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Morality for Morons

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Message Peggy McCann
I have to admit to being awfully confused by our government's attitudes most of the time. My husband always calls me a wide-eyed and open-mouthed simpleton, and it appears it's not just affectionate teasing. Humorist Spaulding Grey once said that someone told him that morality wasn't a movable feast but he that got dizzy because he saw it moving all the time. I can't think of a sentiment that I agree more with, especially considering this current administration.

For instance, let's take the current crisis in the Middle East. John Bolton, our fashion forward (Seriously, that two tone hair and mustache thing he's got going?Absolutely Fab.) representative to the U. N. came out and said there is no moral equivalency of Lebanese civilian deaths, and Israeli civilian deaths.

Don't misunderstand me. I think there was zero excuse for Hezbollah to kidnap two Israeli soldiers and then fire rockets at towns in Israel killing many innocent people. None. End of story. Furthermore, Israel's response was way past predictable. These thugs didn't even care about the many Lebanese that were unquestionably going to die.

But at the risk of angering some, I also find no excuse to bomb the hell out of a country where 80 percent of the population has not only done nothing to you, but doesn't even support Hezbollah. Over 200 people have been killed now in Lebanon. Their economy and infrastructure, which was just starting to recover from the awful violence of the past, is back at the starting point.

I can understand wanting to deal with Hezbollah. They are a threat to the security of Israel. I can even see using this incident as an excuse to clean them out. But you then go into Lebanon with ground troops and go get them. Air campaigns always cause the most innocent death, generally with the least results. Oh and here's a thought, instead of alienating the rest of the Lebanese population, why didn't you bolster the powerless Lebanese government and help them to force Hezbollah to disarm. Of course that should have happened a long time ago. It's way too late for that now.

I wish I could say that this whole mess is not the Bush administration's fault but I think it partially is. They ignored the situation beyond a few statements of Palestinians bad, Israel good. They abandoned any pretense of being an honest broker. Their response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has been mindbogglingly inept. The White House's major policy initiative for dealing with the problem, the war in Iraq, has fallen into pieces. You heard things like the road to peace in the Middle East ran through Baghdad. Any simpleton knew that was pure idiocy. Simpletons like me I guess.

The way the Bush administration looks at this issue is hardly an exception. From Afghanistan to Iraq, they think everything is worth the sacrifice as long as they themselves don't have to pay the price, whether it's civilians or our troops. I recently heard a former assistant Deputy Secretary of State say that "we" have to risk being willing to go into North Korea to get rid of their missiles. All I could do is picture the South Koreans saying "what's this "we" thing white boy?".

Someday our country is going to have to learn what the costs of war and our policies are throughout the world. Death is death. Stop using that deplorable term, "collateral damage". They are people, and they are dead. They are little children, mothers, fathers, brothers, grandparents. Like, for instance, the civilians in Lebanon who are no less dead than the people that have been killed by rockets in Israel. Or the civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan. Europeans, for instance, are awfully slow to go to war, and some say that it is because they are weak. I doubt it. I think it's because they have learned what awful prices there are to pay. I just hope we don't have to learn that lesson the same hard way.
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Peggy McCann is a mother and writer living in Greensboro, NC.
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