- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

Don’t Disgrace the American Flag in a War with Iraq

By:   •  Essay  •  1,379 Words  •  May 8, 2010  •  759 Views

Page 1 of 6

Don’t Disgrace the American Flag in a War with Iraq

Don’t Disgrace the American Flag in a War with Iraq

Everywhere I go, I see American flags. Taped to people's windows, sewn onto pockets, worn in a band around the arm. People call it the unification of America, the great coming-together of a wounded people, a show of support and of national feeling from every corner of our nation. Patriotism, they call it, and proudly display their red, white, and blue.

And yet I wonder if they know what that flag represents. I read the polls, and I find that the majority of Americans want vengeance, even at the cost of war with many countries. I watch the news, and I see our president preparing our troops to invade Iraq-all the while standing in front of the stars-and-stripes, the symbol of our nation. Doesn't he remember what America means?

Everyone talks about the war in terms of our best interests. "If we attack Iraq, we incur more anger; we create more enemies willing to die to hurt us." "If we don't, we appear weak, and more will strike at us, knowing that they can do so without fear of retribution." I leave such questions to the pundits. They are important considerations, no doubt. But they are not American considerations.

America isn't about our best interests. It's about the sacrifice of practicality to principle, of self-interest to the soul. Long ago, we decided that things like Freedom and Justice were real, and that they were worth preserving, even when it wasn't easy, or pleasant. We believed so much in these principles that we set down laws, so that we might never sacrifice Freedom for Security, or Justice for Revenge. And so we protect the Klan's right to march, to shout out hate-slogans and burn crosses in our streets. We forbid racial-profiling, when, let's face it, more crimes are committed by African-Americans than by Caucasians.

And, most painful of all, we protect the rights of criminals. We work hard to give them fair trials, and grant them appeals, and throw out case after case for lack of airtight evidence. We insist that it is better to let a hundred guilty men go free, than to imprison a single innocent one. And we do this at the cost of our own security, at the cost of more criminals on the streets. We accept the hurt that their crimes bring us, because we would rather suffer those blows than have innocent blood on our hands.

Yet let me tell you what we will do now. We will wage war on Iraq, because they will not turn over our chosen sacrifice. And we will not just harm the Taliban. Many people will die, not just the guilty few. It will be the janitor on the night shift, the father hurrying home to his family, the children playing soccer on the sidewalk. It will be the families starving because supply lines are broken, because food is hoarded for the army, because the waters are tainted with missle-fuel. There will be more women wandering the cities with pictures of their children. There will be more faces flitting from sorrow to anger to fear. There will be the scent of burning flesh, and anguish in the streets.

And it will be more than 5,000. It will be more than 5,000 innocents we condemn, as we seek out the Taliban's bunkers, as we comb the countryside to find Bin Laden gone. Thousands of deaths, for the sake of our rage, and our security, and the deaths of a few monsters rejoicing in American blood on their hands.

Don't be ashamed, America. It's natural, to be angry, and afraid, and to lash out at those who hurt us. We don't wan't to be hurt again. We want those who have killed us to die, those who have laughed at our suffering to suffer, so that no one will dare to hurt us again. And none if this is shameful. It is only human. But it is not American.

It is not American, to slay the innocent to satisfy our rage. It is not American, to sacrifice our principles for our protection.

So, by all means, call for war, to appease your demons of anger and fear. Call for vengeance, and "Justice," and blood-spilled-for-blood. But do not do your country the injustice of waving your flag. Be honest with yourselves, and take off your armbands and lapel-pins, take down the banners at your windows. And make for them a pyre, and burn our nation's

Continue for 5 more pages »  •  Join now to read essay Don’t Disgrace the American Flag in a War with Iraq
Download as (for upgraded members)