Oftentimes when someone dies, their family asks that donations be made in lieu of flowers. If the person succumbed to cancer, for example, the appropriate donation might be to the American Cancer Society where your money can be given in honor of the deceased for the purpose of saving lives. It’s a gesture by Jim that can really make a difference, compared to Longworth a floral spray or a heartfelt “I’m so sorry.” columnist And that brings me to the political spectacle at Fort Hood last week.
President Obama and a number of other Washington notables flew to Texas to offer their condolences and make emotional speeches. But while mourners were choking back tears during the televised memorial service, I was choking on the hypocrisy of it all. That’s because the very men who showed up to honor the fallen dead were, in part, responsible for those who fell. Joining Obama were senators who supported the wrong-headed, immoral invasion of Iraq, then continued funding the war even after they knew that Saddam had no WMDs, and had nothing to do with 9-11. And there was Obama himself, who could have singlehandedly ended our entanglements months ago had he chosen to do so.
Because of their actions in prolonging an unjust war, crazy Malik Hasan went over the edge when faced with deployment to Afghanistan, which he saw as a betrayal of his Muslim faith. Yet even in the wake of the Fort Hood massacre, the president is about to send more troops overseas to act as cannon fodder for al-Qaida, and give radical Muslims continued reason to hate us for our misplaced aggression.
So what should Obama have done last week? For starters his memorial remarks should have marked a sea change in American policy. Something like this:
“Today I come to you with a heavy heart and unclean hands. My colleagues and I in Washington did not participate directly in the murder of your loved ones, but we are indirectly responsible nonetheless for the circumstances that triggered this attack. America had no legitimate reason to invade Iraq, nor any cause for extending the violence into Afghanistan. As a result, more than 4,000 American soldiers and over a half million innocent men, women and children have lost their lives.
Our arrogant aggression has stirred hatred for us among many Muslims, and given radical individuals like Major Hasan a twisted rationale for retaliation against us. This hatred and violence must stop, but I cannot stop it by simply bringing you my condolences or by presenting you with a wreath of flowers. Instead, I choose to honor your dead and all those who have gone before them, by saving lives in their name. Effective immediately, I am issuing an Executive Order which will remove all armed US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan by Christmas of this year. The returning troops will have a much deserved rest, then I will deploy them along our nation’s borders to work hand in hand with domestic law enforcement agencies in keeping our citizens safe. At the same time, we will better monitor those in the military whose behavior warrants it. And I will also order that monies already authorized for the war be redirected to pay for affordable health care coverage for all Americans. America will always have enemies. There will always be psychotic individuals who seek to do us harm. And I assure you that we will deal swiftly and harshly with those people. But I pledge to you going forward that not one more American soldier or civilian will die as a result of any unprovoked aggression on our part. This Executive Order, then, will stand as a monument to all those who have lost their lives since 9-11, and in particular those who fell here last week. They did not die in vain because their deaths will serve as a catalyst for change and a formula for peace. You should also know that my Executive Order will be named the Fort Hood Act, and that just above my signature will be the phrase ‘In Lieu of Flowers.’”
Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cable channel 15).