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Letter Box


Letters from alums about war, and the U.S.

January 25, 2004

Perhaps some alumni will agree with my ideas and "spread the word" to government and press leaders."Spreading the truth” to people around the world should be our major undertaking. The only way to win the Iraq war will be to have the vast majority of the Iraqis helping us.
This will only happen if they realize all the facts:

(1) Saddam led them into the Iran War (the Iraqis think Iran started it) in which a million people died with no benefit to either side,
(2) He led them into a disastrous war against their fellow Muslims in Kuwait,
(3) He literally used billions of their dollars for his foreign bank accounts and 18 palaces,
(4) He gassed thousands of Kurds and tortured and murdered thousands of Iraqis.

Hammering these facts home to every Iraqi is vital. They must realize that if they don’t all pull together to help us help them, we will pull out, taking with us the billions of dollars we are offering them. They will then be broke and in a major Civil War between the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds with no hope of a happy life. Every Iraqi, but particularly the religious leaders, must be made to understand this. Otherwise all our expense of American lives and dollars will be a total waste.

Make all the people of North Korea understand that we will never attack them without provocation, but if they attack anyone in the world with any kind of weapon, our atom bombs will flatten their country in days. Even a madman leader would not start that war. They are trying to bully U.S. Stupid!

Finally, make terrorists realize that as a result of 9/11 we are much stronger and unified against them than we would be without their continuing threats.

On a different subject, ask all opposed to the right of women to abortion. "How many unwanted, crack-addicted babies have you already adopted and how many more do you plan to support until they are adults?" The question leaves them gasping…facing reality.

Dayton T. Kieswetter ’42
Santa Barbara, Calif.

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July 7, 2003

First time, at 92, I am ashamed of the U.S., where “Know-Nothings” are in power attempting to dominate the world.

Stevan Dedijer ’34
Lund, Sweden

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July 3, 2003

“Bring them on,” says Bush, and mentally, “I’ll whup ’em with teenagers and young single mothers (only not my daughters.} Hmmm — jut like the Children’s Crusade.” And behind him, Rummy, with steel strings.

I call myself a Veteran for Peace.

John W. Dern-Palmer ’44
Medina, Wash.

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May 2, 2003

I have been humbled and chastened by an image in PAW's "War Triggers Activism" column last month. In the photo of the rally held by the Princeton Committee Against Terrorism, one fellow carried a sign reading "Hippies Go Home!" Now THAT's a compelling argument! Before, I thought it was my duty as a patriotic American to speak out when I have concerns about the decisions of political leaders, but now I've certainly been put in my place. Or... maybe not.
Many thanks to the members of Princeton Students United For Peace for drawing attention to the thousands of casualties in our war on Iraq, a fact which too many who supported the invasion brushed off as "collateral damage." War is not glamorous, easy, or simple, and no one should be quick to dismiss the loss of life and health, incurred on all sides, that is the result of any war, justified or not.

Sasha Kopf '02
Northampton, Mass.

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March 4, 2003

Perhaps for understandable reasons, we have celebrated — and heard a good deal from — alumni serving in high posts in this administration. But there are other Princetonian voices out there, and one of the sanest and best informed belongs to Katrina vanden Huevel '81.

At at time when people who oppose this administration's war policy are being called unpatriotic at best and traiterous at worst, vanden Huevel has the courage to speak out in opposition. I'm sure it was she who, when acting as a "talking head," reminded the audience that a Congressman named Abraham Lincoln had called into question the way the then administration had brought about war with Mexico in 1847. If she had thought about it or been given time, she might also have cited another revered American figure, Henry David Thoreau, who famously went to jail rather than pay taxes to support that war. But most of us would have to go to the books to summon the name of the president (James Polk) and his cabinet who deliberately provoked that war. The cause was not to defend the United States but to realize the nation's "manifest destinty" and, not incidentally, to open more territory to slavery.

One wonders how history will view the present deliberately provoked conflict, if it finally comes to that, and what voices from these times will still be heard.

Samuel A. Schreiner Jr. '42
Darien, Conn.

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