Friday, October 12, 2012

Iran, Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction

Listening to the vice presidential debate last night, I heard Paul Ryan criticizing the present administration about its handling of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. I found Mr. Biden’s rebuttal very interesting. If Mr. Biden’s facts are correct, Iran is not yet at the point of being able to threaten Israel with nuclear weapons and there is still time for negotiations to work. In listening to the discussion, I was reminded of another time when President Bush defied the United Nations and insisted there was proof of stores of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and no more time to wait for negotiations to work. Convincing Congress that his belief was true, he gained the funds to carry out his program of “shock and awe” and send American troops into Iraq. No weapons were found, but the war continued, costing thousands of American lives while maiming others for life and draining not only the morale of American troops but also the federal budget in yet another questionable war.

My desire for peace and opposition to the Iraq War was the reason for returning to vote for the Democratic candidates in 2004 and 2008. Until that time, I had not voted for a major party candidate since 1988. This year I had decided to cast my ballot for Jill Stein after I read the platform of the Green Party. Part of the platform in addition to supporting environmental concerns and peace covers building sustainable communities. These are the issues that are most important to me. I believe unemployment and poverty stem from militarism and corporate control of the economy and politicians. I also don’t believe continuing to expand federal control of every aspect of American life is the best way to address these issues. Action must start in local communities with local citizens taking control of their communities and rebuilding their infrastructures through community organization and support from first the state and then the federal government. I knew I would be “throwing my vote away,” but at least I could vote for the person who best represented my interests. Last night’s debate has changed this.

If I understood Mr. Ryan correctly as well as recent statements made by Mr. Romney himself, America must take a tough, confrontational stance against Iran right now. That scares me. We are still trying to get our troops out of Afghanistan, have an economy that is in critical condition, according to Mr. Romney, and if elected, he would risk the threat of another war? The first question is “where will the money come from?” I think we need someone more responsible and less impulsive who is commander in chief of the American armed forces. In fact, the major duty of the President according to the Constitution is to oversee the nation’s military. In addition, he is in charge of all diplomacy with other nations. In my opinion the diplomacy should be one of patience and compromise. Only when these have actually failed should we send American citizens into “harm’s way” and put the financial burden of yet another war on the backs of the so called middle class. For that reason, I think I will have to once again cast my vote for the person who stands the best chance of winning and puts negotiation and compromise ahead of impulsive military actions.   

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