Fauquier Times Democrat (Virginia)
By Huel Meadows, Warrenton
It would be easy to overlook ugly world events as something happening "over there," living as we do in beautiful Fauquier County. As responsible citizens we have been blessed with liberty, freedom and abundance that must not be taken for granted.
The world came closer to Fauquier County last week when the Democrat published "We can define a path toward truth," Linda Swanson's op-ed piece on the Downing Street Minutes.
This was a report of a secret meeting held on July 23, 2002, at Number 10 Downing Street, London, the Prime Minister's residence, at which President Bush's plans to invade Iraq and to "fix" the intelligence and facts around this policy were reported to high-level British officials.
The op-ed piece challenged concerned citizens to attend one of the over 300 events held around the country this past weekend marking the third anniversary of that secret meeting. I attended one of those local events last Saturday, July 23, 2005.
There were about 15 concerned local citizens present, and through video and audio film, and discussion. We learned that President Bush had secretly decided to go to war and made plans with Great Britain to do so well before he met with the U.S. Congress; that the President deliberately deceived the U.S. Congress and the American people in claiming that Iraq both had weapons of mass destruction and was linked to "9/11;" and that $700 million of our tax dollars were illegally diverted from the War in Afghanistan to attack Iraq well before war was actually "declared."
Congress must investigate this Administration's actions, and any officials found to have committed "high crimes" (which looks to be the case) must be held accountable. These are impeachable offenses.
Where is the public outrage? Do you like being lied to by our President? I don't. We could put our heads in the sand and let someone else (hopefully) take the bit and run with it. But if we want honest and moral leadership, we need to take part in shaping it, we have to demand it.
This war is affecting all of us right here on a personal level: friends and family gone to war, our liberties curtailed under the Patriot Act, national debt climbing daily, and the possibility that we could be attacked again because we've alienated so many other countries and peoples by our ill-conceived war and foreign policy.
We are not popular in the world. The money we've spent on this war comes to $183,102,600,000 in the entire U.S., and $5,311,954,000 in Virginia, as of July 25, 2005.
It could be used for new and better schools, better systems of transportation, cleaning up our environment, developing affordable renewable energy sources, making reparations to Iraq for all the damage we've done there, and providing medical care and affordable lifetime health insurance for veterans returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, and all wars.
Wars don't just happen "over there," freedom and liberties aren't lost only "over there."
These things can happen to us right here in Virginia, in Fauquier County. We're not immune. We must exercise our Constitutional rights, because freedom and democracy are not free.
Citizenship is not spectator sport; it requires action. I will continue to tell my elected representatives I want them to stop this war, and bring the troops home now.
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