Vina Vibandor University of the Philippines- Manila Padre Faura St. Manila Philippines Pres. George W. Bush President- United States of America White House, Washington D.C. United States of America 17 October 2002
Dear Mr. President,
It has been more than a year since the tragic bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but the events are clearly etched in our minds just as if it happened only yesterday. The truth is, we may never forget the pain and the loss, which that tragedy caused. It is unjust to the victims for us to do so. Yes, it needs justice, and the only way is to find out who did it, and incarcerate them, at all cost.
The US Government is quick to point its finger at Osama Bin Laden and His Al Qaeda network. It has also almost been a year since your US troops practically razed the Taliban Government of Afghanistan for refusing to give up Bin Laden. Your government called it "Liberation", and perhaps, it is. People under the rigid rule of the Taliban are; now, suddenly free of unreasonable restrictions, all because of the valiant US forces.
The US government, then, pointed its long arm of the law, so to speak, to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. In spite of the much-publicized war on terrorism, it cannot be denied that this turn of actions is not garnering that much support from the people. Is it because there are more terrorist- sympathetic individuals than you know? Or is it because terrorists, themselves, are in your midst?
Mr. President, you said once that either the people are with you, or with the terrorists. It is as black and white as that. Nonetheless, Mr. President, we need to recognize the shades of gray in between. We need to realize that there are people who feel the need for justice for the victims of September 11, but also know when to stop. I am imploring you, Mr. President, to listen to the plight of your people.
I, as a citizen of the Philippines, have been to your country more than once, and I can say that I greatly admire the United States and its People. The USA is the epitome of democracy, of freedom, that your administration is campaigning for. However, it is possible that a person can be constrained by freedom, because it is possible that they need tradition, because they are comfortable with it.
That, Mr. President, is the plight of the Iraqis. They may not want to be liberated, because they, themselves, feel that the system works for them. They may not feel that Saddam Hussein oppresses them; on the other hand, because of its pressing war on Iraq, they may feel rather hostile to the United States.
There may be a terrorist in their midst, but that does not mean that all of them are terrorists.
It is true that Saddam Hussein has to be stopped before he carries out further destructive terrorist activities. It is also true that he poses a threat, not just to the United States, but the entire world as well. Then again, it is wrong to retaliate against an entire country for a single terrorist and his few supporters.
For the United States, it is a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. War is seen as inevitable, the question being who strikes whom first.
I believe that the US Government should do what it has to do in order to stop Saddam Hussein form doing any more damage. But I also believe that it can be done without hurting or killing innocent civilians. They say that there are no real victors in war, and I can add that the worst off are the civilians. As I mentioned, not all Iraqis are terrorists, and also, not all people residing in Iraq are citizens of that country. My country, the Philippines, have a lot of its citizens working in Iraq as Overseas Contract Workers. That is the reason why my country has shown great in the US's war against Iraq. We fear for the lives and safety of our people. We feel that our citizens should be spared from the war they are not part of.
The United States, true to its advocacy of freedom and justice, should exert its best effort to go by the rules of warfare, that is to protect defenseless civilians at all cost. It should protect the lives of the innocent for that is the first reason why it is waging war. The United States should remember this to prevent being terrorist themselves.
(sgd.) Vina Vibandor 3rd Year College student, Majoring in Development Studies
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002