TO: The President
FROM: A former American diplomat
SUBJECT: Waking up in the middle of the night
Mr. President: Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night? Do you? Do you ever wake up sleepless in the middle of the night?
What have you done in Iraq? Do you ever realize, in the middle of the night, what you've done? Do you?
1. You've caused over 2,370 American soldiers to die in an impoverished land that never attacked us. Was that the right answer to 9/11 or the "threat" from Iraq? Do you ever ask yourself that question?
2. Because of your Iraq invasion, thousands of U.S. enlisted personnel are maimed, physically and mentally, for life. What can you tell these victims of your war? That you're honored by their duty towards you, our "mission-accomplished" commander-in-chief?
3. Your decision to go to war has led to the death of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis. Do you have any remorse for this, Mr. President? Or was it that, for you, Iraqis only really deserved to serve as props in "shock and awe" -- your name for your made-for-TV porno/violence program at the beginning of the war, produced and distributed directly into our living rooms by the mainstream media? (Thank you, Fox News.)
4. Will you ever, ever accept responsibility for making torture all-American at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and elsewhere? And the Statue of Liberty -- why, tell us why, did you allow it to be replaced by that image of an abused, hooded, helpless prisoner on a box? Aren't you the least bit concerned at how America is seen by the rest of the world because of your war -- as a brutal aggressor nation, dismissive of the opinions of mankind?
5. What about your mercenaries ("Pentagon contractors") that our tax dollars pay for? Who are they? What are they doing in their multi-thousands in Iraq, and to the Iraqis? Do you know? Or don't you care to know?
6. You said you wanted to "rebuild" Iraq -- but isn't it true that all you've really done is construct a Roman-Empire-style camp, a "Green Zone" for Iraqi collaborators (whom you now mistrust) and U.S. personnel in the heart of Baghdad that is an invitation to insurgent mortars? Haven't you -- tell the truth -- destroyed in Iraq more than you have built? Haven't you?
7. You say Iraqis now live in a land of "freedom" -- but what kind of freedom? How can it ever be like the Four Freedoms of Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- freedom of expression and worship, joined with freedom from want and freedom from fear? As electricity fails and bombs terrify citizens in Baghdad, where is the freedom you promised Iraqis, Mr. President?
8. Your occupation of Iraq has led to a bloody sectarian conflict. Why do you and your ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad now blame the Iraqis for their problems? Don't you share responsibility for the desperate situation they are in?
9. Your trillion-dollar binge of destruction in the cradle of civilization -- who will pay for it? The widows of our soldiers? Our young people, already too debt-burdened paying for their educations? Or their baby-boomer parents who may see their pensions evaporate to support your war?
10. Why can't you truthfully tell us, Mr. President, the reasons you led America into war? Was it for the WMD, for regime change, for the oil, for grand neocon visions, to avenge your father, to win elections at home? What were your real intentions? Are you afraid to tell us? Or is the truth that, deep down, you never really knew?
11. And, Mr. President, as you contemplate another war, this time against Iran, won't you ever wake up in the middle of the night, and stop more madness before it is too late?
John Brown, who writes regularly for Tomdispatch and Tompaine.com, is a former diplomat who resigned from the State Department over the planned war in Iraq, compiles the Public Diplomacy Press Review, available free upon request at the site.
Copyright 2006 TomDispatch.com / John Brown