Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Dear Faiza,

...... and I live in Vermont in America. I wrote to your son Raed" a few days ago and he suggested that I write to you. I wanted to read some of your blogs and the responses to them before I wrote to you.

I have a daughter in the United States Army, she is in Baghdad. She didn't join the Army to fight a war, she joined to learn some skills and to earn some money towards a college education. Here is some of what she writes. "I get worried everytime there is a mission and soldiers go out, I look at their faces and wonder if I will see them again alive. I would like to go out and meet the people here, make friends, take pictures, and shop. I ask myself if it is worth my life and the answer is no, so I stay in camp all the time and work (building shelves) and pray. I am OK with myself, and I think the Creator is Ok with me too. If it is my time then it is my time, I am ready. I don't know what life is like after death, but it can't be worse than this."

My daughter's name is Melinda and she is 24 years old. She is as much a victim of the War Hawks in America as you are.

I can not speak for all Americans, as we are not all the same. This is a very large country with people of all nationalities and religions. Our family was against any military action on the part of America. While its true that we don't have a draft, anyone already in the Military has to follow orders or they will go to jail. Many of the troops in Iraq were in the Military Reserves, units that met on one weekend each month and for two weeks each summer to practice their skills. They never expected to be called to War, we've had lots of years of peace and thought War was behind us.

Why did we think that? For one thing the media here was just not reporting on what was going on in the rest of the world and we had our heads in the sand. The question heard around America after 9/11 was why? Why do they hate us so much? Why would they want to kill us? I am as guilty as anyone else, I didn't understand why either.

Any American that wants the truth has to get on the internet and read, and read, and read. The American media is just now starting to let little bits of the truth trickle into the news, and this is in response to questions from Americans. One viewer emailed a TV show tonight and asked why the media reported the number of American deaths in Iraq every day and never said a word about how many Iraqi citizens died? The answer, "because the government doesn't want you to know." I know only because I read Aljazeera in English every day.

Americans are not completely without rights. We still have the right to free speech, the right to demonstrate, and the right to vote. All our representatives in WA have email addresses and we can write to them to let them know how we feel. We can write to the president and let him know too. Now I am not foolish enough to think that the president is going to read my email, but I know that there is someone in charge of counting the emails that are against the occupation and giving that information to the president, he wants to get elected again after all.

And thank God, a president can only remain in office for two terms of four years each. As Bush has demonstrated, a lot of harm can be done in just one term, but at least we know that unlike a King or a Dictator, it won't last forever.

In one of your blogs you spoke about how men justify violence and killing in the name of God. It reminded me of the time I was talking about the American Civil War to a group of young school children. We were reading letters written by the Generals on both sides. The Generals were all sure that God was with them. An eleven year old boy asked me "which side was God on". I had to tell him that I believed God hated war and was not on either side.

War is always the same, the old men plan it and use the young people to fight it. You are only a terrorist if you are on the other side, otherwise you are a brave soldier. It is so stupid that it is hard to understand why everyone in the world isn't just saying no more killing.

It is not surprising that the largest groups of protesters before the Iraq invasion were in New York city. The people there had a taste of killing and wanted peace more than they wanted revenge. Many other Americans wanted revenge, someone to blame, someone to hate. I guess that is human to a certain extent, but its still wrong.

I was raised a Catholic but I don't go to church anymore. The only thing I'm sure about is the 10 commandments and I do try to live by them. One of the commandments (that I believe to be the words of God) is simply "thou shalt not kill". God didn't say "thou shalt not kill except if you are in War".

I remember when my youngest son (who is nineteen now) was seven. He was trying to read the bible and he said, "Mom, I'm so confused. I want to be a good man when I grow up, but I can't figure out what God wants of me". I told him God had ten rules and if he followed them he would be a good man. He asked me to write them down and I did. After he read them he said, "this is easy, if this is all God wants I can do it, I can be a good man."

I am sorry if I rambled in this email. I have so many thoughts to share. I don't expect you to write back, I know you are very busy. I will write again and tell you more about myself and my life.

You and your family are in my prayers. I pray myself to sleep every night, my list is very long and I hope that God is patient with me as I recite the names each night.

May God keep you safe,

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