'W' Is Ruining
My Travel Plans
Vineyard Gazette - November 22, 2002
By Sam Low
I disagree with just about all of Bush's polices - foreign and
domestic - what really pisses me off is that he's interfering
with my travel plans.
fondly remember the sixties when I was greeted warmly throughout
the world as an American. People everywhere remembered World
War II, "The Last Good War" as some call it, and many
recalled warm experiences with individual American soldiers.
And so, when they discovered I was an American, they transferred
all that affection and gratitude to me. While I certainly did
not deserve any of their adulation, I nevertheless reveled in
it. It's not the same today and that is a sad reflection on
our recent foreign policy, as well as a reason why I don't travel
outside of our borders as much as I once did.
not all Bush's fault, of course. I recall a conversation I had
in the sixties with an Air Force Colonel, A WWII veteran, after
I returned from a naval tour of duty off the coast of Vietnam.
big difference between my war and yours," he told me, "was
that we were shooting Nazis off European soil and you were shooting
Vietnamese off Vietnamese soil." It was a precise way,
I thought, of calling my attention to the first American war
in which we were not greeted with enthusiasm by the folks we
were meant to protect. Instead, we were seen by many of our
supposed allies as a foreign invader.
the trend continues and has even been accelerated by Mr. Bush
- albeit with a slight detour through the UN. As a final step
in the progression from the last Good War through Vietnam -
he seems ready now to take America on its first preemptive attack
of another nation. At least in Vietnam we went though the charade
of being "invited" into the country by a puppet government.
The Iraqis are not about to issue any such invitation.
don't know how much traveling Mr. Bush has done outside of America
but if he has visited many foreign countries - and even studied
a little of their histories - it doesn't show. A number of learned
former presidential advisors and cabinet members - Brent Skowcroft
and Zbigniew Brzezinski among them - have issued warnings to
Bush the younger to reconsider his zeal to invade Iraq. The
most recent was an opinion piece in The New York Times Sunday
edition written a month or so ago by Mr. Brzezinski. His argument
goes something like this:
Bush is painting the war on terrorism as an abstract fight of
good folks against evil folks - an argument that smacks of religious
fundamentalism rather than rational logic.
" By so doing he ignores the subtle issues upon which ultimate
victory will depend - an understanding of the histories of each
area he has deemed to be "evil."
" To win a lasting victory requires that we deal not just
with eliminating the "evil doers" who hate us - but
also with eliminating the historical reasons that cause them
to hate us.
" And finally, by ignoring the deeply rooted reasons behind
that hatred - and instead focusing on a hazy definition of evil
- our national foreign policy looses its rational underpinnings
and causes us to ally with any country that may convince us
they are "fighting terrorism" when they may actually
be squashing democratic movements within their borders.
that notwithstanding, I am amazed that every American has not
risen in justifiable anger over the disturbance of their travel
plans. If we cannot become agitated about the toll our polices
are taking among innocent people abroad - at least we ought
to be upset that all the good will generated by The Last Good
War is being so effectively eroded - leading, I suspect, to
the cancellation of many dream vacations in remote locations
around the world.