Am I still An Unpatriotic
June 13, 2003
By Ed Hanratty
When I spoke against the threat of war, that's what you called me. You told me I had forgotten about the tragic events of September 11th. You told me I was encouraging another attack. You told me I was sympathizing with terrorists. But you never proved a link between Iraq and September 11th. In fact, the only concrete link you've ever proven was the money trail from the Saudi Royal Family to Al Qaeda. But it's okay, if the President chooses to ignore the Saudi's culpability, good little Americans should lockstep behind him.
Forget about the fact that detained Al Qaeda operatives claim that Saddam and Osama Bin Forgotten detested each other and refused to cooperate. Forget about the fact that the only people happier about the collapse of Saddam's regime than Halliburton, were the Shi'ite fundamentalists inside Iraq, demanding a Taliban/Iranian theocratic state in the new "liberated" Iraq. You told me I was a terrorist, because you listen to the message coming down from the top: You're With us or Against us. You fail to see the danger of having a "leader" who thinks in such strict black and white terms. Even a child can see that the world is made up of gray areas. Sure, we know the basic fundamentals of Right and Wrong. Stealing is wrong, Charity is Right. Murder is Wrong, Compassion is Right.
But you can see the danger now, can't you? It's in Tel Aviv. It's in Gaza City. It's in Bagram, and Kandahar, and Kabul, and Basra, and Fallujah, and Baghdad, and Tikrit. It's in Casablanca and Riyadh.
It's in Detroit and Chicago and Los Angeles and Houston and Montgomery and Little Rock and Newark - where our schools are failing miserably and our public servants are losing jobs. Why? Because of "No Child Left Behind" and "Homeland Security", ideas in principle that may have some merit, but ideas that provide strict spending standards and no money to back it up. Where is the money? Haven't you read? Tax cuts for the rich: the Alka-Seltzer of the Republican Party. Take two and call me in the morning. And the money's in Iraq. And the money's in Doha and Afghanistan. And the money's buying off barely industrialized nations to say "I do" at our altar of infamy.
Am I still an Unpatriotic Traitor?
That's what you called me when I said let the inspections play out, let them continue. But no, you said "enough was enough". You told me Saddam was building this apocalyptic arsenal. He had VX and Sarin and Anthrax and Mustard Gas and Salmonella and The Cooties. You told me was capable of launching a biological attack at the drop of a hat. You told me he presented a clear and imminent threat to my security. You told me to gift-wrap my house in Saran-wrap and Duct Tape.
You told me we'd march right into Baghdad and find all of these horrible weapons. And you told me that they'd have inscriptions written in French, and German, and Russian, and Chinese, and maybe even Mexican - because hey, they were "against us too". You told me the evidence was overwhelming. You told me a graphic drawing of an 18 wheeler was overwhelming proof that we were facing the biggest threat to mankind since the Empire began construction of the Second Death-Star. You called Chief UN Weapons Inspector Hans Blix an insignificant crybaby when he disagreed with you. You told me that France and Germany and Russia were the "Axis of Weasels", and it was spread throughout all of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
But we haven't found the weapons yet, have we? We've been looking pretty hard. And we're hearing the rhetoric coming out from every nook and cranny of the Bush Administration. We're hearing it from the Ministry of War in Arlington and we're hearing it from the Ministry of Information on FOX News. We're told that Saddam may have buried them. We're told that he may have destroyed them on the eve of the attack (which would have made this conflict even more illegal than it was to begin with). We're told that they were smuggled out to Syria, or Iran, or shipped directly to Bin Forgotten.
We're speculating as to every possible place that these magical mythical "Weapons of Mass Destruction" could be. But ask Tony Blair, the public's beginning to speculate too. They're speculating that they just might not have ever existed in the first place. What an odd and unconventional thought! Could it be that Blix and France and Russia and 80% of the world's population was right in the first place - that Hussein wasn't an imminent threat to begin with? That maybe he didn't have these super-weapons? That maybe he wasn't hell-bent on world domination? That maybe he wasn't the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, the correlation your pResident tried to make while standing on the sacred soil of Auschwitz?
Am I still an Unpatriotic Traitor?
That's what you called me when I marched with a quarter of a million others in February. You told me I didn't support the troops. You told me that I was undermining their confidence. You told me that I, along with Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore, Martin Sheen and the Dixie Chicks, were subversives aiding and abetting Saddam Hussein. You told me that I was a "coward", even though most of you never served. You ran off a plethora of straight-from-the-bumper-sticker slogans to me: Freedom Isn't Free; These Colors Don't Run; Love it or Leave It; Love Your Freedom - Thank a Vet; God Bless America; We Will Never Forget.
You had Neandercon attack dogs like Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and that Q-tip known as Ann Coulter making their rounds on the air and in print, launching an attack campaign against dissent that would have made Joe McCarthy proud. You painted everyone who showed up to say Not this War, Not this Time as a hippie-pot head-criminal-communist that hasn't showered in weeks. Even though the demonstrators looked just like Savage, and Hannity and Culter, well, maybe not as anorexic. They were doctors. They were lawyers. They were grandmothers. They were clergy. They were Republicans. They were children. They were teachers. They were firefighters. They were students. They were stockbrokers. They were immigrants. They were athletes. They were you and I.
Somehow I didn't support troops. But do you want to know what's ironic? If you had listened to me, the teachers, the clergy, and Tim Robbins - we'd still have 183 (as of 6/12/03) brave, young Americans spending Christmas with their families this December. One hundred and eighty three. Sure, you'll build them some statues, dedicated some parks, and wear some yellow ribbons. But in the end, that's 183 families that now won't be able to celebrate long, healthy and prosperous lives with their sons, daughters, grandchildren, parents, cousins, aunts or uncles. No graduations, Bar Mitzvahs, Bat Mitzvahs, Confirmations, Engagements, Weddings or Promotions. All you're allowing them is a flag on a casket and some depressing pomp and circumstance. 183 might not sound like a lot to you. It may seem insignificant. But the next time you lose somebody close to you, look around at the service. See how many people were affected by that death. Then multiply that by 183.
Am I still an Unpatriotic Traitor?
That's what you called me when you discovered the Mass Graves. You told me this is what I was supporting. You told me we stopped the greatest genocidal maniac since Hitler. Can you define "Genocide"? I didn't think so. You told me Saddam was a monster that needed to be dealt with. I say with all due respect, I can smell the stagnant stench of hypocrisy before you even open your mouth. Let's think for one minute.
When the towers fell, you threw eggs at Mosques in Texas, Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, Michigan, California and in many other places. You're palms sweat when you see an Arabic man in an airport. You've said within the past two years "Camel Jockey" or "Towelhead" or "Sandnigger". You care about Islamic peoples about as much as I care about the role that Windex plays in our everyday lives.
And how many bodies, how many lives does it take to fill a "mass grave"? Would the roughly seven thousand civilians killed in Afghanistan and Iraq fill a mass grave? Would they fill 70 mass graves? How many bodies does it take? We've more than doubled the death toll of the 9-11 attacks. Was that the point? Does that quench your thirst? Do you, like me, find it ironic that we're uncovering mass graves in Iraq at the same time that we're filling them?
You're the one that told me that Iraq was married to Al Qaeda, responsible for the 9-11 attacks - and they were not. You're the one that told me that Iraq had this awesome stockpile of chemical and biological weapons. They didn't. You found and empty truck. You're the one that told me I didn't support the troops, while you're beliefs and your line of thinking deprived almost 200 families of their loved ones. You're the one who out of one side of your mouth cursed the people of the Middle East, and out of the other side cried alligator tears about mass graves. Meanwhile, the US military campaign was piling up enough civilian casualties to fill Radio City Music Hall one and half times over.
You're the one who subscribes to this dogma that America stands for aggression, America doesn't believe in diplomacy, America can go ahead and wage war whenever it wants with little of no justification. This isn't what this great nation was founded upon. This isn't what the founding fathers had in mind. This isn't what brave men and women have fought and died to protect in Concord, Lexington, New Orleans, Gettysburg, Bull Run, the Western Front, Iwo Jima, Normandy, Chosin, or Saigon. Why, I just might think that you might be an Unpatriotic Traitor.
Contact Ed Hanratty at firstname.lastname@example.org