, put them back within their borders after they invaded Kuwait and sanctions were imposed upon them by the United Nations. This caused them great suffering but it kept them inside their assigned space and they were no threat to anybody.

Now, back to the subject of patience which, by the way, has never seemed to be your own long suit. When the conglomeration of Egyptians and Saudis flew those planes into the World Trade Center, the patient and prudent thing to do would be to allow the criminal justice system of the world to work, to track down their instigators, and to bring them to justice in the same way we did with the first group who thought they could bomb our most prominent landmark with inpunity. But you were not amenable to patience and prudence and, instead, launched an aggressive war aginst the nation of Afghanistan.

You had no patience when you, for your own reasons, decided that it was necessary to invade Iraq and those reasons changed as often as they were proven wrong. Now you tell us that our goal is to provide "peace, freedom, and democracy."  

You could have left the problem, (whatever it was), in the hands of the UN and let that body have all the patience in the world, taking all the time that was necessary to assure that the Iraqi penchant for violence was once again under control. However, then, it was yourself who had no patience. You could not wait to invade an already weakened nation of ill and half-starved people because, you said, they were a threat to us. With a hastily-assembled "coalition of the willing," with the bribed and the coerced as cover, American soldiers were diverted from Afghanistan and Al Qaida to this never-ending war in Iraq

No, Mr. President, you have exhausted our patience. This is a one-of-a-kind war, unlike any that our nation has ever seen, and we view it as a failure and a wild goose chase. You have destroyed our nation's economy and caused enormous suffering among the populace of this nation as well as that of others with your blind devotion to an endeavor which can only be compared to the folly of the numerous Crusades of the Middle Ages.

This nation is tired of your incessant war, of having our men and women taken from us and asked to fight to the death against a number of enemies who are simultaneously fighting each other. After six years of your ineptitude, profligate spending, and destruction of our national resources, when you ask for even more patience, you may find that we are fresh out.

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This writer is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own workung-class family. She spends her "Sunset Years" in writing and struggling with The (more...)
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