Many Faces of War

Dear Iraq,
Please believe that we’re not all monsters. Despite what happened to your people, please understand that our leadership just felt that we could overthrow Saddam on the cheap. Never mind the human cost, both to you and to us.
The American people were lied to as to why we needed to wage war against your country. We are still being lied to about conditions there. We are told that you love us, that you see us as liberators, that we are there to give you the freedom you were denied for so long under Saddam. Then we get pictures of our soldiers, the same soldiers who are supposed to be willing to fight and die for the liberties that we believe in as Americans, treating your people like animals. It is a sickening disgrace.
To be honest, I wouldn’t blame you if you wished revenge. If someone did what I’ve seen to my family, I would want them dead. But please understand that what happened to you was not done by America, any more than the attacks on our World Trade Center was done by Iraqis, or even Arabs. It was done by monsters.
I think our media and our leaders are trying to turn the Arab world into a monolithic block that is against America. I think that the clerics, leaders and media in the Arab world are doing the same thing concerning us. I also feel that the only way we can honestly come to terms with each other is if we understand. Understanding requires communication and a willingness to see the other person as a human being. This is a lesson my leaders seem to have forgotten. But anyway, who am I?
I don’t really have a religion, per se. I believe that there is a God, and that God set the universe into motion, but that it is up to us to make our destinies, for good or for evil. I am not a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim. I feel that there are good and bad things to be said for all three of those faiths, as well as Hinduism and Buddhism. I feel that God knows what is in our heart, and it’s that, more than any path or teaching, that will show us the right and wrong way of doing things.
Politically, I’m a progressive. I feel that we need to worry about feeding, clothing and giving shelter to people all over the world before we worry about how to make money for our rich friends, or how to ensure that our companies get richer.
Our president, with all his talk of ‘compassionate conservatism’ seems to have forgotten to take care of those less fortunate than himself. Something I’ve always respected about Islam is that giving to others is a fundamental part of your faith.
I’m really not sure what to tell you. Mostly I just want to understand your stories, and your reasons for disliking us. I know that Americans are not given the full story about what our country does in our name. But until we actually talk to each other, and we can learn some of the things that are being done, we can’t do anything to change it. And I’ll be honest; not every American cares. We have our share of idiots who see you as the enemy because that’s what they’ve been told to believe. Blind, fanatical worship of an idea seems to not just be a religious belief. But let’s try to ignore our respective bands of idiots, and work together to try to understand each other.

Matt Davis is an English major.