Upholding American Pluralism

In response to the Lacrosse Tribune article: “Fight Them in Iraq, Not Here?”

Richard Haling’s opinion “Fight Them in Iraq, Not Here.” (Dec.29) is an embarrassment to American pluralism. Haling’s article shows a disturbing confusion regarding the difference between Muslims and terrorists.

He is unable to clearly explain which “them” is dangerous nor exactly what conflict is occurring “here.” The article is tantamount to fear-mongering stereotyping and his conclusions necessitate reevaluation.

For example, he states, “Let’s put God and the Bible, with its morals and social backbone, back into our country.” I agree with his statement, if not with any of his other conclusions. Christian values give central importance to the sanctity of life, and the need to assert this value is immense, particularly now in Iraq.

According to Johns Hopkins University team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists, 655,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq thus far; its state of mayhem has no visible end in sight.

What moral currency does America hold unless we demand that all sides respect the sanctity of civilian life? It is imperative to hold the United States government to greater account and to demand greater transparency in our actions in Iraq.

The U.S. presence is driving the violence. The current state is that of disaster, and the Pentagon’s most recent report says that sending more troops will only fuel more violence. “The violence has escalated at an unbelievably rapid pace,” said Marine Lieutenant General John P. Sattler, of the US Marines, who briefed journalists on the report. General Sattler goes on to imply that no amount of extra troops could quell the violence. (The Times Dec. 20)

However, the sanctity of life is not just a Christian value, it is a human value, shared across the religious diversity of America . Regardless of belief system, we agree to protect inalienable human rights such as the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech—even when freedom of speech allows for such narrow minded publications such as Haling’s.

Lastly, Mr. Haling, as Keith Ellison takes part in his private swearing in ceremony with a version of the Quran owned by Jefferson, let us be reminded that in America, Muslims have the right to serve in congress no less than any other citizen of any other faith group; and that makes me proud to be an American.