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Everything to Lose

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Message Missy Beattie
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Neo-cons would have us believe that only they can protect us against terrorists. They have played their cards well with Professional-Poker-Tour expertise in the run-up to every election since this murky "war on terror" began when George Bush spoke, post 9/11, and said, "Either you are with us, or you are against us."

Now, with the defeat of neo-con Joe Lieberman, rightwing pundits and politicos are nervous and we all know what that means. TERROR!! Fear-mongers and warmongers are shuffling the deck and talking terror, hoping they can persuade frightened Americans that a vote for an antiwar candidate is a victory for terrorists.

So for the gazillionth time, we (about half the U.S. population) who know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have to remind the other half that the invasion of Iraq has caused more people to be against us rather than with us. Further, we (about half the U.S. population) must educate the other half that Saddam Hussein had no link to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. The neo-cons don't want the other half to learn; they need this portion of people with heads buried in sand to remain blind and deaf to reality.

So what will the breaking news story-"Transatlantic airliner terrorist plot foiled in the UK"-do to America's fragile psyche? That depends on the credibility of the Bush Administration.

Obviously, the president's post-911 rhetoric has accomplished little: "...whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done." I'm sure bin Laden is still chuckling over this one. Egad!! I have just watched George struggle through his statement that the thwarted plot "is a reminder that we are at war," that this is about our "freedoms," "that we're still not completely safe," and that "there are people who want to harm us for what we believe in." I'm wondering if his "what we believe in" is "freedom," again, or those policies that rape our planet, destroying the livelihood and hope of people whose countries we manipulate.

I suppose all those ultraconservatives who support George Bush will be saying "foiled," giving the president credit where none is due. Republicans will emphasize their vigilance in the war on terrorism as if they corner the market on caution. Democrats will defend themselves against the charge that they are soft. It is, after all, an election year. Truth is that the blame falls with a thunderous thud on our foreign policy, but we will hear nothing of this from leaders or our failed mainstream media. Nor will we hear talk of examining this policy that gives rise to terrorism.

Cancer specialists aren't concerned merely with excising tumors. They're working in labs to investigate what causes those cells to suddenly multiply uncontrollably and metastasize to invade the body. This is what we should be demanding of our government in this war against terrorism. We have seen that excising al-Zarqawi has done nothing to quell sectarian violence-the civil war in which coalition troops and Iraqis are dying daily in Iraq.

How does a child grow up to become a terrorist? What makes someone strap on a bomb or board a plane with box cutters, take over the cabin, and fly into a building, committing suicide, killing passengers and crew, and thousands on the ground? September 11, 2001 was an opportunity for us to investigate this-to gather the facts and ask the question: Why are we hated? The answer is not that "they are jealous of our freedoms."

We are hated because we either place sanctions on countries-sanctions which kill thousands upon thousands of children-or we invade and occupy countries, killing thousands upon thousands of children in barbaric acts to claim resources as our own. Because we are filled with greed. Because we Americans have a love affair with our automobiles. Because we think that might makes right. Because, as Americans, we believe that our needs are more important than anyone else's.

We can look this truth in the eye and demand an end to our Middle East intrusion, the making of a "New Middle East" in the words of Dr. FrankenRice. This is imperative if we are to preserve our humanity and our civil liberties. Or we can allow our leaders to continue a foreign policy that causes a wretched existence for those we exploit and serves not only to inspire terrorists but, also, ensures a permanent climate of fear here at home.

Thus, almost five years after 9/11, we have brought no one to justice as George Bush promised. Instead, we have invaded a country that had nothing to do with that day. We've lost almost 2,600 U.S. troops and we've killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. For no reason. We've squandered the goodwill of so many people in other countries who cried with us when the Twin Towers collapsed, the Pentagon was struck, and Flight 93 went down in a Pennsylvania field. Our losses have been enormous.

Tragically, because of our inept government and the lies of George Bush, our gains have been zilch, nada, nothing.
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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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