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One of my friends has a son who volunteered to go to war. The son’s father, a democrat, and, of course, no fan of the president, has been a decided critic of the war. In talking with him the other day, he told me that, like any other father, he loves his son very much, but believes that his son made a terrible mistake by choosing to go to war. He informed me that he had done absolutely everything in his power to dissuade his son from joining the military, but no matter what he said, his son felt that he had a patriotic duty to serve his country. As of this moment, his son is stationed in Iraq.

I have no doubt that my friend loves his son just as much as I would love my own son if he had been the one to have chosen to go to war. However, even though he prays that his son will not be injured or killed in Iraq, he in no way supports that which his son has set out to do. As far as the father is concerned, his son’s decision to carry out his orders to kill others is likely no better than if he had decided to join the Mafia in order to be a hit man!

On the other hand, for those who believe that George Walker Bush is a good Christian, no doubt a true man of God, one inspired (by God) to send troops into Iraq, it only makes sense that they would want to support the troops in Iraq. Such folks might even be inclined, through spiritual obligation, to encourage that of their own children to join up and serve the military. I mean, what more could one expect of such parents than to encourage their own children to kill in the name of God!

However, for those who do not approve of the president’s war (like that of the father alluded to earlier who believes that George Walker Bush lied to congress in order to obtain approval to send American troops into Iraq), there would be no reason for such to support the troops in Iraq. Really now, how could one support (much less respect) an arrangement in which unscrupulous military recruiters inveigle their way into high schools in order to convince high school seniors that it would be in their best interest to swap their souls for an “up front” payoff, you know what I mean, the enlistment bonus….. the “thirty pieces of silver” offered by recruiters to induce economically deprived young men and women to join the military for nothing more than a feckless opportunity to be a “stand-in trigger man” for the President of the United States, an abject mercenary grunt serving a commander in chief unwilling to send that of his own daughters into combat! No matter how you look at it, such an arrangement is a bargain with The Devil, a compact created in Hell. The military recruits the kids, and the kids allow themselves to become trained assassins assimilated into a ravaged culture of death!

Now, for just a moment, if you would, let’s suppose there was a company that, for whatever reason, engaged in an illicit activity, one that ended up harming, perhaps even killing people. Let’s also assume that more or less everyone in the organization…… from that of the CEO, the vice presidents, those in research and development, marketing and advertising, the sales staff, the accountants, all the way down to those of the office workers in the company, were reasonably aware that such activity was likely to harm, perhaps even kill, people. Let’s also assume that such led to a criminal investigation the purpose of which was to figure out who to hold responsible for such crimes; those at the very top of the organization, those in the middle, and/or those at the very bottom, the fusiliers, those directly involved in the day-to-day operations of death?

Well, as it turns out, we, the American people, the citizens of the United States, are “that company,” and as sure as George Walker Bush is our president, we, like those above, are the very people who have chosen to participate in such an illicit activity (that of having chosen to invade the country of Iraq).

Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that I ask who, in fact, should be held responsible for the ongoing destruction of a such a substantial portion of the infrastructure of Iraq, the death of half a million children during an earlier embargo, the killing of as many as 100,000 innocent Iraqis, the deaths of 2,500 American soldiers, and the horrible injury of at least 25,000. Just those at the very top (George Walker Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condelessa Rice, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the United States Congress)? Those in the middle (the under secretaries, the two star generals, the commandants, the colonels, even those of the voting public)? And what about those at the bottom of the barrel, those charged with the responsibility of pulling the trigger, you know, the grunts…… the privates, the corporals, the sergeants, the platoon leaders; the men and women on the ground who each and every day make deliberate decisions to shoot and kill people?

Ward Churchill in his most controversial book, On The Justice Of Roosting Chickens: Consequences of American Conquest and Carnage, made it rather clear that each of us, as human beings, to the extent that we have chosen to become “Little [Adolf] Eichmanns,” to the extent that we have chosen to become involved in the activities of war, should be held responsible for that of our own actions. Clearly, as mandated by that of the Nuremberg Trials, no one can ignore the immense responsibility, the immense crimes committed by those in charge; George Walker Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. And, of course, let’s not forget those of us in the middle, the 50.7 percent who, like sheep being led to the slaughter, made their way into voting booths around the country giving George Walker Bush the ill-considered opportunity to govern our country.

But then, and certainly more to the point, what about those of our own children, our kids who have been charged with the dreadful responsibility of carrying out “the day-to-day activity” of the president? You know what I mean, the men and women in uniform, the soldiers, the grunts out there on the killing fields of Iraq choosing to shoot and kill the enemy. What about them, those of our own children, the great American patriots having been freed to lay waist to the enemy? Should they be given a “free pass?” Doesn’t it seem a bit odd that we praise that of our own children when they kill the enemy? However, when the enemy does the same to us, we cry out for their death. How absolutely absurd for us to claim that our children kill in the name of God, while those of the enemy, fighting to protect what they hold to be dear, are evil doers having lost their right to live.

Jesus taught that those who love not only God and their neighbor, but as well that of their enemy have demonstrated the right to be called peacemakers, the true seekers of peace, without a doubt, the authentically genuine Children of God. Incredibly however, the very folks who seem to flatter themselves as being the “true followers” of Christ, are those most inclined to send their children off to war. How can it be that those who have apparently been taught how terribly wrong it is to kill, are the very ones so likely to ignore the egregious nature of what their own children have been called upon to do…… that of killing the enemy?

In order to justify such behavior, Americans (especially fundamentalist Christians) have found it increasingly necessary to con themselves into believing that our children are, for whatever reason, more precious than that of our enemy’s children, that we love our children more than they do, that the death of one of our children is a much greater tragedy than it would be for them to lose a child. Conceivably such reasoning (convoluted as it is) is that which has enabled us to kill their sons and daughters with such a great deal of ease. Although no doubt a rather difficult thing to do, it would be good for us to realize (regardless of what we have been told) that their children are not sand niggers, nor are they or their parents camel jockeys! Just like that of our own children, they are human beings, and in the long run it makes no difference who is killing whom…… if we are killing them, or if they are killing us, since as it turns out killing is killing, and as such it is wrong!

Being a psychologist, I am rather amazed that people fail to understand how very similar each of us, as human beings, are. We live with the pretense that we are somehow different, when in fact we are not. In reality, the only thing that stands between “us” (as Americans) and “them” (as Arabs) is the mere accident of one’s birth. Nothing more and nothing less. Believe me, if we had been born somewhere in the Middle East, we would have ended up being “the Arabs” wanting nothing more than to kill Americans. On the other hand, if they (the so-called enemy) had been born in the United States, they would have been “the Americans” wanting to kill Arabs. The point being that every single one of us has been conditioned, socialized, even brainwashed. Regardless of where we have been raised (the United States, Iraq, Iran, or Pakistan), we will end up becoming who we have been trained (essentially brainwashed) to be. One can gloat that he is an Arab while another might boast that he is an American. But regardless of our nationality, each is exactly the same in that we have each been brainwashed to the utter core of our being! As such we need to realize just how malleably servile we, as human beings, are, just how very easy it has been for each of us to have been duped into believing that “our god” (God, Allah, or Yahweh) is the “right god,” that the proverbial CEO of the universe has given us the exclusive right to determine who it is that shall live and who shall die. And all of such to no avail other than “puffing ourselves up” in order that we might believe that we, as Americans, have become the harbingers of good news, standard-bearers of the cross, emissaries from God having been sent out to save the world!

What an absolutely insane world in which we live, one that may not survive for long, unless we, as a species, regain that which we have seemingly lost, the capacity to realize that which we have in common, that which we have always shared…… the fact of our humanity.

Perhaps the day will come (but by then it may well be too late) when the world finally realizes that killing in the name of God is, and for that matter, has always been, wrong, that the future of the world, from the very beginning of time until that of the present moment, has been contingent upon a mom and dad’s rather simple willingness to remind their own children that they have but one, and only one, mandate in life….. that of following the voice of their own conscience which, has always, without exception, demanded that they, as human beings, say yes to life, and, with no apology whatsoever, no to war.






















------
G. Doug Soderstrom, Ph.D.


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Comments

The following comments are for "Why I Cannot Support the Troops in Iraq"
by dougsoderstrom

Succinct, and well-said!
It will be interesting to see what the idiot fundamentalist christians think of this!

I resent being held to such evil by self-righteous, spiritually stupid people who have thrown themselves behind something Christ Himself could never get behind.

These people have no connection to God, or they would not be so UNIFORMLY capable of doing something so grossly inane and yet globally destructive. They also would not be able to stand behind a gibbering idiot who obviously did not get himself into the presidency.

America has built itself on lies and murder, ALWAYS bulstering these with fundamentalist christian religion. This is not the first time whatsoever. This is the technique.

( Posted by: The Alienist [Member] On: March 3, 2006 )

Closer to home
Now I understand what the changes it brings to ones person-life perspective, appreciation for my personal existance, hightened interest in my personal purpose in this time...recently met friends via craigslist lost a son last november...it's been some time sinse I've experienced the sense of death so close to me...my heart aches for those who unknowingly are conditioned to support this foolish, weak, violent response. through the experience of loss, connection to those who are grieving, I am inspiried to seek Truth as defined by me-my intuition and instincts. Something tells me those in power, stolen power, do not want the majority they rule and profit from recognizing individual power, ancient knowledge, connection to our fellow suffering neighbor. Onward spiritual, intellectual and philosophical warriors.

( Posted by: satori [Member] On: March 3, 2006 )

Wrong attitude
This is a slightly unsophisticated view point.

Whilst I don't agree with the War in Iraq it is now a fact. Supporting your troops moral and piece of mind is not blind patriotism, it is a human duty.

I feel for every family who has lost a loved one, for every soldier who has lost a friend and colleague, to not support them is just as inhumane as the war itself.

You raise some good points, but by your reckoning, we should be holding the troops responsible for the Government and armed forces tactics for recruitment. That is the wrong way to look it, if I was asked to write a letter to a troop offering any support I would. Not out of any Christian duty, but because they are humans aswell.

Perhaps people at home sitting in their comfortable politicians armchairs should think about the human cost, both, mental, emotional and physical to our troops stationed in Iraq.

I won't turn my back on them simply because it is our ogvernments who have sent them there.

( Posted by: londongrey [Member] On: March 4, 2006 )

Moral Relativism
Doug - Congatulations on bringing the 'Hate America First' crowd out of the woodwork. As often as young Americans are exposed to Left Wing propaganda in schools, etc. - It's nice to hear that this young man didn't fall for your (or his father's) brand of moral relativism. Of course the fact that he volunteered and felt a strong sense of patriotic duty to serve his country is only a symtom of his 'ignorance'. Perhaps a little 'couch-time' could have cured him? I'm curious - is there ever right or wrong - good and evil in your world? When I say evil, I mean other than George W Bush.

( Posted by: cjmiller [Member] On: March 4, 2006 )

Support Troops
Doug, you sure do make Americans out to be the evil ones. I know many who are in Iraq, or have sons or daughters there, and they too would like the war to come to an end.

We've got to ask, though, if we leave there tomorrow, bring all our troops home, would the senseless suicide bombings end? If you really study the entire situation you will understand that it really is good versus evil, and I'm not talking about religious beliefs.

It is the complete desire of the radical Muslim extremists to annihilate all who do not bow to the east five times a day. Through faulty economics and "free" trade policies they have managed to amass large sums of money, and have plenty of suppliers, some in this country probably, willing to supply their terrorist activities.

I wish the Iraq situation would clear up tomorrow and all our troops could come home. I have to believe that it will happen in time. However, more than anything I wish that otherwise knowledgeable people would quit blamine all the worlds problems on President Bush, and quit with the slanted comments that Americans are foolish war mongers who run about killing innocent kids and women.

Funny, I didn't hear much from those who are so bent against the Iraq war when Janet Reno's justice department waged war on a small band of somewhat misguided men women and children in Waco, Texas. Now that was truely government perpetuated evil aimed at citizens of our own country.

( Posted by: BWOz [Member] On: March 5, 2006 )

The Alienist
Thank you very much for your suuport and appreciation of my article.

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: March 6, 2006 )

Londongrey
I care about the human beings who are in the war. I do not want any of them (neither American or Iraqi) to be hurt physically, psychologically, or to end up dead. However, I do not support their decision to deliberately "blow each others brains out!" As far as I'm concerned, THE GOVERNMENT CAN GO TO HELL! And I, nor my son, as it turns out have a responsibility to kill other people, simply because a few assholes in our government have decided to start a war so that a few military-industrialists can get rich.

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: March 6, 2006 )

CJMILLER
The next time you see Jesus..... hand him a gun and tell him George Walker Bush wants him to go over to Iraq and kill a few "sandniggers." Will you do that for me CJMILLER?

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: March 6, 2006 )

BWOZ
Inform yourself about the true history of the United States of America, something we do not get in our public schools.

From 1945 to 2003, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regims. In the process, the US bombed 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.

Your friend,
Doug

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: March 6, 2006 )

re: Inform myself
And then the US Gov'ment invented the internet and here we are...Funny in a kind of ironic way.

Doug,
It really is a free country, and you are free to live anywhere in this world that you want to. I find it pretty amazing that we don't hear of people fighting to leave this country, but many millions who have fought to get in.

Peace, take it easy, enjoy the clouds.

Your friend in writing (and understanding)
BWoz

( Posted by: BWOz [Member] On: March 6, 2006 )

Fighting to leave
We get those people who want to leave the US here in my country, Canada, where people have real freedoms that aren't under constant attack. It almost makes up for having to live in igloos.

( Posted by: Viper9 [Member] On: March 7, 2006 )

Alex..
With apologies to Doug , for coming in like this.
Alex.I am sure that governments in the US and other European countries -allied with the US- would find it absolutely reassuring that they can always count on the unstinted support of millions like you- as they send their armed forces further and further afield , to places like I-ran and Syria .

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: March 7, 2006 )

Help Me Understand
Doug - I don't quite understand your tirade. Why are you so angry? As for Jesus, I have nothing to do with Jesus. Why haven't you answered my original question? - Bewildered

( Posted by: cjmiller [Member] On: March 7, 2006 )

CJMILLER
"I'm curious - is there ever right or wrong - good and evil in your world? When I say evil, I mean other than George W Bush."

To answer your original question. Yes, there is a right and wrong in my world. Killing people is basically wrong.... Love, peace, and justice are basically right.

Also realize that: From 1945 to 2003, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regims. In the process, the US bombed 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair. IN THAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS AN ESSENTIAL CONTINUATION OF THE AFOREMENTIONED..... SUCH IS VERY WRONG.

WITH LOVE,
DOUG SODERSTROM

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: March 7, 2006 )

Self-Defense
Doug - Do you support the concept of 'self-defense'? Whether you want to apply this question to the War on terror (or the War against Islamic-Facism) is your choice; I just wonder whether or not it's ever right to defend oneself against those whom would have you dead, or whom would force a belief system on you against your will? And please don't respond with some crap about "AmeriKan" imperialism around the globe. I realize you hate your country, but is there a place you would rather claim as home?

( Posted by: cjmiller [Member] On: March 7, 2006 )

CJ
How about Canada? It's like a sane America.

( Posted by: Viper9 [Member] On: March 7, 2006 )

CJMILLER
I believe that we simply understand the world in very different ways, and that is alright as we each have the right to do such a thing. Only God (if he/she happens to exist and was willing or even able to come talk with us) would be able to make it clear as to which of the two of us has the best understanding of the world. In the meantime, why not just leave it at that: you with your understanding and me with mine. I would continue the discussion with you, however, it is my belief that such would be rather nonproductive.

In the meantime, I hope the best for you.

Doug Soderstrom

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: March 7, 2006 )

Hate America First Crowd
Doug,

I have to agree with Londongrey's sentiments about not turning our backs on these men and women in the military in order to punish them for the sins of their governments. Withdrawing our emotional support is not the answer, and it is wrong.

Many in the military have joined, as you have pointed out, because it is their only alternative out of poverty. They do what they have to do to put bread on the table. Being a soldier is their job. They have no real choices beyond Burger King, Wal-Mart, and ditch digging. It is a pack with the devil. The devil has made sure that their choices are limited through economic and social policies that leave the poor with very little but their beliefs in fundamentalism, patriotism, and duty to their country.

I'm sure you already know this, but stats indicate that fundamentalist protestant denominations include the largest population segment of the poorest & least educated people in the USA compared to all other protestant denominations.

It is hard enough on these soldiers that they are sent off to suffer war in a strange land continually facing the threat of death in order to earn a living and have a sense of pride and honor in their lives. It is wrong to turn our backs on them. These are not the daughters and sons of the rich Presidents, Senators, Congressman, politicians who create these wars.

You do make some good points, and the follow the voice of conscious is admirable, but the choice to follow that voice of conscious is mostly a middle & upper class privilege. It is not a choice within the day to day harsh realities facing most working lower classes and poor in America.

Do not get me wrong, for I want you to know that I have enjoyed your article. I believe in your total sincerity and the sincerity of what you have written. You've done a very fine job of articlulating your feelings in this article.

Now, on the other hand.....as to the Hate America First crowd , I have to agreee with CJMiller.
I believe that there good and evil in this world, and that sometimes it is necessary to fight evil. This war on terror is a fight against pure evil.

If America were run by complete pacifists, or by those Pamela Anderson " save the chickens" PETA types, either we'd all be dead or we'd all be praying to Allah by now. Is that what you want for your kids Doug, that they either choose death or live under the dictates of Islamic terrorists?

Having higher ideals isn't wrong, but being naieve enough to believe that our enemy in this war on terror holds any understanding or respect for our right as Americans to life, liberty, happiness, or our freedom of religious choices, is wishful ignorant thinking. Sometimes war is necessary to stop evil. Allowing evil to destroy the good,is in my view, wrong and anti-God.

B.Hansen

( Posted by: BHansen [Member] On: March 7, 2006 )

BHansen
I guess it all basically comes down to this:
Given my own system of values (that is hoping that I, as a human being, have the courage to live up to such) I would prefer to live a life motivated by love, compassion, justice, and the need for peace in the world, and to then die as a result of those values..... than to have to kill others in order to stay alive. And I believe that if our country adopted such a policy we, as Americans, in the long run, would be much better off.

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: March 8, 2006 )

War Is Sometimes Necessary To Fight Evil
Doug,

As I previously stated; War is sometimes necessary to fight evil.

You will most certainly "die for your values" if radical Islamic terrorists are allowed to rule and control America or anywhere else. You will be killed because they have no respect or concern for "your values", beliefs, religion, politics. Idealists and pacifists will have the same choice as everyone else; submit to radical Islamic religious rule or die!

We, as Americans, are not just defending ourselves in order to "stay alive"...we are fighting against an evil presence in this world that would see us all forced and subjected to a barbaric seventh century style rule of Islamic religious laws, including; the severing of heads, hands and limbs as a system of law and punishment...and that would be only the beginning.

Our men and women in the military are doing their job. We should support them for their sacrifice. Their job is dirty but necessary. I would never withdraw my support of our troops who are dying so that I and the rest of the world may live in a world free of terrorist treachery and control.

B.Hansen

( Posted by: BHansen [Member] On: March 9, 2006 )

Hansen
With apologies to Doug .Hansen . I must say that what you've set out , valid though it be,represents an gross oversimplification . The reality is that these guys are not 'out there' but rather deep within.It therefore boils down to how does one spot them out from amongst the millions of Muslims the West has , over the decades, welcomed into its midst with wide open arms. Well, the short answer is that, try as one might ,it is next to impossible. Nuking the 'rogue' nations out there ,however ,is not the solution.

( Posted by: RJKT [Member] On: March 9, 2006 )

BHansen
Dear BHansen:

In my opinion, the United States is every bit as evil, and likely more, than those of the Middle East. What they have done is nothing compared to our twentieth (and now twenty-first) century
move toward empire. What we are doing is perhaps not as bad as what was done in Germany or Russia, but our attempt to make the world in our own image is very evil indeed!

But there is probably no need to discuss this more as I can see that we obviously do not agree, and that is just fine as we each have the right to our own individual opinions.

The best to you.

Your friend,
Doug Soderstrom

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: March 11, 2006 )

Dougsoderstrom
Thank you. The best to you too.
Friend,
B.Hansen

( Posted by: BHansen [Member] On: March 11, 2006 )

BHansen
And the best to you, my friend.

Let's just wait a few years, and allow the future of the world to be the determiner of whose perspective ends being up a bit closer to the truth. Perhaps, as it so often turns out, each of of us may have a glimpse of "the truth."

The best to you, and I look forward to talking with you at a later time.

Your friend,
Doug Soderstrom

( Posted by: dougsoderstrom [Member] On: March 13, 2006 )





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