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Guest Editorial

JOHN HANRAHAN, M.D.

Last Wednesday I attended a rally against the Bush administration’s continued war in Iraq, where thousands of our troops have been killed and tens of thousands of civilians have died. I have deep concerns with this war and many other Bush policies. This makes me a "nut cake" (Senator Hatch), and "morally confused" (Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld). In last Wednesday’s Park Record, Michael Flaherty tells me I sound like an Islamic fascist who hates the United States. These three men and many others like them are slandering my intelligence, integrity and personal faith.

Rather than respond with similar personal attacks and dehumanizing labels, I will simply disagree as strongly as possible. I must have missed the history class that taught Hatch, Rumsfeld and Flaherty that upholding the First Amendment was immoral or fascist, while attempting to squash disagreement was democracy. Fortunately, I am not alone in disapproving the disastrous policies of the Bush administration. A Newsweek poll last week shows 63 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush’s handling of the war, only 31 percent approve. Extremist conservatives need to get real and support our troops by bringing them home. The most thunderous and sustained applause at last week’s rally came in support of our troops and their ongoing sacrifices.

Somehow, Bush’s supporters view the veterans who support the war in Iraq as patriotic Americans, while the many veterans who oppose this war are unpatriotic, and treasonous. Again, get real. As Republican President Teddy Roosevelt stated many years ago, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." President Bush completely squandered our national unity and undivided will after 9/11 and the successful disruption of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. (Unfortunately, over 90 percent of the world’s opium is now produced in Afghanistan.)

Our status in the world and in our own eyes seems at its lowest in history. The several-hundred-billion-dollar budget surplus Bush inherited at his first inaugural has been incredibly transformed into the greatest annual and cumulative deficit in the history of America. Programs to help the poorest of our country have been slashed and protections for the environment have been decimated. Our dependence on Middle East oil is growing, not decreasing, and the president’s policies favor plans that would exacerbate this huge national security risk even further. Our national security is far more precarious now than in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. In Iraq, President Bush’s policies have provided the motivation and the training ground for thousands of newly hatched terrorists to perform their despicable acts. While my wife may agree that I am a nut cake, I do love the United States very much. So much so, in fact, that I will continue to protest and speak out against these ruinous policies of our current president whenever I can.


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