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Reflecting on our world on Memorial Day

I am sad.

The world is in terrible shape these days, and we're in the middle of it. Four years ago, I never would've imagined that we would be where we are today. 2000 seems like a world away in many respects -- the United States got along with everyone else, and we were at peace. My, how things have changed. This is the most tumultuous I've seen the world during my lifetime, and it's scary.

I'm further saddened by the recent images of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison. How horrifically ironic that we rush to war to save a people from atrocity, humiliation, and torture only to commit those same acts with our own hands?

I am sad for our brave soldiers and their families. By all accounts, war is a terrible thing. Just ask McDuffie County resident and World War II veteran Ben Howell, Sr. about it.

"I know how expensive war is in terms of dollars and cents and total cost in human life. It's just not worth that," he said.

I'm sad that it was alleged two weeks ago that Ahmed Chalabi, who was thought to be a valuable source of information for the U.S. during the road to war, was instead feeding lies to the U.S. under orders from Iran.

I am saddened for those around the world who call themselves Muslim. Islam is a peaceful religion, and we should remember that all religions have their violent zealots.

It's true that terrorists don't appear to have any respect for life. But when we initiate a war for reasons that have yet to be proven valid and kill men, women and children ourselves, does that make us any better? War should never be a first option but always a last resort.

Perhaps I am saddened the most by the notion that one should always support a president, right or wrong. In this case, just what are we supporting? How can we universally support men who lead us into war but don't attend the funerals of those who have fallen?

The events that occurred on September 11, 2001 were awful, make no mistake. But I can't help but wonder what kind of message we're sending the rest of the world when we attack those who did not attack us.

I wish that things were different, but they're not. One thing is certain: we cannot keep pretending that things are going well and as planned. They're not; the entire world can see that, and we should too.

I wish I had the answers, but I don't. I wish our leaders had the answers, but they don't have them either.

The greatest asset we have as Americans is the ability to let our voices be heard. After all, that's what we're fighting for in the first place.

Web posted on Thursday, June 3, 2004

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