The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Mr. President: Just Do It

It’s not that I’m all that much of a people-person. An awful lot of them- people, that is- are much more trouble than they’re worth, particularly in this day and age, which certain traditions refer to as “The Degenerate Age.” But people-person or not, and probably as a result of my old-fashioned Irish- Catholic upbringing, I still have what they used to call a conscience, you know, some sense of what’s right and wrong. And that’s why the idea of a lot of people getting their heads blown off for no particular reason makes me uneasy. I know that this wasn’t much of an issue in the last election, what with the economy and all. But, I don’t know, it still has relevance to me. Oh, I know, I’m a sentimentalist and pathetically unfashionable, but still, it bothers me. When it begins not to bother me, I’ll submit my resignation from the human race.

Speaking of resignations from the human race, there was George W. Bush. He started a war for trumped-up reasons, and then, when practically everyone knew it was a phony war, started for God-knows- what reasons- oil, ego, paranoia, whatever- he refused to end it and allowed thousands to go to their deaths or sustain disabling injuries. Mr. Bush, man of conscience.

Then the presidential campaign began. I supported Obama. He had been opposed to the war. His statements during the campaign about ending the war surprised me somewhat because of the length of time he proposed for the withdrawal from Iraq and his stated intention to send additional troops to Afghanistan. But I presumed that a very substantial reduction of troops from Iraq would begin shortly after his inauguration and that the additions in Afghanistan would be limited and designed to serve the purpose of facilitating gradual withdrawal. Developments have proven my suppositions to be wishful thinking indeed.

The fact is that Obama has done nothing more than maintain Bush’s status-quo in Iraq and started the war in Afghanistan all over again with 17000 added troops. I don’t think Obama is in Bush’s class in terms of lack of conscience. But I just think he’s treading too hesitantly and perhaps justifying himself based on the fact that he inherited the wars. But that is no excuse. He is in charge and he can- and must- end the wars quickly. 4556 of our troops have died and countless others have been injured and disabled for life. To continue these wars- both wars- is unconscionable, inexcusable. The coffins are still coming home. The wars have to end. And you are the one who has to end them, Mr. President. If lives and limbs weren’t involved the pace could perhaps be more leisurely. But the brutal fact is that you are responsible for all lives lost and all injuries sustained if you fail to bring these wars to conclusion posthaste. That’s simply the fact.

A withdrawal of 12,000 troops by the end of September was announced today. I think that’s about 10% of the total American forces in Iraq- and I don’t know how many of them are to be re-deployed to Afghanistan. I am of course glad that there will be withdrawals; but the pace is much too slow. And the plan to leave a 50,000 -troop ”residual” force through 2011 is more than excessive; and raises serious doubts whether a permanent occupation is being engineered. I- and so many others- voted for you to end these wars, Mr. President- not to drag them on indefinitely at so great a cost in lives. You have to be the man with the courage to put an end to this chronic warfare. Do what you have to do but do it quickly. If regional security forces and the inclusion of our allies in the withdrawal plans has to be arranged, then organize the arrangements. I know you can do it if anyone on earth can. I didn’t vote for a dilly-dallying nincompoop. I voted for a decisive, intelligent and highly principled leader. Just be what you are and don’t let the neurotic and/or self-interested nay-sayers get in your way. Yes there are risks. Take them. Who thought you could become president when you started out? You did. And you did it. And you can do this. You have to be the one.

Oh, and liberals and anti-war people, please wake up from the snooze. Let’s remember what we’re all about. Kevin Martin of Progressive Democrats of America has been circulating anti-war- and other- important petitions. This kind of petitioning should be ongoing- and we should all be involved. Please check out the website if you haven’t received emails. The right-wing has been all too happy lately. Let’s make them miserable as hell.