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An Endangered Species: Leaders of Conscience

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Message Missy Beattie
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In another speech to shore up support for his collapsing presidency, George Bush has proclaimed that if we withdraw our troops from Iraq, we will empower the insurgents and create a disaster in the Middle East. Somebody, like Laura, Mommy Dearest, or George Herbert Walker, should tell this clueless, inept juvenile delinquent and weapon of incalculable destruction that the occupation of Iraq has already achieved empowering insurgents and the disaster in the Middle East.

Simply put, a family intervention is necessary. Rumors abound that Poppy Bush is horrified by his son's policies.

Dubya, again, has declared that if we bring back our troops, the terrorists will follow them home. How stupid. The money we're spending on this war could have been used to secure our country against an attack. We have just marked the one-year anniversary of Katrina. That catastrophe and the report card with all those 'failures' for the Department of Homeland Security reveal just how vulnerable we are.

Further, a reduction of the military budget is essential if we are to find solutions to our many problems, one of which is hatred of the United States by so many all over the world. Howard Zinn in A People's History of the United States quotes a former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Robert Bowman, who had flown combat missions in Viet Nam and, later, became a Catholic bishop:

Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children...In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear.

This wisdom is unprocessed (perhaps, it's beyond his capacity) by George Bush as he struts his 'Freedom Agenda.' The truth is that Iraqis have less freedom today than they had under Saddam Hussein--except those whom we've liberated to eternity. To the tens of thousands of civilians who have been killed in this illegal invasion, Bush has delivered freedom. Their families aren't grateful though.

And, of course, there are all the Muslims who have been labeled 'Islamofascists' by this resolute but dumber-than-a-Q-Tip president. Every Bush action has inspired terrorism. Each time he comes out swinging his punches for war and opens his mouth to hurl a noun against a verb, a jihidist is born.

Working for peace is not an attempt to appease the enemy. It is conduct to end violence. When you use aerial bombardment and white phosphorous (both are acts of terrorism), killing or maiming thousands of civilians, you create a cycle of tragedy that continues its inexorable assault and can be broken only when enough people of conscience step forward and elect leaders with consciences.

That begs the question: Do we have any leaders of conscience or have they become extinct?
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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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