Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Opinion

September 18, 2012

Memory loss and politics

Greensburg — Dear Editor,

There is a profession for people who not only hope, but absolutely depend on people to have memory loss.

When people forget things, past behavior by this profession of people doesn't have to be forgiven if it's forgotten. The profession is, of course, politics.

Here's an example of something Mike Pence doesn't want you to remember: In April 2007, with three Black Hawk choppers and two Apache gun ships circling overhead, with more than 100 soldiers in armored humvees, and with sharpshooters posted on the roofs, Senator John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham, Representative Mike Pence and Representative Rick Renzi (all wearing bulletproof vests) made an excursion through Shorja market in Baghdad, Iraq.

In a news conference following the market tour, Pence made this incredulous statement: he had been inspired by the opportunity to "mix and mingle unfettered among ordinary Iraqis," drinking tea and haggling over carpets.

To him, the Baghdad shops were "like a normal outdoor market in Indiana in the summertime." After the tour of the market, the two Senators and two Representatives engaged in "happy" talk with the media, but when McCain returned to Washington, D.C., he angrily confronted Condoleeza Rice and exclaimed, "We may be about to lose the second war in my lifetime."

During this same time period, Mike Pence was sending out fliers proclaiming, "We are winning the war in Iraq."

By April 2007, every politician in Washington knew (at least those who wanted to know) that not only was the United States losing the war, but it had become apparent the Bush/Cheney administration and the neo-cons had led our nation into a war without reason or justification.

Pence knew this and he had a decision to make: He could do the right and honorable thing and tell his constituents and the American people the Iraq war was a terrible mistake, or he could inter a politician's "Twilight Zone" where truth, justice and morality are set aside for political expediency. Pence chose the latter.

The war took the lives of more than 4,000 Americans and added more than 30,000 seriously wounded. It has been estimated that between 50,000 and 150,000 Iraqi men, women and children lost their lives with many more seriously wounded or maimed.

Historians will give a damning condemnation of this nation's war with Iraq and for those who took us there.

All of the politicians Ñ Republican or Democrat Ñ who knew that our involvement was wrong, but said nothing, should be absolutely ashamed and resign in dishonor.

As for Pence, I consider him to be one of the poster children for everything that is wrong with the American political system. He blinds himself from integrity and honesty to further his own political ambitions.

In the March 15, 2012 edition of the Daily News, there was a published letter to the editor titled "In support of Christian values."

In this letter, Pence was defended for placing "faith and family first." Perhaps the God Mike Pence worships has given him a special exemption from telling the truth, or perhaps the God Mike Pence worships is named Grover Norquist.

We, as Americans, must remember that when a bullet enters the body of a small, innocent Iraqi child and life ends, then we, as human beings, must empathize with the family of that child and ask ourselves how we would feel if that child was ours.

If we, as fellow human beings, can't bring ourselves to do that, then we have lost our humanity.

John Vanderbur, Greensburg

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