Saturday, August 13, 2005

Heartland of America Traumatised by Casualties in War

This was what made the US withdraw from Vietnam - the growing public disenchantment with a foreign war that kills young American men and women, for a cause that started off with a pack of lies. In the Vietnam War it was the fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident, while in Iraq it was the fabricated WMD and al Qaeda link that Saddam was alleged to have.

Now the anti-war movement in the USA is gaining more traction as the campaigners are the parents and families of dead soldiers, not just wet liberals. These are people whose loved ones had died in Iraq. Their voices cannot be ignored for their family had shed blood, unlike those who sit in their air conditioned offices in Washington or ranches in Texas.

Cindy Sheehan is leading this movement, becoming the focus of a growing anti-war force in America. She is a grieving mother of a dead soldier, and she has taken the movement right to the doorstep of the President's home.

She said correctly that the Iraq war, like the Vietnam war, is unwinnable. Though she has lost her son, she wants other American sons and daughters back home in the USA. Sheehan's group is growing steadily everyday.

President Bush claimed he sympathised with Cindy Sheehan. But he said that getting out of Iraq immediately would be a betrayal of the Iraqis and a victory for a ruthless enemy. Hmmm, when did he ever think of the Iraqi people’s welfare? And wasn't getting into Iraq a betrayal of the American people and a victory for ruthless US interest groups?

Political pundits noted that Bush in responding to Sheehan's concerns showed his lack of strategy for victory. The reality is the war has been a mistake, brought about by a combination of greed, neo-con strategy for domination of the world’s oil resources and the advice of an Administration staffed by too many pro-Israel officials.

The sad part has been that too many American lives have been lost in a war that has made Americans less safe.

The polls for Mr Bush indicate the unpopularity of the American engagement in Iraq. A Newsweek poll this week had 61 per cent of Americans disapprove of Bush’s handling of the war while another poll showed that 57 per cent believe the war has made them less safe. This undoubtedly has been galvanised by the recent American casualties - 40 US soldiers killed in August, 21 marines from the same Ohio unit last week, etc, which have traumatised the heartland of America.

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