The real American Patriotism
May 17, 2003

We Americans must look very amusing to many peoples in the world. They say to Americans:  "Your country, the USA, is rewarding countries because they stood with you to wage war against Iraq ..." "Your country, the USA, whose constitution is based on freedom of speech is punishing other countries because they dared to speak out against war ... and then you are the outspoken people about right for democracy and freedom of speech in the world" "Your country, the USA, wants to be a role model to other countries, but you make the UN irrelevant when you want to impose your will on the international community ..." "Your country, the USA, uses the UN when they want the UN blessings on their own interests in the world and today to occupy another country, Iraq, and use its resources to help your economy ..." "Your country, the USA, has waged war based on information about weapons of mass destruction and the dangers posed by Iraq, information that has been repeated endlessly but proven incorrect by independent observers including weapons inspectors and human rights activists..." And, puzzled, Americans, like myself, we have no idea how to react and to think.
And we ask ourselves:
After all, what did the war in Iraq accomplish?
1) With no immediate threat from Iraq to its immediate neighbors or to us in the USA.
2) With apparently no useable weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
3) With no links between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks.
4) With US and western support for Iraq's weapons programs in the 1980s and for
Iraq's war against Iran.
5) With US and western silence while Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranians and Kurds.
6) With withdrawn support to the Kurdish and Shiite uprisings in 1991 that helped Saddam to kill thousands and thousands of them that our media is bringing to us everyday.
7) With a starved and decimated Iraq after 12 years of US-supported sanctions which contributed to the deaths of over one million Iraqis.
8) With what we have put together, a Coalition of the Willing, that is made up of countries whose leaders were bullied and bribed into becoming "Willing", while the majority of the citizens in those countries were against the war. I stand, as an American with many others, ashamed of the things that we have done, as a democratic and open country.

I am deeply saddened that we are the first to do these things in the 21st century.
It reminds me that we were the first country and the ONLY one to use the nuclear bombs in the 20 century. Are we really happy to gain control of Iraqi oil by any means necessary?
Are we really happy to rebuild Iraq when the USA itself needs to be rebuilt?
Are we really happy to occupy another country?
Are we really proud of what we have accomplished?

Will we do the same to other countries in the future in the name of preventive war?
I am troubled to ponder what this war has really accomplished in the world and the sort of role model our country now presents in the world. I pray for our nation with many interfaith communities. I pray for administration and appeal to the hearts of people of good will to stand with what is just, fair and right.

I pray that we will be able one day to humble ourselves and recognize our mistakes, wronging and injustices in the world.
This is the real American patriotism: to be honest in front of God, ourselves and others.