Story last updated at 2:57 p.m. Thursday, October 10, 2002

Old cycles destructive
Even though much of the world is trying to focus on the world summit issues of poverty and the environment, our president, George Bush Jr., continues to push forward on spending $200 billion (the cost according to a Congressional report) to finish his daddy's war against Iraq. It was just years ago the U.S. (George Bush Sr.) was financing Saddam Hussein to help him in his ruthless war against Iran. Actually, not only financing Saddam, but, as the Washington Post reported on Dec. 5, 1990, the United States (i.e. George Bush) sold bacteria to Iraq, which was used in Iraq's production of biological weapons.

It truly amazes me that people believe that by bombing and attacking Iraq and, therefore, killing many children, parents and families (35,000 during the Gulf War), we will making the world a "safer" place. Safer for whom?

I feel that the Iraqi people are already suffering enough. For example, Denis J. Halliday, the former U.N. head of the oil-for-food program, estimates that more than 5,000 (note: more deaths than the entire Sept. 11 tragedy) Iraqi children under 5 are dying each month from malnutrition and disease directly related to the sanctions. This, of course, is just a number, but one can imagine a young child in their life dying of malnutrition and feel the impact of this tragedy. Is attacking Iraq really going to make the world safer for us here in America? All we have to do is look at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to realize that fighting terror with more terror is a dead-end street. We have seen it over and over again.

A person who is loved by their family and friends gets killed either by a suicide bomber or an Israeli weapon, and that the grief that is felt soon turns to anger and a call for revenge, thereby starting the process all over again. This is that same pattern that has been repeating itself throughout the history of the world. Our nation, as privileged and advanced as it is, should be an example for the rest of the world on how to solve these issues in a different way, instead of repeating the same old play of destruction that we are all so very weary of.

Therefore, I ask that you stand up against this old way of behaving on the world stage. Tell those in power that you disagree with this war. If they call you unpatriotic, you tell them that this country was founded on dissent. Dissent from the ruling elite is the most patriotic stance one can take.

Perhaps then, we, too, can focus on the most important issues facing us today: poverty and the environment.

In love and peace for all peoples of the world,

Doug Koester