Its a matter of being fair

FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday, March 26, 2003


For the past two months and certainly since the beginning of the invasion of Iraq, I have been noticing the changing tone of this web site and since it is the main thing in my life at this time, it really concerns me that the intense feelings and arguments expressed about the behaviour of the United States and its leadership, have both dominated the discussion here, but I also have watched as the over all situation is becoming more and more unpleasant.




Some writers who contribute to this site have consistently identified the things that would suggest that something is going seriously wrong and I share many of those opinions based on my own deep and life long conviction in the need for moral behaviour and conduct on a personal, national and international arena. Other writers have declared their allegiance to the United States and its actions and I have posted their arguments and done my best to illustrate them with the best graphics I have time to construct, so that as we look at this web site, we get some balance. I have rejected two contributions, one condemning the United States and the other Canadaís failure to support the United States, and both for the same reason. Both of these rejected articles were essentially the use of invectives and what amounts to name calling, rather than an intellectual discussion of the issues and supporting arguments from references to bolster the opinions expressed.



put in


In the course of this time, I have had a few short emails condemning me for the opinions expressed and in two instances I have engaged in illuminating discussion through several emails from Americans who have explained their countryís position. Unfortunately, these discussions just are too difficult to whip into a readable story to share with you, but they certainly have helped me clarify my feelings and formulate the opinions that I have. Perhaps if there is anything to be gained by reading this story today, or future stories on this site, it is the benefit of solid discussion and the exchange of ideas that really helps us to understand things. Thatís one of the reasons I would encourage you to participate and pass on your feelings and opinions, because the move from passive to active is something that would really add to the way you see things. The one provision that I would ask though, is that you do your best to back up what you say. This web site is a dynamic and interactive form of media and as such, allows for the inclusion of references in the form of links to what others say and what others think. (A reader in Palo Alta California sent the back and front images of the American Dollar you see on this page to me)




We have Mario deSantis to thank for exploring this form of communications. Mario gets to work almost every day and puts hours of research into each topic, as he works his way through the incredible amount of material that is out there on the web and from his research, he puts together a summary of what he has found, with some pictures that illustrate the story. Without his references, his stories seem like blasts of opinion, but when you combine them with the references he includes, you find he has provided you with a picture of that issue, unique to this web site and truly informative. You do not need to agree with his findings, because he is reporting to you what others have said, and this makes for intelligent understanding and a means of digesting very difficult problems. Because so many of the worldís news web sites are not archived, but their stories remain available only for a few days, we are more and more, taking these references and turning them into PDF resources, archived on this site.




In todayís stories, once again you will see that we have both condemnation of the American policy of war, and sincere support for the Americans themselves.



spell it

What prompted me to set about presenting some discussion about the whole and bigger picture we are seeing both on this web site and on the minute by minute news coverage, is that I feel personally upset about the direction I see things headed and as I have said so many times before, that by the time we recognise something for what it is, it is already a historical event. Grimly, aware of this, I am compelled in this lengthy discussion today, to spell out some of the things that I have discovered and I am now aware, and therefore, firmly believe that we have passed the point where these elements of our present have reached a point where we must take out our convictions, those things we hold dearly as important, and call what we see, what it really is.




As a psychologist, a former school administrator and parent with grown children, it is extremely important to clarify some major and fundamental things right here at the beginning of this discussion. When someone does something that you does not meet your approval, it is the mature adult thing to realise, that what is inappropriate, is what that person did. Their action is worthy of condemnation, but that in no way impinges on your genuine feelings for the individual. Your little boy tells a lie to his teacher, it is wrong and you help him to understand that he had made a big mistake, but that does not make you dislike your little boy, you still love him dearly. The condemnation I have for the actions, the behaviours of the government and the people of the United States, does not in anyway infer that I hate them, that I am anti-American, or think that they are bad. What it does mean is that what they have, and are doing, is wrong and they need to become aware of their mistake, so that they can be better neighbours and be spared the horrors of future retribution because of the mistakes they have made.




You may find this hard to accept, but after having spent fifty-nine years on this planet, I have found only one person who truly hated someone, and life after life has shown me that people are all just trying to do their best. This does not mean that I am above holding a grudge, for unfortunately, I have a very hard time forgiving people for the actions they may have taken, but my ill feelings are directed and focused on their behaviour, not on them. I am angry and upset with the decision of the United States president to invade a country, but I am more than able to understand and accept George Bush, as a human being who has made a big mistake.



to long

At this point I must apologise for the length of this discussion and wish I had the gift to compress these thoughts into fewer words, but alas this is a piece that is far to long and were I not the editor, I would definitely chop this thing down because it taxes your patience to work through what I am explaining.




I recall for you the opening remarks in the American constitution, Thomas Jefferson, the slave owner who wrote so eloquently said, ďWe hold these truths to be self evident.Ē




Thatís where I want to begin. There are some fundamental issues at stake here and they go to the very basic and foundation of my upbringing, the roots of the culture from which I grew up and the principles I accept and consider proper and core to being a civilised gentleman and a person of honour. To consider these issues, let us think about them in terms of questions.


at 16 things were simpler but right and wrong were the same as now


Q. Is violence sometimes okay?


  1. Violence is a sign of weakness, those who must resort to force, to get what they want are lowering themselves and admitting they are wrong, if they have to use violence in any situation. Unlike many, I believe it is your duty to defend yourself, if you are physically attacked, for you have responsibilities to yourself and your family and must not forfeit your life without resistance. But he who instigates a fight is always in the wrong. In hockey, a five-minute penalty, and a ten-minute misconduct and in most leagues ejection from the game, if the attack results in an injury, the attacking player may be suspended from future play.




Q. But what if you think someone is about to attack you;
can you attack them first to protect yourself from them?
  1. No. No one can give you the right to instigate a fight because you are only responsible for you and at no time can you ever be sure what others are doing. If you are attacked, you can defend yourself, but attacking someone because they might attack you, makes you in the wrong.




Q. Is it all right to tell a lie, even if it is for a good reason?
  1. ďthou shalt not bear false witness.Ē That seems clear enough to me, people of honour expect others to trust them because they are in a position of responsibility and lying undermines that trust and demeans the position held, no matter what level it is. If you say that terrorists were training in Iraq and that is just cause to invade the country and know that where they were training was not in territory held or controlled by the government of Iraq, that is a lie. If you say that you are invading Iraq, because it has weapons of mass destruction and the United Nations inspectors have found no evidence of these weapons, you are disregarding the truth and that is a lie.




Q. Is torture acceptable?
  1. No. The torture of a person to get them to confess, or extract information is wrong and has been unacceptable in our culture since our country was established. Any information obtained by torture is not useable and any country that allows its officials to use torture is an illegal country and worthy of international condemnation and prosecution. It was reported today that two of the prisoners captured during fighting in Afghanistan and held in Cuba by the United States against the Geneva Convention died of blunt force trauma, in other words they were beaten to death.




Q. Is capital punishment justifiable?
  1. No. Civilised people around the world no longer accept this form of permanent punishment. The taking of human life is not within the actions given to other humans, even if they act in concert with one another, they do not have that right. ďThou shalt not kill.Ē As Governor of Texas George Bush was responsible for 135 executions and yet he condemns the actions of dictator Saddam Hussein for permitting with the full knowledge and acceptance by his financial and armament supplier, United States, of thousands of his citizens. You might feel that 135 is not a big deal with the leader of Iraq responsible for deaths in the thousands, but I think one life is important, let alone 135, or thousands, or all those who will and have died in an unjust military conflict.




Q. Is it all right for the government of one country to decide who should govern another country?
  1. No. Diem, Salvador Allende, Fidel Castro, Patrice Lamumba, Muamar Ghadaffi , Suddam Hussein, all victims of the United States, or in Castro, Ghadaffi and Husseinís cases, attempted victims. Over the ages it has become international law not to interfere in the leadership of another sovereign nationís government, no matter what your country feels about them. The reason is simple, once begun, murder of leaders would make it open season on all world leaders. Regime change is not acceptable and has not been acceptable for over a hundred years. Countries who participate in government interference should be considered as accessories to the atrocities those whom they place in power. The people of Chile hold the United States responsible for placing the murderous dictator Pinochia in power after the United States carried out a coup murdering the democratically elected leader of the country. The thirty thousand Kurds slaughtered by the government of Iraq in its attempt to prevent a separatist uprising where killed with weapons supplied in part by the government of the United States and while the government of the United States encouraged the Kurds to revolt, yet provided them with no support when they launched their uprising. Suddam Husseinís accomplice in the killing of thirty thousand Kurds was George Bush, president of the United States and father of the man now president of that country.




Q. What about bribery?


  1. The use of bribes or threats of economic measures to coerce a nation is wrong. Honourable men and women reject the use of what is common place in business practices throughout the world. Here in Tisdale, a businessman thinks it is completely appropriate to control the content of a newspaper or publication if they are paying for advertising in that publication. Business accepts low-ball activity and feels that anything is all right as long as it does not result in legal prosecution. Kickbacks for sales, under the table gratuities, are standard in all levels of business. Yesterday, the CBC reported that ghost writers produce for pharmaceutical companies
    CBC's morning show, The Current reported on this issue Tuesday morning no web reference available.
    , articles favourable to a product, the usual fee for these articles is $30,000 and then pay $1,000 to a recognised medical authority to sign the article and submit it to medical journals. We all know that bribes are wrong; we also know that black mail is wrong. Yet the American president has brought business practices and the lack of ethical conduct to the administration of his country because he doesnít know any better. It is not because he is evil or a bad man, his education and background have taught him that the Enron way is the right way and so when he and his government decided to invade Iraq, they set about getting agreement by offering Turkey $30 billion and loan guarantees to countries all around the globe, with all sorts of deals, just to get helpless and impoverished countries to go along with a plan that was wrong. Is it reasonable to assume that the government of England has willingly followed the United States in this venture?




Q. Isnít business, business?


  1. No. Honourable men and women reject the jungle activity of business. All across this country Chambers of Commerce and company workers in Alberta who all work for American owned companies, fear that because Canada is not frothing at the mouth and having our soldiers out in Iraq getting bombed by American drugged up pilots, we will lose business and contracts. Americans will take it out on us as a country, using financial threats to coerce their will upon us. If they choose to stoop we must remember who and what we are. Political and economic prostitution is still prostitution.




Q. Is it all right to take drugs if you are in the military and it is common practice or required to use drugs?
  1. No. A Canadian officer was successfully prosecuted for refusing to take a dangerous and untested immunisation during the 1991 Gulf war. Sometimes honourable men will have to take the consequences for hold their principles above either common practice or military command. The two air force pilots involved in killing four Canadians and wounding eight others in Afghanistan were hopped up on drugs that have labels that indicate that they will impair judgement and a person using such medication should not operate heavy equipment.




Q. Its alright to have a bunch of high aflutten principles, but donít we live in the real world and have to sometimes make compromises?


  1. Slippery slope thinking. Because America is our major trading partner we should do what they want, even when we know it is wrong. If it is wrong, it is wrong. If there are consequences, so be it, at least we will know in our hearts that we were true to what we believe and accept the laws and morals of a civilised society. Brian Mulroney, Stephen Harper, Ralph Kline each have dedicated their lives to being servants of foreign masters. We need not condemn them personally, for indeed, they are doing what they think is right for themselves and those who have placed them in positions of power. Each man obtained his position as a result of his dedication to those who contributed to each of their campaigns, American owned and operated companies and they are merely carrying out the directions they believe that goes with accepting that money. Mulroney worked his whole life for American corporations. Harper published and has declared himself a true Alberta separatist dedicated to doing what he can to make an independent Alberta. Ralph Klein is a Calgary politician supported by the oil companies and their employees all of which are owned and operated from the United States. Be true to yourself and understand the basic principles of right and wrong, as you know them to be, no matter what it costs, nothing can harm you more than sacrificing your honour and integrity.




Q. Saddam Hussein is a bad guy?


  1. On his own he would be like any other man on this planet no more and no less. His power, his success as a leader is not due to his efforts but to those who have supported him. Those who have sold him the arms, those who used his brutal leadership to control the country, and those who have used him to fight wars for them must share in what he has done. Like every other person he is a creation assembled from his surroundings and those who determined they wanted him to act on their behalf.




Q. Are the Iraqi forces guilty of atrocities and breaking the rules of war?


  1. They are at war for Godís sake, fighting to defend their lives from a massed force of 300,000 Americans and 5,000 Englishmen. Spies are all over their country focusing lasers on targets to guide bombs and monitor their troop movements. Their country has been forced to disarm under the agreement that ended the 1991 war and yet they are forced now to defend themselves with what ever there is at hand. It is their duty to defend themselves. Their surrendering prisoners of war are shown on American television and the bodies of their dead seen on the screens around the world and yet when they capture a few Americans and British CNNís Aaron Brown went ballistic claiming they have violated the Geneva Convention. While 664 prisoners of war from Afghanistan, including a sixteen year old Canadian are held in Cuba by Americans without trial, tortured and all of the provisions of the Geneva convention completely ignored. Every act by the Iraqis is an atrocity when viewed by Americans and oddly as it seems, bombing and killing Iraqi people, even careful bombing and killing, seems as far from liberation as it can get.




Q. Isn't there some responsibility that goes with being the only "superpower" in the world?


  1. At the end of World War II we as a race felt that we had seen enough wars for a long time and it was decided that a world government was needed to prevent the arising of another aggressor alliance like that of Germany, Italy and Japan and so in 1945 the United Nations was establish in San Francisco. But the ugliness of political confrontation from the turn of the century was still in play and the Cold War between the East Block and the West produced the "mutually assured destruction" situation that made defence spending main priority for forty years. When the Cold War ended the United States did not stop spending on defence but continued building and arming itself. It may be because of the huge military industrial complex, or just force of habit, but after the end of the Cold War Canada and other peaceful nations decided to reduce spending on weapons and concentrate on other things. The "law" of international conduct assured the world that conflicts like the current one were things of centuries past. No one needs weapons in a peaceful world. The United States and its weapons have decided that might is right and what has begun around the globe is a massive shift back into armaments, to defend against the possible invasion and domination by the world's last superpower. Today both India and Pakistan tested their nuclear warhead deliver systems. The responsibility rests with no one country for the order and peace of the world, that rests with the United Nations which the United States has ignored and now calls irrelevant, only because democracy, world democracy, did not recognise the selfish interests of the United States.




Q. Why do you condemn this war so strongly?
  1. I believe in fairness.




As a kid I have experienced bullying, burned into my memory was my dedication to being the best kid I could be and I carried with me a small New Testament to a church organised boys group, the Tyros. I was ten and one of the boys grabbed it from my pocket and they began tossing it around between them, I remember tears on my cheeks from the teasing and taunting, their grins and cruelty and I remember the way the anger built in me toward such behaviour. It wasnít fair and it was I who was sent home by the group leader because Jimmy Cairns was the one who was holding my book when I used force to take it from him.

It is as children we learn about what it is liked to be ganged up on and it is as children we learn that to be a part of a gang harassing some poor kid gives one no honour and affords one no self respect. Bullies at any level are weak cowards who only attack those least able to defend themselves and they use misinformation to justify their process of picking on the victim. I loathe and despise that process. I deserved to be sent home for it was time for me to learn that my personal honour and dignity depended upon me not resorting to violence.



the weak

The United States is not attacking Russia, China or even Korea, countries that are able to defend themselves. They are picking on weak and defenceless victims. Places like Afghanistan, the 23,000,000 people of Iraq, are as helpless as Granada and Panama, which they attacked in the past. The land of the not so free and the brave, are people of a country that is a bully. It is not right, the United States encouraged Iraq to fight Iran on their behalf (Tonight's CBC Fifth Estate, The Forgotten People) and when Iraq overstepped its bounds and invaded Kuwait the world assisted America to return Iraq to its borders, but having forced disarmament and using the UN as means to gain an advantage to make its invasion easier, this fight just isnít fair. Their military commander in a briefing pointed out that war isnít fair and one wonders how bullies sleep at night knowing they are bullies.

Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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