A letter I sent to a distant relative in reply to a forwarded email which has been making the rounds of “read this” documents. The document in question is regarding a speech made by Naval Captain Ouimette and his comments on the war on terrorism. I believe there are a lot of people who forward the article who do not read it well nor do they stop to think if it has any meaningful solutions to terrorism.
The original article follows my response to my relative…
I know you were stirred by what Captain Ouimette has to say. I have read this piece several times as it has gone around and around the Internet.
I would beg Captain Ouimette, you and your friends to please read two books and one article. That should not be more than a couple of week’s work, not too difficult for a retired school teacher huh? I believe we all need to read more than an impassioned speech by a Navy Captain to be informed. We all need to understand our history better so we can put these violent current events into proper perspective.
George Santayana told us that: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
‘Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense, Scribner’s, 1905, page 284
First is an article by a distinguished journalist at Newsweek: “The Politics of Rage: Why Do They Hate Us?” by Fareed Zakaria.
Next are two books by Stephen Kinzer:
“Overthrow : America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq”
“All the Shah’s Men : An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror”
Kinzer is a responsible journalist who documents his sources very, very well. In “Overthrow” he gives great detail to the many countries the United States has overthrown starting with Hawaii in 1893 and ending with Iraq. After reading this book I have to ask is it any wonder that most countries of the world fear the United States when its foreign policy for over 100 years has been “regime change” to suit its economic interests?
In his book about Iran, Kinzer lays a direct line from the 1953 CIA overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh to the horrors of September 11. Kinzer states: “it’s not far-fetched to draw a line from the attacks of September 11 to Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979 to the Mossadegh affair, which restored the shah’s power…” (Middle East Quarterly)
“We have met the enemy and he is us.” Walt Kelly said in his famous Pogo Comics, truer words are not often spoken.
After you read the online document and the two books THEN please, please, tell me who bears the greatest responsibility for 9/11? After you read the book on Iran, tell me please, would the US have been better off if it had become friends to Iran? Harry Truman said the US should be friends to poor nations and their people, was he wrong?
I do not condone violence by ANY one for ANY reason. My experiences in the Army taught me many things and I have come to the very strong conclusion that NON-violence is the ultimate solution to world problems. Gandhi taught us that in India and made a revolution against the dominant superpower of the time, Great Britain. Martin Luther Kind taught us that in his struggle for simple rights of black US citizens who just wanted the right to vote and send their kids to neighborhood schools.
What should the US do about the “weapons of mass destruction” of Israel, India and Pakistan just to name three? Shouldn’t the government and the military make them give up these WMD’s? Why is it OK for one country to have WMD’s and not others? Who decides that? And what about the WMD of the greatest nuclear arsenal in the world, the United States? Many people the world over fear the US because of its WMD capabilities. Shouldn’t the US start its own disarming before it starts telling others they should also? Why is the United States the world’s largest exporter of weapons? How many US soldiers were killed with weapons the United States gave to the Taliban in support of their fight against the Soviet Union or to Saddam in his fight with Iran? It just goes on and on and on…
Once we start violence it comes back to us, and it never stops. WWII only decided who the two 50 year superpowers were to be, then the US outspent the Soviet Union and the poorest one “lost” (actually they just gave up).
All that being said, if you understand any of my meaning, please note that I have not one shred of hope that the world is going to get better. Globalized corporations now are the rulers of nations who are only doing what is in the economic self-interest of the rulers of those nations, their rich and powerful friends and their corporations. Freedom, democracy and the rights of the common people are no longer any concern to large nation states and their corporate sponsors.
Finally, back to what Captain Ouimette’s says: “This is not a political thing to be hashed over in an election year this is an AMERICAN thing. This is about our Freedom and the Freedom of our children in years to come.”
What does this mean? What would he have us do? What is THE solution? I see none in the article. What does the “wakeup call” mean to the United States, its people and to those who are still friendly to its people? If the US military kills Bin Laden, will that stop terrorism? If we invade Iran, Syria and Libya, overthrow their leaders and setup an Iraqi type government will that stop terrorism? Why not invade North Korea whose leader is even worse than Saddam was to his people? (perhaps 900,000 well-trained troops is one answer?) Will that stop terrorism?
Captain Ouimette also writes “you don’t have to be in the FBI or CIA or on the National Security Council to see the pattern that has been developing since 1979.” I agree with him, the pattern has been firmly established but he is a bit off on his date, the really significant date was 1893 when the US overthrew the Queen of Hawaii.
I understand the rage and frustration of people in America who are uninformed about the bad habits of their government for the last 110 years, they want to “fight back.” However all you need to do is take a cold hard look at Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to see that such a policy simply does not work. In time, the troops will come back, the US will have lost thousands of lives and killed countless of thousands of Iraqis. When that happens, will the Iraqis be better off than they were under Saddam? Will terrorism against the US and other countries stop?
I ask you and your friends and anyone else who you send this to, what is the solution? Just to say wakeup is not enough, we have to wakeup, get informed and try to find constructive solutions. The solutions will be difficult and take a long time, but if we are to really put teeth into Captain Ouimette’s words that “This is about our Freedom and the Freedom of our children in years to come.” then we all need to work smarter at finding meaningful, permanent solutions.
I hope you find this useful and helpful, I do not mean to cause hard feelings to anyone, I just felt compelled to respond to this Internet “viral” article.
“Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt.”
– Ambrose Bierce
The full text of Captain Ouimette’s speech can be found on Snopes.com