Featured Column
Week of 5.3.2004
Ez for war, I call it murder -
There you have it plain an' flat...
Is war really necessary?
          Nobody in their right mind wants war. Someone once said, “Either war is obsolete or man is.”
          Now we find ourselves smack in the middle of a war in Iraq and to a lesser degree in Afghanistan. We can acknowledge that there are some legitimate reasons for us to be fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, although with the loss of each member of our military forces our sorrow tends to overcome the logic of those reasons. Perhaps Americans felt this frustration during the early years of World War II, when it appeared that our cause, if not lost, was in difficult straights. Our men were dying then and there was no end in sight that could offer us victory.
           We, as Americans, did the right thing in joining the fight against the Axis in World War II. We had to stop Germany and Japan in their quest for world domination. Our cause and our goals were clear - Save the world for democracy!
          Now we are engaged in a conflict of a different sort. Our enemies don’t wear common uniforms and they don’t fight what we call fair - which means they don’t fight as we do. Our enemies are not bothered by their slaughter of women and children, in fact, it has become a conventional tool in their arsenal of terror.
          Today’s news reports are filled with tales of horror about members of the Coalition forces (spelled Americans) and their treatment of the Iraqi rebel forces in our prisons. If the charges are true then we are all soiled by the filth of a few American’s actions towards Iraqi prisoners of war. Members of the world community will paint all Americans with the brush of the guilt of a few.
          I am not personally against the President’s apparent motive of wanting to protect democracy and the “American Way.” I shall presume that his intentions are honest and well motivated until proven otherwise. The daily loss of American’s lives is highly troubling to me as I am sure it is to all Americans.
           I do wish the President would cease from talking about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and the threat that Saddam was to America. I wish he would stand up and say, “Saddam was and is a miserable SOB and he killed thousands of his own people and someday he might have caused us a problem. I just wanted to prove to the world that American has the will and the strength to fight and win and nobody should fool around with us. And nobody better screw around with our oil supplies either.”
           As all of our teachers and bosses have told us all of our lives, “Don’t complain unless you have a solution to the problem.” Well, I don’t have a solution to the mess we’re in in Iraq. I’d like to see us pull our troops out tomorrow, but I think that would signal the beginning of disaster throughout the world. Conversely, I would love to see us claim an overwhelming victory over the rebels and have our brave men and women come home to the embraces of their loved ones – whole and unscathed.
          My dream is that starting tomorrow the wisest men and women in the world would hold a new Geneva Convention and form a new set of rules governing war and the treatment of prisoners.
          In this new world order little distinction would be made between the vile treatment of prisoners and the accepted and honored killing of an opponent with a speeding bullet, a bayonet or the unworldly heat of a hydrogen bomb. Death by these means or by suicide bomber, hand grenade or artillery shell would be outlawed and banned as would be any inhumane treatment of a prisoner. It would be unimaginable to permit “lawful and proper” killing by any means as it would be to permit atrocities to the captured combatants.
           Perhaps wars could be fought by armies throwing insults or winners determined by winning spelling bees or in the most violent instances two armies meeting on the field of battle, throwing M & M’s and Mars Bars at each other.
          I shall dream on, hoping that one day men and women of intelligence and sensitivity will gather and settle their differences so that the young men and women of their country will no longer have to die on the field of battle.
          Today we must support our young men and women so that fewer of them will die on the field of battle and this conflagration will end soon as possible.
          Maybe someday, sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.
          I can dream.
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger