Letter to the editor: What? It was all in good fun…

To the Editor:

Before I begin my response to Zac Goldstein’s editorial, I want to clear up a few misconceptions he has about me. I like and respect the Republican Party, but Bush was a mistake. My letter was in response to the four main issues of the previous week’s paper. Due to what I thought were space limitations of 300 words or less (as it was merely a letter, as opposed to an editorial), I could not spend an inordinate amount of time on a particular issue. I decided to use humor and gross exaggerations to get my point across, as opposed to backing up one or two statements with a bunch of cut and dry facts. I assumed that the readers would know what I was talking about and understand where I was coming from. However, you know what they say if you ‘assume’ – it makes an ‘ASS’ out of ‘U’ and ‘ME.’ Unfortunately, this happened, and now my good name has been besmirched. I did not think some guy without a sense of humor would actually take one line that seriously. I wasn’t trying to talk out of my ass, like that kid who wrote about the evils of alcohol did a few weeks ago (by his own admission, he’s never had an alcoholic beverage. Way to go buddy, you really convinced me.) That being said, I have decided to discuss Goldstein’s ‘editorial,’ space limitations be damned.

First off, you completely missed the point. It went so far over your head, it wasn’t even funny. You said, “… nor was there any indication he was kidding.” To that, I just have to say, “Wow.” The ‘Cops in Robbers porno’ and ‘warm tapioca pudding’ references, among others, didn’t clue you in that my piece was meant to be humorous? You mention “… baseless propaganda …” I will support my disputed line in a moment, but am I to assume (that word again) that you agree with everything else that I wrote? It appears so. Now, I’m going to S-P-E-L-L everything out for you.

You think that my attack of Bush is in reference to “the number of civilian casualties in Iraq.” You’re absolutely right. These casualties of war are called collateral damage. The collateral damage in WWII was acceptable because those civilians were directly or indirectly against the Allied forces; however, in Iraq, many civilians supported the American invasion to get rid of Hussein. So, we killed people that actually sided with America. You mention that “… forces in Iraq have not been targeting civilians (with a few exceptions) …” Oh, OK. So, in those ‘few’ exceptions, it’s perfectly OK to target civilians. Let me ask you this: at what point does killing civilians go from being OK to morally reprehensible – 50, 100, 1,000, 100,000?

Second, isn’t anyone else just a bit concerned about the implications of Homeland Security? From the start, when it was formed, I found out that members of Homeland Security could enter houses and perform searches without needing a warrant, all in the name of national security. My reaction was, “Thank God I’m white.” The little documents called the Constitution and Bill of Rights are slowly, but surely, being torn up. I can easily envision a future where Homeland Security is comparable to Hitler’s SS, secret police, or whatever you want to call it. Orwell’s “1984” is about to become a reality, where citizens have no privacy. You’re right; Bush is gone by 2008 at the latest. What about Cheney? That’s 2016. What about Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, or any other member of Bush’s cabinet? Bush may be gone, but his legacy will live on. I can understand the need for security (believe me, I do), but I’m just concerned at what cost?

Third, I thoroughly despise the fact that Bush used 9/11 for his own political agenda. I can understand the connection to bin Laden and therefore Afghanistan. You mention that since the Taliban has been toppled, people have been living a more free life. This is true. I still wouldn’t want to even visit, let alone live there, myself. The conditions were, and are, shitty. Even more appalling is the fact of how badly women have been treated in that country. Ever see “Osama?” It’s funny how we liberated that country as soon as it was politically convenient. What I don’t understand is the invasion of Iraq. Bush used 9/11 to bully us into supporting the war, based on ambiguous, at best, data. A shipment of aluminum tubes? To be used for weapons of mass destruction? That’s a pretty big leap of faith. Intelligence reports, even at the time, were conflicting. Yeah, blame the CIA for the disaster in Iraq. I guarantee you that if somehow the reports had been right, Bush would have taken all the credit and the CIA would not even have been mentioned. To be sure, there were obviously more going on than I’m listing here, but even before the war started, I had a tough time imagining Iraq as being an imminent threat. This was reinforced by the fact that the war, from start to finish, took approximately three weeks (not counting our cleanup). Boy, are they a tough country. They would’ve totally kicked our asses if given a bit more time to prepare. Whew, I’m glad we beat them to the punch.

Now, let me go on to my fourth and main point. I love this country with all my heart. I would not want to live anywhere else. However, I can understand how the world perceives us. They think we are a big bully, especially after we invaded Iraq against the wishes of the United Nations, an organization we are a member of. If anyone else in the United Nations had done what we did, you can bet your ass the United States would stop it from happening. But because it’s America, nobody stopped us, and so there’s a double standard. Basically, we proved the terrorists’ point. Furthermore, the biggest strength and simultaneous weakness of America is its open borders and freedom. Because of this, we have always believed we walked a higher path. We were above terrorism. Attacks on us (see World Trade Center, 1994) didn’t affect the way we lived or the way we thought. After Mr. Bush declared “War on Terrorism,” I knew that they had won on the day of 9/11. No longer would we be allowed to live our lives as we had before. No longer would we think as we had before. Society changed on the day of Bush’s declaration, and not for the better. Those terrorists have succeeded in bringing us down to their level. Depending on what you think, Bush may or may not be a terrorist, but one thing is for sure: Bush completely legitimized it.

Kerry, on the other hand, would make America a laughingstock. I truly do not have faith that he would be a good president, especially when his basic platform is: “Hey, at least I’m not Bush!”

One last thing: I would not have responded if you hadn’t called me stupid. I respected your opinion up until that time, but you blew it when you called me stupid. For the record, I prefer mentally challenged.

Daniel Wilburn