Sunday, December 17, 2006

What do they think now?


As I mentioned in a previous post, certain family members and members of my church congregation reacted negatively to the Candlelight Peace Vigil which I coordinated in Gooding, Idaho fall of 2005.

As more and more people seem to realize that this war in Iraq is NOT about terrorism, I've wondered if these individuals would react the same if I held another Peace Vigil now.

It was announced in March that this administration is denying that they ever claimed that the war in Iraq was related to terrorism. "I never said there was a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and terrorism."

Excuse me? Haven't we heard "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" for three years? Haven't we been told that we are there to protect our freedoms and to keep America safe? How come over 70% of our military in Iraq thought that they were deployed to Iraq to protect America from further terrorist attacks? It sure makes me remember fondly when America's biggest concern was about definition of the word "is"...

So, I sit listening to Keith Obermann discuss Bush's denial of ever linking Iraq to 9/11 (as well as how Bush failed to prevent 9/11 in the FIRST PLACE!) and I'm truly wondering what those family members and church members are thinking now...

As I said before, the article regarding the Peace Vigil contained my picture and I was quoted as saying: "Let me tell you that my brother was killed in Iraq. And then let's see if you can say he died for an honorable cause." I truly don't remember saying those particular words, but my friend said that I did. Even though I wouldn't ever intend to state my opinion like I obviously did, I do confess that I don't think he died for an honorable cause. Was he brave? Was he loyal? Was he honorable? Yes, yes, yes. Was the cause honorable? NO. His life was wasted and it angers me to no end that people keep saying that he died to keep us free, to keep us safe, etc. Bullshit.

After the article was published, my cousins e-mailed me to tell me:
"Just wanted to say that [your brother] would have been horrified to see his name being used as political propaganda. Your comments in the article made me physically react and it staggers me. I am beyond words as to how you can think that your comments in anyway uplift our nation's troops ... I am saddened that you would blindside your entire family with an article that acted like a gut punch. ... I would hope that you see that all of us are affected by [your brother]'s death and treating it as solely your sorrow is purely selfish."

I received the following from a "fellow Christian" at my church:
"I have done a lot of praying about this email but ... I feel I must respond. You try so hard to sound , more knowledgeable, more moral and are more lost on topic than I ever imagined ... At first I tried to ignore it as just you seeking more attention but as you seem to feel the need to persist in attacking all of us who have children in the military, yes attacking, please don't deny, because that is what you are doing. You are attacking OUR belief system through the guise of the military and the President.... Diana, you seem to need to have to have yourself quoted and photographed weekly and that , I guess is your right, but just stop and think for a minute. How many of us are you hurting by your action and words? When did you decide that you knew more than the majority of us and especially our government? When did you get a degree in how to conduct government policy ? What do you say to all of the families of the 9/11 tragedy? That we should not have responded to the attack? That we should ignore and bury our heads in the sand? That we should just turn tail and run now because you don't believe in our government and our military? What would it look like to the enemies of our way of live, if we turned tail and ran now? What would it say to the families of the sacrifices they have made with the loss of their loved one? What does it say to our enemies? How does your actions as a "peace at all cost" help our country? Words and actions all have consequences and yours are causing many of us pain. Instead of addressing we the people with your propaganda, why don't you address the President and the military directly. I'm sure they need and would welcome your very wise and knowledgeable council. How could they not since you have all these degrees in foreign policy and seem to know what is best for all of us. Diana, you are hurting me, our community, our church, our military families and causing embarrassment and pain to your family. Is your need to be seen as more knowledgeable than most, more important that everything and everyone else? I feel betrayed and I feel you are hurting and causing harm to our country and our community. ...You are wrong to think now is the time to "turn tail" and run. It would only weaken our military by giving them another defeat, it would destroy the Iraqi people's chance for a better life, it would embolden the terrorist and it would weaken our country. Is that what you strive for? Now is the time for us to support our President, our military our families who are sacrificing all. I believe our President is a man of God. He is doing what he feels is best for our Country. We have to support and trust. We have to pull together as a nation. Now is not the time to question ,now is the time to support and get the job done. ... If you really believe in what you are doing and not just seeking attention then think your thoughts but please also think and respect all of us who disagree with your thoughts. You are causing a number of people to not even want to return to church because of your very "vocal" stand. I being one of them. It is very hard for me to even think of looking at you or have anything to do with you. You are hurting many, just understand that, you are hurting many of us. Our loyalty is to our troops, out President , our Country and to the lost soldiers and their families. I thank God every day for their sacrifices and I pray every day for this to be over soon but if it isn't then I will support and pray until the mission is accomplished no matter how long it takes. The terrorists will hit us again, I have no doubt, and I would much rather have the people who believe in our Country and the Military and the President covering my back than you. Think Diana of the pain you are causing and then pray for the people you have hurt by your words and actions. I am not expectations a response from you nor do I want one. It would be too difficult for me to be civil right now so please do not contact me."
The letter to the editor in the Times-News from my parents and sister-in-law stated:
"[my brother] would be further offended to be used as a pawn for those attempting to undermine our country's effort to combat terrorism and to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. He died for us and for all those people who may some day enjoy the freedom that we take for granted."
It has been over a year since those letters were written. Bush's approval rating is about 38% nationwide. Iraq seems to be in the middle of a civil war. Their well-publicized elections have not seemed to help our progress much. The President is denies the war in Iraq was ever directly linked to terrorists. Osama bin Laden seems to have been forgotten. The freedoms that America stands for are becoming a global joke... from the detainees and torture to wiretapping. Our citizens are suffering from lack of medical care, educational funding, energy costs, and natural disasters. Our environment (which my brother valued also) is becoming polluted and developed and sold to the highest bidder. The government has betrayed not only our citizens but also their own people. Over a two thousand more of my brother's men and women have died for this "cause".

I wonder what my family and fellow church members are thinking now... can they still say that they trust the president and that we are right not to question him? Can they still attempt to explain the so-called honorable cause my brother died for?


Jessica said...

The vindication the peace movement is experiencing and will experience will come with a heavy price.

Ziggist said...

I've been reading your blog for some time now and I've been amazed at your candor and fearlessness :) I guess when your family and neighbors have already turned on you there are few boogymen that you are afraid of.

I'm not in the Peace movement. I'm in the Anti-Stupidity movement and you write so well about the brain washing our feckless leader has seemed to create in the masses.

The sad thing is that with one little "Wag the Dog" event we'll be right back where we started.

Keep on your feet, you're doing good.

Diana Rowe Pauls said...

It's not "fearlessness"... to be quite honest, I am still frightened as to what reactions I may face when I run into others. I'm just exhausted and frustrated. I keep thinking of the quote:
"First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."
(by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945)

As I said on my blog, as hard as it is to speak up, it is much harder to have the consequences of our silence forced upon us. More Americans should have spoken up when we went into Iraq. We should have DEMANDED accountability. But if it didn't impact us personally, we went on with our merry little lives. Women in South Dakota don't mean anything to the rest of the nation. Homosexuals in Idaho aren't important to the rest of the nation. As long as WE aren't the ones on the no-fly list or otherwise considered a "security risk", do we really notice what rights are being stolen from us?

I'm scared out of my wits because I see so many Americans apathetic or too frightened to stand up and SHOUT: Enough is enough.

A friend of mine said, "If only someone would give Bush a blow job, THEN we could get him impeached." It's a funny comment, but it is insane as to how we allowed our country to be in upheaval over sexual shenanagins, but Bush can continue to virtually rape every citizen in our country (and even other countries)... and we just sit here?

I'm not fearless, I scared for myself, my family, and the future of America. What will life be like for my children if we continue letting America and all it stands for deteriorate like it has been?

MountainGoat said...

Diana, I feel horrible about how your family and community have treated you for simply taking a stand and for not being silent.

I've often thought of the Niemoller quote myself as I try talking to members of my family who seem to have no problem with torture, NSA spying and ethnic/racial profiling...I've even tried quoting from Animal Farm! I think slowly but surely, they are seeing things in a different light. I can't imagine how much more difficult it is for you, having lost someone to this insanity.

I watched a movie last week that I mentioned at RSR called Sophie Scholl: The Final Days that may have a little resonance for you. It's based on true events of anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl's life. Best movie I've seen in a while. Check it out sometime.

As a former member of the military myself it causes me great anguish to see the military broken and so ineptly led as it has been. We need more voices like yours who refuse to be silent.