[sixties-l] reaching people re peace and war and such

Date: Thu Nov 14 2002 - 22:12:51 EST

  • Next message: jeffrey blankfort: "Re: [sixties-l] Who Will Lead? (fwd)"

    This statement seems as accessible as they come, one that can really reach
    people. The importance of which we learned in the sixties, I think.
    >   This appeared in the Nov. 11 Washington Post. Sean

    >   Penn paid $56,000 to have this appear. It took almost

    >   an entire page.



    >   An Open Letter to the President of the United States

    >   of America


    >   Mr. Bush:


    >   Good morning sir. Like you, I am a father and an

    >   American. Like you, I consider myself a patriot. Like

    >   you, I was horrified by the events of this past year,

    >   concerned for my family and my country. However, I do

    >   not believe in a simplistic and inflammatory view of

    >   good and evil. I believe this is a big world full of

    >   men, women, and children who struggle to eat, to love,

    >   to work, to protect their families, their beliefs, and

    >   their dreams. My father, like yours, was decorated for

    >   service in World War II. He raised me with a deep

    >   belief in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as

    >   they should apply to all Americans who would sacrifice

    >   to maintain them and to all human beings as a matter

    >   of principle.


    >   Many of your actions to date and those proposed seem

    >   to violate every defining principle of this country

    >   over which you preside: intolerance of debate ("with

    >   us or against us"), marginalization of your critics,

    >   the promoting of fear through unsubstantiated

    >   rhetoric, manipulation of a quick comfort media, and

    >   position of your administration's deconstruction of

    >   civil liberties all contradict the very core of the

    >   patriotism you claim. You lead, it seems, through a

    >   blood-lined sense of entitlement. Take a close look at

    >   your most vehement media supporters. See the fear in

    >   their eyes as their loud voices of support ring out

    >   with that historically disastrous undercurrent of rage

    >   and panic masked as "straight tough talk." How far

    >   have we come from understanding what it is to kill one

    >   man, one woman, or one child, much less the

    >   "collateral damage" of many hundreds of thousands.

    >   Your use of the words, "this is a new kind of war" is

    >   often accompanied by an odd smile. It concerns me that

    >   what you are asking of us is to abandon all previous

    >   lessons of history in favor of following you blindly

    >   into the future. It worries me because with all your

    >   best intentions, an enormous economic surplus has been

    >   squandered. Your administration has virtually

    >   dismissed the most fundamental environmental concerns

    >   and therefore, by implication, one gets the message

    >   that, as you seem to be willing to sacrifice the

    >   children of the world, would you also be willing to

    >   sacrifice ours.


    >   I know this cannot be your aim so, I beg you Mr.

    >   President, listen to Gershwin, read chapters of

    >   Stegner, of Saroyan, the speeches of Martin Luther

    >   King. Remind yourself of America. Remember the Iraqi

    >   children, our children, and your own.


    >   There can be no justification for the actions of Al

    >   Qaeda. Nor acceptance of the criminal viciousness of

    >   the tyrant, Saddam Hussein. Yet, that bombing is

    >   answered by bombing, mutilation by mutilation, killing

    >   by killing, is a pattern that only a great country

    >   like ours can stop. However, principles cannot be

    >   recklessly or greedily abandoned in the guise of

    >   preserving them.


    >   Avoiding war while accomplishing national security is

    >   no simple task. But you will recall that we Americans

    >   had a little missile problem down in Cuba once. Mr.

    >   Kennedy's restraint (and that of the nuclear submarine

    >   captain, Arkhipov) is to be aspired to. Weapons of

    >   mass destruction are clearly a threat to the entire

    >   world in any hands. But as Americans, we must ask

    >   ourselves, since the potential for Mr. Hussein to

    >   possess them threatens not only our country, (and in

    >   fact, his technology to launch is likely not yet at

    >   that high a level of sophistication) therefore, many

    >   in his own region would have the greatest cause for

    >   concern. Why then, is the United States, as led by

    >   your administration, in the small minority of the

    >   world nations predisposed toward a preemptive military

    >   assault on Iraq?


    >   Simply put, sir, let us re-introduce inspection teams,

    >   inhibiting offensive capability. We buy time, maintain

    >   our principles here and abroad and demand of ourselves

    >   the ingenuity to be the strongest diplomatic muscle on

    >   the planet, perhaps in the history of the planet.


    >   The answers will come. You are a man of faith, but

    >   your saber is rattling the faith of many Americans in

    >   you.


    >   I do understand what a tremendously daunting task it

    >   must be to stand in your shoes at this moment. As a

    >   father of two young children who will live their lives

    >   in the world as it will be affected by critical

    >   choices today, I have no choice but to believe that

    >   you can ultimately stand as a great president. History

    >   has offered you such a destiny. So again, sir, I beg

    >   you, help save America before yours is a legacy of

    >   shame and horror. Don't destroy our children's future.

    >   We will support you. You must support us, your fellow

    >   Americans, and indeed, mankind.


    >   Defend us from fundamentalism abroad but don't turn a

    >   blind eye to the fundamentalism of a diminished

    >   citizenry through loss of civil liberties, of

    >   dangerously heightened presidential autonomy through

    >   acts of Congress, and of this country's mistaken and

    >   pervasive belief that its "manifest destiny" is to

    >   police the world. We know that Americans are

    >   frightened and angry. However, sacrificing American

    >   soldiers or innocent civilians in an unprecedented

    >   preemptive attack on a separate sovereign nation, may

    >   well prove itself a most temporary medicine. On the

    >   other hand, should you mind and have faith in the best

    >   of this country to support your leadership in

    >   representing a strong, thoughtful, and educated United

    >   States, you may well triumph for the long haul. Lead

    >   us there, Mr. President, and we will stand with you.


    >   Sincerely,

    >   Sean Penn

    >   San Francisco, California >>

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