You have asked us to "be patient" with the war in Iraq. Be patient for what? What are we supposedly waiting for? Is some sort of unconditional surrender coming? Is the tide of the war going to change, can we expect that no more US soldiers will be killed or wounded? Will the death of innocent Iraqi's end? Will we soon help them rebuild and restore their country? After 4 years of fighting, over 3,200 US soldiers killed, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths, a ruined Iraqi economy and infrastructure, will waiting for more of the same make it better?
Sorry Mr. President we are out of patience, out of patience with you and out of patience with your war. We are tired of listening to the lies about the progress being made in Iraq, the "troop surge" that is supposedly working and the ridiculous efforts to connect your war in Iraq to Al Qaeda, terrorism and September 11.
We are out of patience with your efforts to label anyone who opposes this war as unpatriotic or somehow non-supportive of those Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. We support them so much, we want them home.
We are out of patience with the burden this war has placed on the troops, their families and their communities. The money you have squandered in the destruction of Iraq has been wasted completely and totally. Not only has it killed tens of thousands of Iraqi's and destroyed their economy, but thousands of Americans are dead or wounded, their lives forever shattered. So much good could have come from that wasted money had it been used to rebuild our infrastructure, and that of the countries you seem so happy to "bomb into the stone age".
While you say you don't read the polls, someone in the White House does. You know the Iraqi's want us out, we were not "greeted as liberators". You know the majority of Americans want us out, not only from the November elections but from the ongoing protests you try to ignore. Apparently you don't care; you don't care what anyone thinks, what anyone feels other than you and your circle of self proclaimed patriots who, it seems, never met a war you didn't like as long as someone else was willing to fight it for you.
Your plea for patience, which came after days of nationwide marches and protests, tells us perhaps you are feeling the heat, perhaps you sense, like Richard Nixon before you, that you can only lie and ignore the will of the people so long. Get used to the heat, get used to the dissent, it will not soon go away.
The 30,000 to 50,000 who assembled to march to the Pentagon on March 17th would have been hard for you to ignore. Your faithful were there too, and judging from their hostility, the spitting, the verbal assaults and crude gestures, I could only assume that Rolling Thunder, the "counter protesters" who lined the march route, must have taken their name in reverence to the 1965 to '68 carpet bombing (code named Operation Rolling Thunder) of North Vietnam. Fitting, violence encourages more violence.
While their hostility seemed especially focused on the women, children and veterans in the march, violence is violence, and we marched to end it. It seems strange that those who say they fought to protect the right of free speech and assembly are so offended when those rights are exercised. Either you're with us or your against us, the mantra of the aggressor.
The veterans, who know the true cost of war, marched to bring the troops home now, war is easy to start but hard to stop.
Gold Star Families who because of their personal loss marched that other families will never have to share their pain.
Knowing that a disproportionate percentage of the military comes from rural areas, Farms Not Arms marched to end the war and help veterans "beat their swords into plowshares" and bring farmers back to the land.
Students, Raging Grannies, Code Pink, church groups and Labor Unions all for their own reasons marched for those who have died, both civilian and military, that those deaths might help focus our efforts for peace.
We are out of patience, we are tired of your senseless war. It is time to turn protest into resistance.
Jim Goodman is a farmer from Wonewoc WI