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Military should protect freedom, not free trade

Dear Editor,

In a letter to the editor on Aug. 21, Doug Meyers stated his opinion that the Bush administration, and therefore the United States, are being wrongly criticized with regards to the administration’s `War on Terror.’ Mr. Meyers wants the discussions to be based on facts, not half-truths and lies. Well, the truth is America is no stranger to terror. We just happen to strike first so the teacher never catches us.

I have searched long and hard for the truth in the mainstream media, but the handful of corporations that own it all do a pretty good job of keeping us in the dark. (Especially the big one that sells missiles, mixers and air time!) Virtually every use of military force by the United States is labeled as a humanitarian act, simply because we did it. We tout the fact that we defeated the Nazi ring of terror, but neglect to mention that Hitler declared war on us, not the other way around.

I suppose some of these acts could be considered humanitarian if we assisted in rebuilding the country after we destroyed it, like we promised to do in Kosovo, but we don’t even do that.

I admit this is not just the Bush administration. Farming out atrocities to paramilitaries has been standard procedure for a half a century. We did it in East Timor, Honduras, Nicaragua and Colombia, just to name a few. Has the question ever been asked why our military is in Colombia to begin with? It might be the same reason that the U.S. government recently proposed to spend $98 million on military protection of an oil pipeline in Colombia.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the freedoms I have as an American. My frustration comes when Foreign Policy, Inc. loses sight of the fact that our military was intended to protect our freedoms, not our `free trade.’

Our priority seems to be to protect economic interests first and foremost, as indicated by our threat of trade sanctions in East Asia if they interfere with the sale or advertising of our sacred tobacco products. As our government aids in the pursuit of such interests, the rest of the world is losing faith in the United States as a world leader because we consistently put ourselves above international law.

And now, we turn our sights on Iraq because of the threat of weapons of mass destruction. But where was this sense of urgency in the ’80s when Hussein was using these weapons on his neighboring countries? Incidentally, these are the same countries asking us not to attack Iraq right now. I would argue that by launching an assault on Iraq, and therefore once again ignoring the opinions of the global community, we would only nurture the seed of terrorism.

Mr. Meyers, we live in an amazing country with unparalleled freedoms, but over the past few decades our intentions appear to be less than noble. We can choose to ignore these truths, but in doing so we are stealing the freedoms of other countries.

Dan Richardson

Glenwood Springs


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