Iraq: An unforgettable love and a dream that seems hard to attain

Categories: Iraq

[Editor’s note: I am very pleased and humbled to be able to present the essay below. It was written by a fellow student at George Mason University who fled Iraq with his mother just three years ago. I hope readers will appreciate the essay as much as I have.] In life, there are certain memories that will always leave a scar in someone’s mind; there are certain non-confessable secrets, there is an irreversible repentance, an unattainable dream, an unforgettable love, and ... Read More

Our Fear of Collective Guilt

Categories: Citizenship, Peace

“The fatwa goes on: ‘The Council rules that the financing of terrorism, the inception, help or attempt to commit a terrorist act of whatever kind or dimension, is forbidden by Islamic Sharia and constitutes a punishable crime thereby; this includes gathering or providing of finance for that end.’” - David Ignatius, “Saudis act aggressively to denounce terrorism,” (Washington Post, June 13, 2010) “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the plan was ill-advised and echoed concerns first raised ... Read More

Retaking Manhattan

Categories: Citizenship

“As Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly know too well, the threat of terrorist acts in New York City is a daily challenge. Holding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial in that city, and trying other enemy combatants in venues such as Washington, DC and northern Virginia, would unnecessarily increase the burden of facing those challenges, including the increased risk of terrorist attacks.” - A January 26, 2010 letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder signed by Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Lindsey ... Read More

Toddlers to the Gunfight

Categories: Citizenship, Gun Control

“You just don’t know what you’re up against if you get into something with another motorist. This went back to whatever happened on that merge. We tell people: Don’t engage with aggressive drivers. Don’t give in to that inclination. Let it go.” - Corinne Geller, Virginia State Police spokeswoman (“Drivers charged in road rage case,” Washington Post, March 25, 2010) Dear citizens, I am going to reveal a darker side of my personality today. While many know me to ... Read More

In the Event…

Categories: Citizenship

[Author’s note: Dear citizens, in the essay below, I have truthfully recorded my actions not to compliment myself but rather to serve as a “lessons learned” for others who will act against the Westboro family’s insults to members of the armed services, living and deceased. I hope that others will improve on my efforts.] … I had never before organized a counter-protest. But, a counter-protest was clearly required. A Baptist Church was threatening to exercise its First Amendment rights. It ... Read More

Going Home

Categories: Citizenship, Iraq, Peace

“ … “ - We Americans on the plight of Iraq’s displaced, today   Dear citizens, a few years ago, as I was working to get our military forces out of Iraq, I asked a very dear and very brilliant friend to review an essay I had just written.  She kindly applauded my efforts at describing the imperative of withdrawal before chiding me mildly for ignoring the Iraqi people and all humanitarian concerns. As you can ... Read More

The Group That Will Kill You

Categories: Citizenship, Peace

“The vast majority of American Muslims are law-abiding, upstanding citizens who vehemently shun the violence embraced by the radical and dangerous few.  In many ways, American Muslims have the most to lose when extremists carry out their warped plans, and they suffer most when they are unjustly lumped in with the radicals." - Washington Post editorial “An enemy within: Combating the spread of homegrown extremism” (December 16, 2009)   Dear citizens, The Washington Post editorial cited above begins with ... Read More

What Will You Do?

Categories: Citizenship, Peace

Dear citizens, I had not planned to write today or especially about today.  As a veteran, to me it can seem, well, unseemly, to write about myself and my comrades in arms.  But, events conspire as you well know, and some unexpected free time and a comment by a friend have convinced me that writing today is proper.  However, I will not be writing about veterans; I will write about you.    I think I should start by pointing out that this day ... Read More

NIMBY: Necessarily In My Backyard

Categories: Citizenship, Guantanamo

“What this tells us is, at the end of the day, there are individuals, that if released, will again return to terrorist activities.” - Bryan Whitman, Pentagon spokesman (“Pentagon: Some Gitmo detainees rejoin fight,” Associated Press on MSNBC.com, May 26, 2009)   Dear citizens, you are perhaps familiar with a fundamentally different NIMBY—NOT in my backyard!  We face, collectively, myriad challenges that require sacrifice on the part of some of our citizens.  And, we all agree that we should not be those citizens called upon ... Read More

A Full and Lasting Revenge

Categories: Afghanistan

 “President Obama must be supported by Congress and the American people because, as the imminent anniversary of the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, reminds us, success in Afghanistan serves American’s own national security interests.” - M. Ashraf Haidari, Political Counselor, Embassy of Afghanistan  (“Assessing Afghanistan’s Present and Future,” Washington Post, September 7, 2009.)   Dear citizens, it has been, as you are unnecessarily reminded, eight years.  I suspect you are all well aware of the ... Read More