View Full Version : Why a Liberal Supports "Bush's War"

04-17-03, 02:45 PM

Commentary: Why a Liberal Supports Bush's War
Posted April 10, 2003

By Jeffrey Scott Shapiro
Two years ago I voted for Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election. Upon George W. Bush's ascension into the White House, I found myself furious with him and vowed I would do whatever I could to campaign for the next future Democratic presidential candidate in 2004.

Today, I am convinced that Bush may go down in history as one of America's greatest presidents.

There's an old saying - a man doesn't make history - history makes the man. Nothing could be truer in the presidency of George W. Bush. When our enemies struck us in the heart and soul of our nation, we mourned. And when we realized that nearly 3000 of our fellow American brothers and sisters were murdered, we cried.

But when our president set foot upon the crumbled steel and shattered glass of the World Trade Center, he reminded us of our greatness and we cheered. It was at that moment, that this young Texas governor truly became the President of the United States and won the mandate and the hearts of the American people.

In the wake of Sept. 11, only one country had the audacity not to lower its embassy flag to half-mast. Expressing no sense of compassion, offering no words of support, Iraq flew its flag high and mighty as it's black and white stripes and emboldened green stars waved proudly in the New York City wind.

Since Sept. 11, the president has tried to make a case to the American people that our nation must remove Saddam Hussein from power. Although he convinced Congress, he failed to win the popular momentum of the American people and the world community. Forced to contend with an ineffective United Nations that refused to enforce its own resolutions, the president moved forward with the support of only a few democratic allies.

Now, recent polls show that America's feelings on the war have changed. In fact, most television news networks now report that over 75 percent of the nation supports the war. Perhaps the proof that the president was right came when the first Iraqi citizens encountering U.S. Marines refused to fire guns but instead threw up their hands and cheered for America.

Yet despite this wave of happiness and relief sweeping through southern Iraq, my fellow liberal Democrats still contend the war is wrong. They argue that the liberation of Iraq is unjustified. Street protesters cry out that our aim is to seize oil instead of freeing innocent people who have suffered under the iron rule of a sadistic dictator.

Allow me to respond: How could you? How could you be so cowardly? How can you portray yourselves as the champions of human rights yet lack the courage to do anything about it? Are you so afraid of conflict that you lack the conviction to stand before the world and denounce evil even when it exists in its most pure form? Do you not see the torture and heartbreak of a nation in despair? Do you care? Can you not put party politics aside and support our president in this unified struggle for freedom?

According to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of London report on Saddam Hussein's Crimes and Human Rights Abuses, the Iraqi regime has openly engaged in state-licensed rape, acid baths, electric shock, eye gouging, the piercing of hands with electric drills and mock executions. Families whose members betray Saddam are forced to watch their sisters, daughters and wives raped repeatedly by soldiers whose professional job is to "violate a woman's honor." Those who openly condemn Saddam Hussein have their tongues cut from their mouths so they can never speak again.

Citizens held captive in the Mahjar prison in Baghdad are beaten twice a day and women are regularly raped by their guards. Those locked in the prison's underground are kept in rows of rectangular steel boxes roughly the size of a coffin until they either confess or die. The boxes are opened only for one hour a day and prisoners are fed only liquids to stay alive.

The human rights abuses perpetuated by Saddam Hussein and his regime go beyond the pale of cruelty. They are inhumane, incomprehensible and criminal. How can we, as Americans let such cruelty stand? Should we cower away at the fear of losing troops and surrender our resolve because we are without a quick and painless victory?

Think for a moment what America would be like today if President Lincoln had hesitated to send Union troops to free the slaves in the south. The Civil War was long and harsh, costing our nation the lives of hundreds of thousands. Yet, by challenging the Confederacy, Lincoln completed the next stage of the American Revolution and ended the diabolical institution of slavery.

I can think of no other place more sacred in this country than the temple we call the Lincoln Memorial. I will never forget how I felt as a child when I first gazed up at the marble frame of President Lincoln as he sat silently on his throne. It was a spiritual feeling I had never felt before in my life and it is something that I will never forget.

Although slavery has been abolished in America it still exists in many dark corners of the globe. Iraq is one of those places.

In the wake of Iraq's misery, one man rose above all others and said there would be no more. Many people listened to the cries of human rights organizations across the globe, but only one man did anything about it. Like President Lincoln before him, one man put the cause of freedom above himself and his political career. One man chose to liberate the people of Iraq when the world condemned him for it. One man initiated the next frontier of the American Revolution because he knew that revolution will not be over until every human being on this planet is free.

War is a necessary function of freedom. Those who enslave others must be forced to step down from their despotic positions of power. They will not simply relinquish it. Although it was unpopular to do so, President Bush had the heart to do the right thing. He took action. He sent troops to free innocent people. He knew what it was to truly love humanity, and for that, the president has my admiration and respect. More importantly, he now has my vote.

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is an investigative reporter who covered the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City. He is now studying law at the University of Florida and can be reached at jbsavenger@aol.com.