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Go Back To Start, Do Not Collect $25 Billion, America Loses War
By Jerri Ann Lewis
Edited by Megan Maloy

Over three thousand innocent American lives were lost on September 11, 2001 due to terrorist attacks. In defense of our great nation President Bush, listing the attacks and a few other reasons, offered a solution; declare war. The battles raged and an American victory seemed evident. However, the war is far from over. It has not only harmed and killed many brave soldiers defending what they were led to believe a necessary battle to the existence of freedom, but it has also harmed and killed many innocents, both American and Iraqi. What was once thought to be a reasonable justification in a time of fear and anger, has now proven to be an inadequate pretext.

The recent revolting acts of humiliation and violence on both sides make it clear that this war is now just beginning. The mental and physical abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war by American and British soldiers is apparent in the current publicized photographs and statements of released prisoners. The abuse shown in the recent photographs violates numerous rules of the Geneva Convention. The Relative to Treatment of Prisoners of War section states: "...No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."1 This is only one example of numerous violations. Deceptions and disregard of the rules that our government took part in creating placed our military, as well as our entire country, in danger. We, as a united nation, should band together to bring about immediate change. Americans should request the U.S. Senate to intercede by insuring that:

  • All photos and transcripts are released to the public since it is our right to know and it is not a matter of national security.
  • All prisons are investigated by either U.N. or other totally independent civil rights groups.
  • All U.S. and foreign prison or holding policies are reset to the standards established in the Geneva Convention.

Further, Congress should be asked to rescind the "Patriot Act" and sanction our Commander and Chief to be absolutely certain that such offenses to humanity are immediately halted. Not only have these prisoners had to endure these exploitations, but the majority of them have been falsely imprisoned. Estimates given by military intelligence officers to the Red Cross states "...70 percent to 90 percent of "the persons deprived of their liberty in Iraq had been arrested by mistake." The appalling approximation was further compounded by the idea of only around 600 Iraqis submitted to Iraqi authorities out of the 43,000 that have been captured and held during the entire occupation.2 Our present government established the laws that got us into this mess; they must now take full responsibility for what has occurred under their watch.

The Bush Administration has said they believe in good "Christian values". However, reports, some documented over a year ago, suggest they turned a blind eye and ignored reports by organizations of the humiliation and violence that was occurring These events should serve as a wake-up call to Americans that such human injustices do not occur and go unchecked for months on end. Clearly this led the offending soldiers to believe that their behavior towards the Iraqi prisoners was acceptable. Nonetheless, the fault ultimately falls upon the top of the Chain of Command for the crimes committed. The primary guilty parties are Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld and Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush Their crime? For taking no action against these atrocious crimes against humanity. Thus, one question comes to mind. Can the secretary of defense, who makes no effort to follow global laws, be doing a "superb job" in "courageously leading our nation in the war against terror"?3 If the president defends the actions, or the "lack of" actions by the secretary of defense, Americans must realize that the countless lies and cover-ups have gone far enough. If America, as a whole, is judged and condemned by the actions of a few, then we deserve to be represented suitably, by a government that is considered honorable and just.

If the recent beheading of an American citizen in Iraq turns out to be retaliation due to all of the atrocities that have occurred under the Bush Administration, we have been forced back to "square one" of ending the intense hatred felt for America. This is obviously the case with the proclamation read by the killers on the video stating, "So we tell you that the dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls. You will not receive anything from us but coffins after coffins ..... slaughtered in this way."4 As a nation if we cannot rise to the occasion, as Americans rose to help families from 9/11, then we will see these horrible acts of terrorism continue. Hopefully future politicians can lead our nation in a positive direction in time to overcome these setbacks.

Also, at this time we should be weary of a president that holds his hand out again for more money. That is $25 billion to be exact. This "contingency reserve fund" is supposedly deemed for the military and other costs within both countries. These additional finances puts the tally of the possible cost of this war at about $200 billion, a staggering amount considered nothing significant has been accomplished thus far.5 Consequently, not only has our military paid the ultimate price with their lives, but American taxpayers have paid the price with the American deficit. The deficit is now in the stratosphere by which has never been seen before, all taking place in one four-year term of office.

In closing, perhaps we should ponder the words of the late President John F. Kennedy, "I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other incidents. ..... This is not a sectional issue. Nor is this a partisan issue. This is not even a legal or legislative issue. ..... We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures and as clear as the American Constitution."6 America may be on the path to losing the fight against terrorism. If America is to remain the leader of the free world it cannot be ruled by an administration that lacks integrity and is unable to show other countries that the United States governs and treats people the same way we would want to be treated. If American morality becomes the reason, perchance we need a president with morals who abides by the Golden Rule.

1 Geneva Convention III, Relative to Treatment of Prisoners of War, Part III, Article 17.
2 Rajiv Chandrasekaran and Scott Wilson "Mistreatment Of Detainees Went Beyond Guards' Abuse," Washington Post, May 10 2004
3 AFP "US forces clash with Shiite militiamen in Iraq as prison abuse scandal festers," Yahoo News, May 10, 2004
4 Louis Meixler "Video Shows Beheading of American in Iraq," Associated Press, May 11, 2004
5 William Neikirk "Bush asks for $25 billion more," Chicago Tribune, May 6, 2004
6 Richard Reeves, "The Moral Crisis in Iraq," Express, Yahoo News, May 7, 2004

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