Land of the Free, Home of the Chickenhawks
By John Cobarruvias
We recently celebrated another Veteran's Day. It was good
to see Americans, as always, honoring our Veterans by attending
parades, flying our flag, and taking time to reflect on their
sacrifice. Our Veterans have sacrificed to give us the freedom
we now enjoy and especially the freedom to question our government.
But to continue to honor our Veterans, Americans must now
have the courage to ask questions and demand answers from
our elected leaders instead of silently hiding behind the
red, white and blue.
Our men and women of the armed forces have been sent into
battle based on false pretenses, yet many Americans are hiding
behind their flags, lapel pins, and bumper stickers without
once asking why are soldiers are dying. Silently waving a
flag or displaying a "We support our Troops" sign
is no longer a sign of patriotism. It is a sign of cowardice.
After 9/11 the entire world rallied behind America. We sent
our troops into Afghanistan to bring justice to Osama bin
Laden and his terrorist network who were responsible for the
attack on the United States. Few, if any, Americans questioned
the administration. We were united as a country and we supported
But with a job unfinished in Afghanistan, attention was
directed towards Iraq. Over the next few months Americans
were led to believe Iraq had nuclear, biological, and chemical
weapons and the means to distribute their devastation on American
soil. Americans were scared with stories of "smoking guns"
in the form of mushroom clouds. The Secretary of State, Colin
Powell, waved pictures in front of the United Nations of mobile
biological weapons labs. We were told Iraq was purchasing
uranium from Niger and aluminum tubes used to enrich uranium
were recently discovered. We were convinced Iraq was an imminent
threat to America, our security, and to our Allies. Therefore
our troops were needed to wage a war on Iraq.
And they did. Thousands of Iraqi women and children were
killed or horribly injured. The cost to American taxpayers
is over $150 billion. And over 400 American soldiers have
lost their lives serving our country.
Yet months after the end of major combat operations not
one single allegation used to justify the war has been found
to be true. Iraq had no nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons,
or any weapons programs in development. The so-called mobile
biological labs were for helium production for balloons. The
uranium purchase from Niger was based upon forged documents,
detectable by a novice, but apparently not by the CIA. The
aluminum tubes were for artillery shells, not uranium enriching
centrifuges. There were no mushroom clouds. No smoking guns.
Iraq's imminent threat to our country and our Allies simply
did not exist.
The justification for war against Iraq, on every single
allegation, was a complete, 100% failure of the United States
intelligence community - and yet there is still unimaginable
We have silence from our elected officials, our media, and
from those who waved a flag, wore a lapel pin, and shipped
our soldiers out to battle with a salute and a cheer of "Bring
'em on!" There is silence from too many citizens hiding
behind the flag claiming to be a patriotic, instead of asking
hard, unpopular questions of our elected officials.
Why did we attack Iraq? Why are our soldiers dying? Why
are we not handing control of Iraq over to the United Nations?
Why have we not gained the cooperation, money, and troops
from our allies? Who in the intelligence community is responsible
for the complete, total intelligence failure leading to the
war? Who is responsible for the deaths of our soldiers? And
why are these questions not being asked by our elected leaders
of this country?
Over 400 men and women of the Armed Forces have been killed
in Iraq. They served their country with honor, not questioning
their duties as soldiers. These questions are left to those
at home who have the courage to ask questions and demand answers
while proudly flying the flag. For the rest of America, it
is time to come out from behind the flag and start raising
John R. Cobarruvias is an active Democrat in Houston, Texas
and the Vice President of Bay Area New Democrats.