Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

December 10, 2013

It’s time to bury the idea of endless war

Our 10 years of brutal and unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have left tens of thousands of innocent civilians dead and wounded, forced over four million Iraqis into either internal or external exile, killed thousands of U.S. troops, grievously wounding many times that number, and wasted untold billions of dollars.

Our military terrorism in the area, particularly with drones in Pakistan, has created almost universal loathing of the U.S. A Pew survey found that almost 75 percent of Pakistanis now consider their U.S. enemy.

Our brutal actions have actually helped insure a steady supply of recruits to terrorist organizations.

Why has this happened? What can we do to change our negative direction into a positive one?

First, we need to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.

This bill has been used by two presidents to justify all sorts of constitutionally illegal actions, such as warrantless wiretapping, not to mention actions that are gross violations of basic human rights, such as drone strikes that have killed thousands of civilians. Please support either H.R. 2324 or H.R. 198, which repeal the authorization act.

Second, we as a nation must discuss and disclose the rules for using drones.

Right now, with every secret drone attack and their concomitant killing of civilians, we are creating people who despise us. Would you not feel the same in similar circumstances? We need accountability and transparency about our use of drones, not secret kill lists and secret decisions on deploying drones.

Congress must rein in the president’s war making power, a power that has badly corrupted two presidents so far.

Constitutionally, only Congress has the power to declare war, and Congress must retrieve that power and that right in order to prevent further wars of choice and illegal military actions that hurt our standing in the global community. Many consider us little more than a swaggering thug.

Third, we need to repeal the USA Patriot Act (PL 107-56), which has led to the permanent militarization of our domestic life by expanding surveillance laws that shred constitutional protections, while at the same time reducing proper and needed civilian external oversight.

As a much-needed first step, I would urge you to support the Wyden-Udall-Blumenthal-Paul legislation to reform domestic surveillance laws and the secret surveillance court.

Fourth, we need to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and put an end to indefinite detention, which is a gross violation of human rights and dignity.

Please support legislation to allow Guantanamo detainees to be transferred or released. This is a glaring blight on what we purport to be a basic ideal under our system of government.

It is time we buried this poisonous idea of endless war. Endless war breeds endless war because violence only leads to more violence, never peace.

If we want to end terrorism, let’s address its roots — lack of basic needs such as food, water, health care, education, and meaningful job opportunities for millions of people. Let’s offer our help in those areas, rather than shredding lives with drone strikes.

We need a foreign policy that seeks peaceful solutions to problems, solutions that protect the most vulnerable — especially women and children — strengthen and advance the rule of law, give no handouts to lawless governments, and replace fear-driven militarism — our present approach—with restorative approaches that heal.

To continue on our present course will lead to inevitable shipwreck.

Craig Etchison

Fort Ashby, W.Va.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • July 20, 1969 July 20, 1969

    When Apollo 11 landed on the moon 45 years ago today, it was until that time the mostwatched television programming in history.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stopgap

    Kicking the can down the road was one of the things American kids did to pass the time in the old days, particularly if they lived in rural areas where there was little traffic to contend with.

    July 16, 2014

  • Maryland on target to meet 2025 bay restoration goals

    July 16, 2014

  • Tough luck Tough luck

    The state has for a second time declined to help Allegany County get federal flood recovery funds in the wake of the June 12 storm.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Heard it all Heard it all

    Pesky thing, this requirement that political candidates file campaign finance reports.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Build it now Build it now

    Anticipated savings from demolition work that will provide ground for a new Allegany High School on Haystack Mountain may allow the addition of an auditorium at the school.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Get on with it

    Now that Maryland State’s Attorney General Doug Gansler has been asked to help with the investigation of the McCoole Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department it is our hope that the probe regains traction.

    July 12, 2014