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America: Land of the Free, Home of the Chickenhawks
November 25, 2003
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 our soldiers.

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 silence.

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 your voices.

John R. Cobarruvias is an active Democrat in Houston, Texas and the Vice President of Bay Area New Democrats.

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