stop, look and listen

stop, look, and listen before you cross the street; use your eyes, use your ears, and then you use your feet.

My parents taught me this rhyme when I was very small, and at the risk of sounding like one of those $13.95 gift books at Borders, I pass it along to you. It’s as true today as it ever was, except we’re not just crossing the street: we’re crossing an ocean and we’re doing it with weapons.

I want you to know what we did – what we did – in Afghanistan first.

You should first read what our government has written, in this 2000 report on human rights practices. And then you want to go back a few years, and read about communism and civil war in Afghanistan.

Perhaps you want to go even further back, but you complain that this is already taking up so much of your time. Here is a short history that may help, complete with timeline.

And after you understand what we did in Afghanistan, perhaps you can consider that I am as proud to be American as any of you are, but I am unwilling to pretend that “American” can be equated with “good” or “right”. Just like human beings are imperfect, so are the countries they populate and run. We have made mistakes, and although I have shed many tears for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we must bring away from this not a sense of vengeance but a sense of understanding … or we have lost all those lives for naught.

I agree, once again, with what Harry Browne has written: “Our foreign policy has been insane for decades. It was only a matter of time until Americans would have to suffer personally for it. It is a terrible tragedy of life that the innocent so often have to suffer for the sins of the guilty.”

Yes, this is the first tragedy. The second is if we begin nothing but another war.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.