I’m really feeling good about myself right now because I finally figured out how to respond to you on this format (sad, I know). I empathize with your family, Mr. Heaton. The only reason I told you what I did about my family is so that you might understand that when our country’s history is put under rigid scrutiny, I feel that my family is under that scrutiny, as well. Hence, some of the source of the emotion. We are in complete agreement about the U.S. government’s mistreatment of almost every native American group it came in contact with. The list is endless: broken treaties, theft, forced relocation, brutal massacres, etc. etc. Now, when I speak of inevitability, I am engaging in realpolitik, or common sense. Do you not agree that if we had not taken the territory now comprising the U.S., Spain, France, Holland, or eventually someone else would have? I heard a smart Cherokee young lady say back in the 90’s that what happened was inevitable, but the way in which it was done is unconscionable. That’s pretty much where I have always stood. Our federal government has a long history of ineptitude, varying amounts of corruption, short-sightedness, and just plain old stupidity. Yes, we the people have always been ultimately responsible for this. I am truly thankful that you seem to be giving the use of the word genocide more thought. It is a code word that you may not be aware of from the 60’s and 70’s which immediately identified the speaker as belonging to the radical left just as the word Ni…. identified the speaker as white trash. Let’s move on about the question of your feelings about this country. I understand you enough now that I know you love our country. This country has so many things to be proud of. One of the main ones is your freedom to put its history under the microscope. I’ll answer your question about Iraq, but before I do, I must say that you bring up more subjects in a shorter stretch of text than anyone I’ve communicated with in a long time, so I have some disclaimers (sort of). I am not in the habit of talking or writing much at all. I used to be, but the ones I did this with have been dead a long time. So, I’m kind of sensitive about boring people and taking up their time. Don’t feel like you have to keep writing me, feel free to leave off at any time. Really.
My personal history with Iraq is the fact that my son was a combat infantryman in the “triangle of death” area west of Baghdad on the road to Fallujah for better than a year. To say that I sweated bullets during that time is a serious understatement. The President’s primary argument for invasion was weapons of mass destruction. I remember telling my wife at the time when she asked me if they existed that they better. It was a very serious mistake to use that reason as justification. Did Iraq have wmd? Of course they did. They used nerve gas against the Kurds and all reputable intelligence agencies that I know about agreed with us that he had them. In the first Persian Gulf war Saddam sent his air force to Iran to be grounded so it wouldn’t be destroyed. He probably sent what VX agent he had to Syria. But, I never thought that was the reason which should have been given. If I had been the president, I probably would have gone in for three reasons which I would have presented to the American people in candor and ahead of the event. First, we needed to pursue Al Quaeda and related units in Iraq which existed in enough strength to have a fort in the north. Secondly, we needed a permanent Army base with airfields in Iraq because of its central location, which I don’t think ever entered Bush’s mind. Thirdly, we needed a jihadi magnet over there which would help keep them out of the U.S. I much prefer them fighting trained soldiers than reeking havoc in New York or Dallas. This third thing is the only one which the boys accomplished and which was good only as long as they were there. Helping Iraq become a democracy speaks to Bush’s idealism and naievete and fundamental decency. It is also completely unrealistic because it is anathema, really, to their cultural concepts (sharia law, the caliphate, and the rest). I’m afraid you’re not going to get me to join you on the libertarian plank of strict non-intervention, but you should know that I expect extreme care exercised by our government when it comes to this sort of activity. I can tell you that your general dislike of so many U.S. installations around the world is shared by me. We need to scale it back dramatically. You might could have talked me out of Iraq if you had been the Secy of State. My reasoning is based on military strategy and tactics and the way I believe you should conduct warfare which is total and as quickly as possible. I despise war above all things. I’m going to briefly act like you and bring up another subject: I strongly feel the war powers act needs to be revoked so that the decision to conduct war resides back in Congress where it belongs. All for now except give me some indication you received this so I’ll know I did it right. Sorry about the computer ineptitude.