Many questions leave one answer - Gerry Yandel

Enough is enough already.

How long are we going to continue shoving our way of life down the throats of the people of Iraq against their wishes and clearly to the detriment of both our countries?

More than 1,600 American troops have died as a result of the big lie our government shoved down our own throats about the alleged weapons of mass destruction, which clearly never existed.

Taking advantage of our nation's collective grief to perpetrate a war against Iraq was a heinous act for which, apparently, no one will be held accountable. But how long are we supposed to support this administration and its abuse of an entire people half a world away?

It is understandable that our collective rage against the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon could unseat us from reason. Certainly the attacks against our country were not reasonable, but surely, almost four years later we should have regained our senses.

But it is obvious that we have not.

What happened to the high-minded principles we espouse to the rest of the world even as we pursue a war against an entire religion in a country that was only marginally – if at all – involved in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001?

Where in the Christian ideals our president continuously claims to follow does it say we have the right to sexually, morally and religiously degrade another human being as horrifically as some of our soldiers did at Abu Ghraib prison?

Can any reasonable person truly say that we have not earned the disgust and shame the rest of the world has been heaping upon us?

I have been struggling to understand how we can so blindly follow our leaders down this path we have been taking and why the majority of us swallow the mealy-mouthed and lame excuses they give us when they get caught in their own web of lies and deception.

It seems fairly obvious that this entire situation has spiraled out of control, and the pictures of Saddam Hussein in his underwear only drive the point home. No one disputes that the man was a mass murderer with no regard for human life. But, if that is reason enough to do what we are doing in Iraq, why are we not removing the despots and tyrants from the rest of the world? How do we turn a blind eye toward the genocidal regimes in Africa or ignore the insane posturing of North Korea's Kim Jong Il and his nuclear arsenal?

Of course, defenders of this administration will say that the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, and now the photos of Hussein, were isolated acts of disturbed individuals. That may be the case, however, why are things like this only happening now and not before in the history of our military, which is still among the most honorable and respected armed forces in the world?

It seems clear that the continued arrogance and righteousness dished out by our Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, has filtered down to the lowest levels of our military. Time and again he has treated the American people who would question his actions with disdain and disrespect. It is not difficult to see how that attitude could foster the climate that has resulted in these outrageous episodes against other people who may or may not be insurgents, terrorists or merely protesters who have no respect for our heavy-handed actions in their country.

It is time that we, as Americans, put an end to this downward spiral by replacing those who have been in charge of our military.

It is time we start trying to earn back the rest of the world's respect by returning our military's reputation where it belongs as one of integrity and honor.

Whether you care what the rest of the world thinks or not, we owe it to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for our freedom.

Gerry Yandel is the city editor for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or gyandel@henryherald.com .