Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Open letter to Richard Haass

Richard Haass, former director of policy planning for the Bush administration published an essay in Newsweek this week called "The Dilemma of Dissent" It is the story of a former Bush aide looking back at his reasoning of why he stayed so long with the administration even when he felt he had little in common with his colleagues.

Mr Haass states that he "was 60–40 against initiating a war. My opposition was not stronger because of my assumption (derived from the available intelligence) that Iraq possessed both biological and chemical weapons." Naively, he also believed that if we went to war we would go about it in a way reminiscent of how we had waged the previous war with Iraq—that is, only with considerable international and domestic backing and only with enough troops and sensible plans.

I'm not sure if his essay was a way to explain his personal situation of sticking with an administration that diverged from his own opinion or to whether it was more of an essay about the dilemma of dissent.

My message to Mr Haass is this:

Mr. Haass- While it’s all well and good that you feel the need to spill your guts; it’s too many years too late and too many dead bodies gone for me to feel any sympathy for your purported tortured soul.

Dissent is not difficult if it is for the right reasons. You knew that blood would be shed; you knew that lives would be forever altered in the worst way and you stayed quiet. You were an enabler to possibly the worst administration this country has ever seen and you stayed quiet. Your misplaced loyalty was to a man and not the Constitution and that may have been your worst mistake.

Spare me your pity party. Go read your little essay at Arlington National Cemetery, in Section 60, where nearly 700 soldiers are buried as a result of their deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan-I wonder what those soldiers, Marines and airmen and their families would think of your confession. I don't have to wonder, I know.

There is no doubt at all that you participated in history and you definitely contributed to making history, although not in the way you had planned. The blood on your hands should leave a stain that will forever remind you that you did not do the right thing when it was time to make a stand for what may have been the most important decision you made in your life. Leaving the government partly for an attractive job removes any significance of your decision to leave at all. Your guilt for not leaving your position in the Bush administration sooner is obvious. Perhaps you should have kept your mouth shut and be thought a fool by association than to have opened it and removed all doubt.

In July 2002, while you were meeting with Condoleeza Rice, my son was still alive, but according to your essay, his death sentence was being written. On Memorial Day I will stand at his grave in Section 60 to mark the 5th anniversary of his death in Iraq. You owe us an apology not a confession.


libhom said...

He certainly does owe an apology. There are a lot of policy makers in the Obama administration who owe apologies for continuing this monstrous war too.

Nuri Leigh Burville said...

I grieve with you for many reasons. I understand a mother's personal loss, and I understand it collectively; there are so many of us, it is totally heart-wrenching. I understand the need for connection with other mothers (and even sisters and grandmothers) who are often suffering so deeply without warm understanding support. I admire your work in doing something BIG to make something exceptionally useful of your life. If I could spare a few thousand people the loneliness, frustration and insignificance that I have felt since my own family fell apart I would still feel that I have not done enough.

You have uplifted me.

You have made my losses feel a little more bearable.

I hold good thoughts and warm meditations for you and your work.

If you visit my blog please note that I am just getting it laid out and it is just a mess of words right now. But my heart is totally sincere.

Peace, inspiration and good health to you!

Nuri Leigh Burville