To the editor:

Recently, we killed Qasam Suleimani in what might be considered an assassination and therefore a war crime in foreign soil.

I’m not condemning his death nor praising it. This action put us on the brink of war, though. An all-out war is unlikely given our military strength. Proxy wars with the Mahdi Army and Hezbollah are more likely. We still carry the biggest stick yet we’ve become a target worldwide because we stopped walking quietly. Instead we bark wherever we go like a bully on the international stage.

Perhaps, diplomacy is the strength we’ve too long ignored. Perhaps our own interests would be better served with compromise and peaceful negotiation in aversion to flexing our military might.

Our current administration has been saved by a disastrous and tragic mistake made by Iran in shooting down a Ukrainian plane leaving for Kiev from Tehran. Only with Iran’s internal struggle, international pressure, and Swiss diplomacy has de-escalation begun. It wasn’t military might and it wasn’t wise and calculated talks ... it took an accident to distract from a possible war crime and put a hold on a probable war. Does the consequence excuse the action? Has ethics been killed somewhere inside our military arsenal?

As American’s, we’ve grown proud of the strength of our arm. We’ve forgotten the other strengths we possess. We’ve lost sight of that Shining Democracy on a Hill that helped to make us a global power. We’ve been sullenly blinded that as the world’s strongest economic system, the strongest military, the strongest show of freedoms, we can still be wrong in our actions if we don’t take the necessary thought into them.

Recently, there have been several articles in a back and forth as to who is to blame for the division in our country. Is it the radical liberal leftists causing the problem with an implied moral high ground ushered in by a new age of political correctness? Or is it the far right conservatives bullying those who don’t share their beliefs? Perhaps, if we look at it objectively we can see that both as well as neither are to blame. Perhaps it is merely the concept of partisanship that divides us. Perhaps if we discussed ideas pragmatically, we’d find that we can agree on a solution to our problems rather than cause a division of our society.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” Our political rhetoric has, on both sides, become small minded. The recent conflict with Iran, the impeachment of our president, and the Democratic primaries have proven this.

America is the global power. We have been and continue to be a great nation bound by freedoms shared by few in the world. But, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look at what made us great — what strengths and unities propelled us to become a great country respected by the world.

Patrick O'Brien


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