Social and Political Commentary

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Small creatures, all creatures, deserve life

When will it all end?

by Jackie Wattenberg

I drew into my driveway to park my car. As I stepped out, I couldn't help seeing a small black furry creature struggling to rise and run away. The long tail proved it was a squirrel, a rare black squirrel with a sweet white swirl at its throat. It flopped about on the driveway, but some injury prevented it from running from me.

I hurried inside to call for help. But our Animal Control office was closed. The City Hall switchboard thought the police might help me. But "We don't do that," said the policeman who answered my call. I called any place with the word "animal" in it, and hoped that the Wildlife organization might call me back. They did not.

An hour later, the pretty creature lay motionless, its innocent life lost. It was close to the steps of my neighbors, with whom I share the parking space. The young wife would come home first, and no doubt leave the trying task to her husband

I felt moved by the experience, but quickly told myself that it was only an animal, that many thousands of human beings, children, grown men and hopeful women, have been dying -- in Afghanistan, in Israel, in Palestine, in African countries -- and in Iraq. The U.N. sanctions against Iraq, that we and England insist on retaining, have caused the deaths of a half million children, considered by most of the world needless and inhumane. And, most potent worry of all, now President Bush is building up momentum to attack Iraq to dislodge Saddam Hussein.

Saddam is not an admirable leader. Many nations have leaders who are not admirable --but can we use our supreme military might to unseat them all? Iraq is a secular Muslim state, where the women have more freedom than in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, both our allies. Our leaders say nothing about the strict rules these women and girls suffer under. Yes, Saddam may have "weapons of mass destruction" -- but Scott Ritter, our chief weapons inspector there, denies this possibility. Many nations have terrible weaponry, including ours, and we have used ours in our seven wars since WW II.

If we attack Iraq, will we also go after others of Bush's "Axis of Evil" countries -- Iran, North Korea and Libya? And what of China? Hardly a haven of democracy and justice.

After 9/11, the media all focused on "Why do they hate us?" Muslim leaders cited three major causes: our support for Israel and ignoring the conditions of Muslims in Palestine; presence of our troops in Saudi Arabia, land of their holy sites of Mecca and Medina, where our soldiers appear to protect the Saudi government many Muslims consider corrupt; and last, our policy toward Iraq -- the sanctions and frequent bombings.

If we should attack Iraq, killing Muslims as well as the young men and women of our military, is there any doubt that our actions would incite further resentment and acts of terrorism? Afghanistan is still a troubled country that needs our full attention; the world's leaders are urging us to at last create some peaceable settlement for Israel and Palestine.

The nations of the world have not forgotten our many wars since WW II, and how we can intrude in conflicts of other nations far and wide -- Vietnam, Korea, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Haiti, El Salvador, etc., many etc.'s. Our military might is respected. Now is the time to build respect for our humanitarian impulses.

During his campaign, President Bush said more than once -- "We must be humble; if we appear arrogant, people wont like us." Now we are showing our arrogance again --promoting a war against a smaller, weaker foe even though other nations in that area and in Europe are against it.

All creatures, animal and human, deserve life; now is the time to END our habit of war-making, and show the peoples of the world -- those both friendly and hostile to us -- that we choose peace over war, and humanitarian help for the hopeless and deprived.

This would surely improve our reputation in those great chasms of hate and anger toward us which brought about 9/11. We American people truly want Homeland Security.

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