Pubdate: Mon, 23 Nov 2009
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Richard Mazzucchi


Recent American history is becoming one of continuous war, now with
over eight years fighting domestic and international terrorists, and
30 years battling drugs in the hands of our own citizens.

The sad reality of these wars is that they should have never been
considered wars in the first place.

Traditionally war involved the disputes of patriots of particular
causes and places that came to a violent resolution. Fortunately,
these wars were relatively short lived and well defined, by that I
mean the enemy was easily identified, the goal of property governance
readily understood, and the moral imperative beyond reproach.

The near altercations and controversies surrounding Red Bluff rallies
of troop supporters and peace activists and the ongoing policy
disputes over medicinal marijuana are indicative of the ambiguities of
our present war efforts.

With regard to the people of Iraq the peace activists are correct when
they assert "they never came here to attack us, we went over there,"
in an apparently misguided and poorly executed war on terrorism.

Not only were we in the wrong country as those that were responsible
for attacks of 9-11 due to inaccurate intelligence and a
predisposition of our president at the time to achieve the failed
demise of Saddam Hussien as a result of his father's First Gulf War,
we have killed countless civilians and carefully tally our dead and
wounded as the battle continues.

Similarly the war on drugs continues as an inappropriate application
of battle mentality to deal with domestic health and crime issues.

The consumers of drugs become enemies only when non-users choose to
define them as such. The only way to ultimately win this so called
war, and that on terrorists, is to win the hearts and minds of those
we are fighting. This cannot be achieved by traditional means of
decimation or domination, because the enemies are so well disguised
that the only way to fight them is to stereotype individuals into
enemy camps based upon what they think. As I have mentioned before the
U.S. Constitution protects the rights of all citizens regardless of
their opinions and private effects. To cast aspersions upon people for
what they profess is a form of hate speech or at least libel unless
backed up by specific allegations of illegality.

Some argue that rather than dropping an estimated $40,000 per
individual Iraqi worth of explosives during the three days of our
bombing of Baghdad, we would have been better served by giving them
the money to help them build their lives and thereby see Americans as
helpers rather than dominating expansionists bent on violence. Though
the sum total of our losses is incalculable due to the thousands of
American soldiers that gave their lives and limbs in this futile war
effort, the financial cost of our activities in Iraq and Afghanistan
are rapidly approaching 1,000 billion dollars (see
with little evidence of lasting resolution.

Similarly, millions of Americans have been convicted of serious
felonies due to their choice to possess or traffic in illegal drugs,
and hundreds of thousands now over-populate our prisons and jails. Our
war on drugs has served largely to incarcerate more citizens than any
other country, with attendant costs approaching 50 billion dollars
(see www.actionamerica.

org/drugs). Even in California with enlightened diversions to drug
rehab for first and second time offenders, the costs of incarceration
are limiting the ability to provide mental health and community
support services that are known to be the only effective means of
stopping addictive behavior.

I would hope that as you reflect upon these realities you see that war
winning begins at home by carefully differentiating those we condemn
as enemies deserving of incarceration or death from those that we
might more effectively convert with empathy, education,
rehabilitation, or other assistance.

It seems to me that an evolved society would invest more resources in
the latter than in the former. Unfortunately for our local community
and the United States of America as a whole this is not the case, and
while you may blame our leaders, everyone is culpable in our
democracy. For this reason it is incumbent upon those with
conscientious objections to war to express themselves, regardless of
the popularity of the message.
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr