October 13, 2004
Mr. Henry J. Waters III
The Columbia Daily Tribune
I know it is too late to publish this as a letter to the editor. I hope it is not too late for this letter to persuade the editor. This letter is personally to the editor and publisher, Mr. Henry J. Waters III.
Dear Mr. Waters,
I am 44 years old. When I was growing up, the great villain was Russia. The Soviets were an evil empire. They imprisoned their citizens without trial and without justice. Their armies invaded foreign nations on flimsy pretexts and installed puppet governments. Their client nations, like North Vietnam, tortured our soldiers. Pravda meant “truth” but it was full of government propaganda and lies. The Soviets were a rogue nation. International law meant nothing to them.
Somehow the United States has become the new Russia. Even though the weapons inspectors found no weapons, Mr. Bush ordered an invasion. Many many Americans still believe that Iraq and Sadaam were involved in the 9/11 attacks, and it wasn’t true, but the President’s team led them on. Our soldiers have tortured, our soldiers have murdered. The Bush government got the legal opinions to justify torture and to set aside the Geneva Conventions.
On foreign soil there is an American Gulag. We have locked up thousands of men on the merest suspicion. At home, the Justice Department has led a continuing fight against fairness and accountability. There are secret laws, secret trials, secret prisoners. We are losing the principles of justice that make America special.
The President has bungled the occupation. He guessed wrong, over and over again. He fired the advisors who were right, and he listened to the yes-men who were wrong. Our soldiers are dying. We’re bankrupting the nation. We’ve pulled the home guard away from home, away from their families, away from their jobs.
The tax cuts to the richest were supposed to lead to more jobs, but the job numbers are low and the jobs have lower pay and lesser benefits. The administration crippled the air pollution laws that would protect my 7 year old son.
Sadaam is an evil man, and it is good that he is out of power, but the end does not justify the means or the cost. Will we be safer, in the long run? Not as long as the United States kills the innocent alongside the guilty, in front of the eyes of the world.
Mr. Waters, we must not rehire this President. I thank God that we have been given a strong and worthy candidate to oppose him. Senator Kerry is a man of sense. He is practical and pragmatic. Our forces are in Iraq, where the President put them, and we need Mr. Kerry to go to bat to support them. They need winnable goals, clear plans, and a chance to make it home alive.
Senator Kerry is not a perfect man or a perfect candidate, but I choose him over President Bush for his health care proposals, and I hope you will too. I choose Senator Kerry over the President for his economic stand and honesty, and I hope you will too, Mr. Waters. I choose Senator Kerry over the President for his military proposals, and I hope you will too. I choose Senator Kerry over the President for his foreign policy vision, and I hope you will too.
I urge you to endorse Senator John Kerry for President of the United States.