Spare us the sympathy

by Jim Longworth

Spare us the sympathy

Oftentimes when someone dies, their family asks that donations be made in lieu of flowers. If the person succumbed to cancer, for example, the appropriate donation might be to the American Cancer Society where your money can be given in honor of the deceased for the purpose of saving lives. It’s a gesture by Jim that can really make a difference, compared to Longworth a floral spray or a heartfelt “I’m so sorry.” columnist And that brings me to the political spectacle at Fort Hood last week.

President Obama and a number of other Washington notables flew to Texas to offer their condolences and make emotional speeches. But while mourners were choking back tears during the televised memorial service, I was choking on the hypocrisy of it all. That’s because the very men who showed up to honor the fallen dead were, in part, responsible for those who fell. Joining Obama were senators who supported the wrong-headed, immoral invasion of Iraq, then continued funding the war even after they knew that Saddam had no WMDs, and had nothing to do with 9-11. And there was Obama himself, who could have singlehandedly ended our entanglements months ago had he chosen to do so.

Because of their actions in prolonging an unjust war, crazy Malik Hasan went over the edge when faced with deployment to Afghanistan, which he saw as a betrayal of his Muslim faith. Yet even in the wake of the Fort Hood massacre, the president is about to send more troops overseas to act as cannon fodder for al-Qaida, and give radical Muslims continued reason to hate us for our misplaced aggression.

So what should Obama have done last week? For starters his memorial remarks should have marked a sea change in American policy. Something like this:

“Today I come to you with a heavy heart and unclean hands. My colleagues and I in Washington did not participate directly in the murder of your loved ones, but we are indirectly responsible nonetheless for the circumstances that triggered this attack. America had no legitimate reason to invade Iraq, nor any cause for extending the violence into Afghanistan. As a result, more than 4,000 American soldiers and over a half million innocent men, women and children have lost their lives.

Our arrogant aggression has stirred hatred for us among many Muslims, and given radical individuals like Major Hasan a twisted rationale for retaliation against us. This hatredand violence must stop, but I cannot stop it by simply bringing you mycondolences or by presenting you with a wreath of flowers. Instead, Ichoose to honor your dead and all those who have gone before them, bysaving lives in their name. Effective immediately, I am issuing anExecutive Order which will remove all armed US troops from Iraq andAfghanistan by Christmas of this year. The returning troops will have amuch deserved rest, then I will deploy them along our nation’s bordersto work hand in hand with domestic law enforcement agencies in keepingour citizens safe. At the same time, we will better monitor those inthe military whose behavior warrants it. And I will also order thatmonies already authorized for the war be redirected to pay foraffordable health care coverage for all Americans. America will alwayshave enemies. There will always be psychotic individuals who seek to dous harm. And I assure you that we will deal swiftly and harshly withthose people. But I pledge to you going forward that not one moreAmerican soldier or civilian will die as a result of any unprovokedaggression on our part. This Executive Order, then, will stand as amonument to all those who have lost their lives since 9-11, and inparticular those who fell here last week. They did not die in vainbecause their deaths will serve as a catalyst for change and a formulafor peace. You should also know that my Executive Order will be namedthe Fort Hood Act, and that just above my signature will be the phrase‘In Lieu of Flowers.’”

JimLongworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m.on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cablechannel 15).