The Moral Obligation to Lose
By Robert Shetterly
Dreams' -- -- Every act has moral and immoral
potential. The girl scout who helps an unsteady old man across
the street could also have pushed him aside. The aftermath of
each action engenders a new range of moral possibilities. Having
pushed him aside, she might then regret her act and return to
help him. Even when we’ve made bad choices, acted out of
indifference or greed rather than compassion and generosity,
another choice awaits us: how to compound or rectify the immoral
act, stay the course or imagine how to salvage some measure of
moral standing. Since even a racist like George Wallace can have
a Road to Damascus experience, anything is possible.
The immense immorality of the choice to attack Iraq, and base
that choice in lies, propaganda, and fear is hardly news now.
But the fact that, above all else, it was a moral choice means
that another moral choice is possible. And only one choice would
atone for the original.
This war will not end until the funding is cut off. Anyone who
would continue the funding to “support the troops,” should also
tell you that once you make a moral mistake, keep making it, and
that those who pay with their blood for your mistake are
grateful for the support. The logic of this position would also
maintain that policy is made by soldiers and officers, not by
the people, the Congress and the President.
None of the offered plans now before us to de-escalate the war
disavow what we all know to be its original goals — control of
Iraq’s oil and the building of large, permanent US military
bases in Iraq. Nor do any of these bills address the central
issue of accountability, the fact that this war is a war crime,
a crime against our democracy, our Constitution, the Iraqi
people, international law, and our own soldiers. Without
accountability, our democracy is meaningless. Without moral
action, our claim to integrity and respect are meaningless.
Our obligation as citizens is not to play political games with
the Democrats or Republicans to help them position themselves
for the next election. Our obligation is to demand that the laws
and ideals of this country be upheld. The problem with the Iraq
War is not that we are losing it and that we need a better
strategy. The problem is that we have no moral right to win it.
As bad as the colossal mismanagement, greed and corruption are,
they are not the true issue. Betrayal of the public trust is the
issue. Pre-meditated murder is the issue.
It is my deepest belief that the only good that may come from
this disgraceful time in our history, will be the honest
acknowledgement of how and why the country was mislead, followed
by punishment for those responsible. Without that justice, we
will learn nothing and be easy prey for the next abuse of power.
It is horrible to think that our soldiers have died and been
injured in vain. However, if we demand accountability, demand
impeachment, something honest will have been redeemed. All that
blood and those blasted bodies of beloved people may form the
bulwark against future abuse. In a sense freedom will have been
won, democracy will be affirmed, justice will be established —
No one can tell you what will happen when the US withdraws the
troops. Although, many did predict the chaos of insurgency and
sectarianism that resulted from the attack. But whatever happens
after our withdrawal, it will be made easier if we involve
international peacekeepers, remove our bases, forego any claim
to the oil, and pay reparations. The war is a moral and legal
catastrophe and will continue to be. But since we precipitated
it, we can’t pretend also to want to protect the Iraqis from it.
We can’t. We’re the cause of it.
This administration has acted from a position that denigrates
human rights, legal rights, moral rights, the rights of decency,
inalienable rights, privacy rights, civil rights, women’s
rights, environmental rights, worker’s rights, and children’s
rights. The only right they have respected is the right of
entitlement. Their own. Our only hope is to demand our rights,
our rights as citizens, our rights to our ideals, our rights to
a sense of morality.
The destruction of a small village in Vietnam was once explained
away by our military as a village that had to be destroyed in
order to save it. That perversity became symbolic of the entire
war. Accurately. The War on Iraq should now be described as a
war that must be lost in order to save America. That is our
Shetterly is a writer and artist who lives in Brooksville,
Maine. He is the author of
Americans Who Tell the Truth. See
to comment on this and other articles
Send Page To a Friend
with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material
is distributed without profit to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational
purposes. Information Clearing House has no
affiliation whatsoever with the originator of
this article nor is Information ClearingHouse
endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)