MY LETTER TO GLENN BECK
Right-wing radio/TV host Glenn Beck made an astonishing admission the other day about the Iraq war. He said, “From the beginning, most people on the left were against going to Iraq. I wasn’t.”
“[Liberals] said we couldn’t force freedom on people,” Beck, who initially supported the Iraq War, reminded his listeners. “Let me lead with my mistakes. You were right. Liberals, you were right; we shouldn’t have.”
He went on to say he'd like to learn more about the reasons why people on the left knew what he did not in advance of the war. I thought it was a fair request and sent him the following response to his question.
Just listening to the tape of your show where you talk about right and left needing to find common ground and that “liberals” were right on Iraq. Thanks for that positive gesture.
I grew up in a military family and was Vice-Chair of Young Republican Club in 1968 in Okaloosa County (Florida panhandle). I joined the Air Force in 1971 during Vietnam war – had flunked my induction physical and had to get a waiver to get into military when most were trying to stay out. It was there that I became a peacenik. I’ve been one ever since.
But I’ve never forgotten my early conservative roots and in many ways still remain one – conservative on fiscal matters – $2 trillion wasted on Iraq war is not fiscal responsibility.....etc
Far too many people simplify everything into left-right categories and put people in boxes which is not helpful. I don’t like divide and conquer tactics.
To answer your heartfelt question – why did I oppose the Iraq war early on? Here are a few reasons:
1) It was indeed about oil and never about liberty or democracy
2) The oil corporations had met with V-P Cheney early on and essentially created a plan to carve up Iraq
3) Many experts were telling us that Iraq had no WMD and I believed their testimony
4) I knew it would be a military disaster for US troops and for Iraqi people – look into the US use of depleted uranium and the terrible impact on US GI’s and Iraqi people. We have a dear friend in Florida who was in Iraq and like so many vets her health is shot after being exposed to DU during the Persian Gulf war.
5) This endless war cycle is bi-partisan as both parties get big campaign contributions from the military industrial complex – something the Republican president Eisenhower warned us about. We’ve now seen his prophesy come home to roost.
6) Our domestic economy has been hollowed out and we virtually only do “security export” so it is no coincidence that we have to lurch from one war to the next. Our local communities are addicted to military production – virtually the only game in town anymore.
I could go on but you get the idea. I am not a liberal but a radical in the best sense of the word – trying to get to the root of the problem. I’ve opposed Obama (and Clinton before him) as well as opposing the Bush administrations. I’ve seen many of my “liberal” friends come to protests when Bush (I or II) were president and then sit back down when Clinton and/or Obama became president. That kind of politics drives me crazy.
Again I thank you for your good words and hope you can do more to find ways to unite the American people. I fear we are on the path to a domestic civil war which would be disastrous for the nation – for both left and right.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space