Letter from an American
By Sean Lester
March 18, 2015
I just listened yesterday to the US president declare a war within 48 hours on Iraq. This letter is
my expression to the world because it is all I can do right now - along with prayer.
The coming war with Iraq is in most of our minds today. It's understandable. If you believe that we
all have a common thread that links all humans together in some way or another - you will probably
feel a deep sorrow that is permeating the world.
The United Nations, a body made up of all the worlds' nations, says - give it more time. Millions of
people worldwide say to their governments - give it more time.
We are speaking as one. Some nations,
such as Turkey, see over 90% of the population against armed conflict.
For the first time in modern history world governments have truly listened to the larger voice of
the worlds people as we speak in unison - reflecting a higher ground - and a knowledge that we now
have the tools necessary to take care of pressing issues without using the final measure of war. We
know this and have spoken it well.
Then - the government of our country says - no. We attack now. Regardless of the knowledge that we
are world citizens, whether we reflect this today in our actions or not.
Yet we act like the worst
of military giants - sweeping away a body of reason and ethics that have taken thousands of years to
reach the higher standard.
And along the way discarding over 200 years of struggle to define right and pluralism in our world
with our standard of Democracy. The beacon is diminished.
I have personally seen and been touched by the effects of war. Many who do so never allow the horror
of what they experienced to surface again.
Or if they mention it, it is only to back whatever
military action our government calls for, as it is one way they can internally justify what they
have done. However, many do face it.
Look around you - and you will see many veterans opposed to the
action that is about to take place. War is the most inconceivable cauldron of death, confusion and
destruction of lives, societies and communities - far beyond anyone's ability to comprehend.
It touches all who see it, are in it, who perpetrate it, or who are victims.
We here in the United States have distanced ourselves from the very real circumstances of war.
Television and its militarily censored images will flash across our screens, and later we will get a
newspaper or weekly publication with photos, but - hey - thank God - its not here, right?
Our stock markets begin to rebound - on the thought - it might be a short war and then everything
will be back to normal. Speculating the death, destruction and pestilence that is about to occur
will happen quickly, and we may even profit by it.
Perhaps we are worried about the health and safety of family members who are combatants - when they
are actually in a well trained and taken care of force - and they have a home to come back to far
away from the combat when it's over.
What they will experience however, will affect their worlds for their remainder of their lives.
For the rest of us I want to take a moment to bring home what is about to happen as our country
takes 270,000 highly trained military men and women and unleashes its power on a third world
I am going to ask you to be brave for a moment - as the actions which are about to be done
will happen to real people, with real children and lives that are just as important to them as your
life is to you.
Innocent civilians who have lived thru many years of a dictator's wrath followed by
13 years of starvation and sickness due to sanctions.
I am not asking you to judge the right or wrong of regimes, or the justness of this war or the
reasons - let's be brave enough for the moment to look at people. Is your life worth more than one
Truly - is your life, where you sit this moment - worth more - or at least ask the
question - is it worth the same?
A child, given birth by a mother, who loves and nurtures and hopes and dreams for her child, a
father, who wants safety and a future for his child - these are real.
They sit right now half a world away. Their hearts beat, their eyes see, their minds wonder, they
breath - they see the same moon we do tonight - take a moment to really feel this.
The taking of human life. Here we spend millions of dollars on a death penalty trial in the United
States on average - to insure the correct verdict is reached.
What will this child, this father, this mother be insured of? What right sanctifies the taking of
their lives, their families and their communities?
Let's take Maui or wherever you live for a moment and place it in the same exact spot as Baghdad.
You have a governor who tells you - if you leave your house they will destroy it.
Yep - the house you paid $350,000 for - with its mortgage and all of the work you put into it in the
yard, the new fence and the family room you just built - and all of the possessions you have - your
mother's chest of drawers - whatever possessions you have now - will be run over by a bulldozer.
And, on top of this the border guards won't let you out of your city or country. And other countries
won't take you anyway.
Within 24 hours, over 3,000 precision-guided munitions will reign down on your city. 3000 bombs of
between 500 to over 5,000 pounds each.
Some with will have sub munitions, which will break up into more bomblets as they drop. Your city
will be destroyed as will your life as you know it.
Think about Maui. If one bomb of 1,000 pounds weight were dropped in your neighborhood, what havoc
would this wreak on your everyday life?
What would the shock waves feel like? What if there were 2? What if there were - 3,000?
Bombs don't know the difference between a child and a combatant.
Broken bones, blood, the last gasp of a child in a mother's arms - the screams of children when they
see their mothers and fathers torn to pieces in front of them - it is about to happen.
What if it were your child you were holding?
What if it were your mother who you hold, feeling the warmth of her blood slowly leave her body, and
you can do nothing? No help - just more bombs.
I have seen scenarios for real in other countries - so this is the reason I am asking you to be
brave and really sit with it. It's not easy, and neither is what is about to happen to other people
with our countries weapons.
These are your dollars which have gone to build the weapon - when you swing a hammer at a job site
or sell a house or teach at the college or school - whatever your job - part of your life - your
essence - was spent to build the tomahawk missile, the laser guided bomb, the tank. Real dollars -
Are you responsible?
After all, this is a democracy. Are you responsible? Which part of what day you or I have spent will
go to take the life of which person? Do you have the moral courage to look beyond the rhetoric of
governments - and to the heart of what is about to happen?
So, what do we do? The easy thing is to turn the eye, to go back to watching the DVD and taking your
child to the soccer game.
The other is - to begin to wake up. Take stock of what has happened to our country, our values and
our responsibly. Begin to demand an accounting from our government.
You have this right as a citizen. Go to rallies, write congressman, talk to others. And VOTE FOR
SANE LEADERS in the next elections.
Give your children a light in the darkness and confusion our world finds itself in today. Your
actions will reflect in what they know and believe and do themselves tomorrow.
Children feel what is going on. They are smart and intuitive. And if they see you really addressing
the issues, being brave and courageous, this is the example they will grow up with.
You, not the president or our military, are the guiding light.
Good luck. I really mean this. I believe we can do this together. It just takes bravery. The world
of tomorrow is reflected in the way we listen to our deeper guidance today.
With deep respect for all who read this
Sean Lester, American and World Citizen
Maui Hawaii, United States of America