I am CITIZEN, Hear Me Scream!

Why are we in Iraq? The purpose has become muddled and there's no clear case for war. Yesterday, as I watched Ms. Rice defend the Bush position, I realized how sad this situation has become. Between the stonewalling and political posturing, a feeling of shame has crept over my heart. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud to be an American; so much so that I served honorably and willingly in the Army. But our dogmatic ideology of "us" versus "them" causes me shame, and I'm aggravated at the lack of empathy inherent in the American character.

Our administration will never claim wrongdoing in its handling of 9/11. Their position, as Dan mentioned earlier, is to stonewall and deny, deny, deny. This is an insult to those who died on 9/11, as well as to soldiers who are presently dying in the streets of Fallujah.

Now our allies have been dragged into a war that is more an appeasement of the hegemon than a legitimate battle against terror. They're faced with a critical decision; protection of their citizens or continued relations with the west. Unfortunately, they're choosing wrong.

Japan's PM, Junichiro Koizumi, has vowed to "stand firm on Iraq". He says, "We will not bow to any despicable threat by terrorists." So enlighten me, when have Muslim terrorists ever attacked Japanese soil or interests? When did Japan ever feel impending danger from Iraq? Yet, given the obvious answers to these questions, Koizumi is still willing to sacrifice his citizens for an indefinable war dictated by a foreign power. He's willing to wage the lives of three innocent non-combatants for the promise of gaining favor in the eyes of the Bush administration. Shame on you Koizumi. Shame on you Bush.

The White House insists that US military forces will prevail against all opponents in Iraq. Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, said on NBC television that the US was being tested by "the enemies of democracy". Has Mr. Bartlett thought for once that Iraqis are practicing democracy in the face of an invading force? They're banding together to take back their occupied towns. They're fighting for a way of life that seems backward to us, but is a pertinent part of their culture.

Through it all our government remains resolute. Sadly, it's this resolve on which Bush is building his re-election platform. Is this the kind of blind leadership qualities that we want? Mr. Bush, thousands continue to die on your watch. Do something about it!

I'm saddened by these episodes of death and ignorance that splash there way into my life. I'm upset at my government's need to dictate the lives of people they have no desire to understand. But the shame that I feel won't serve penance for the sins of my country. Instead, my voice, my rage and my action are my only absolution.