We’ve alienated our country from the world, we’ve alienated our actions from our national values, we’re alienating our soldiers from their lives, and I’m alienating many of my readers with this post.

My cousin Joel is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. I now have the privilege of spending regular time with his wife and sister and learning first hand of what he’s going through, and I just feel sick over it.

He’s a changed man. He can’t talk about what he’s had to do there and who he has become because of it, and I really shouldn’t talk publicly about the details I have. But suffice it to say that he had put his life on a good trajectory, had been sealed to his wife, had become activated in the church, and was becoming more of what he already was already, a decent guy. On his second tour, he was asked to do and chose to do things that made him a different man with a different trajectory.

As his wife talked about his life right now–driving convoys that don’t stop for anyone or anything at anytime–hungry, hot, exhausted, pooping in a box in the back of the truck in front of all present, hot, and taking his showers every six days in contaminated, too-hot water–I felt sick, sad and angry. This is not a man who thought killing children would become part of his day job.

It’s because I love and support my cousin and the troops he serves with that I hate this war. I feel “the devil and his angels laugheth”–along with military defense contractors and the ever-expanding Blackwater force, now building yet a new campus in SoCal.

Iraq has become a distraction and an exacerbator of the true threats to our country. Some of the the things we have done in the name of freedom cannot be justified through love of country or love of party (although I only have the former). The leaders changed the story, more and more information comes about how misleading the information and badly handled the tactics have been. Whether one favors the party that put those leaders in office or not, one is not obligated to buy faulty rhetoric from any party, and more and more people are less inclined to do so.

Yes, the media is stupid and doesn’t help and it’s hype oversimplifies and sensationalizes everything, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is a horrific problem that impacts real lives in a horrific way–of soldiers and their families, of Iraqi families, and of those of us at home finding the hastening of our crumbling civilization. There is no good way out, and no real progress coming from staying in. The politicians and candidates have no good answers.

On September 20, 2001, President Hinckley said to President Bush, “President Hinckley stated, “I just want you to know, Mr. President, that we are behind you. We pray for you. We love this ‘nation under God.’ ” We all felt that way, didn’t we?

In May, 2003, he gave a very thorough talk on the war, where he said,

One of our Articles of Faith, which represent an expression of our doctrine, states, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” (A of F 1:12).

But modern revelation states that we are to “renounce war and proclaim peace” (D&C 98:16).

In a democracy we can renounce war and proclaim peace. There is opportunity for dissent. Many have been speaking out and doing so emphatically. That is their privilege. That is their right, so long as they do so legally. However, we all must also be mindful of another overriding responsibility, which I may add, governs my personal feelings and dictates my personal loyalties in the present situation.

This places us in the position of those who long for peace, who teach peace, who work for peace, but who also are citizens of nations and are subject to the laws of our governments. Furthermore, we are a freedom-loving people, committed to the defense of liberty wherever it is in jeopardy. I believe that God will not hold men and women in uniform responsible as agents of their government in carrying forward that which they are legally obligated to do.

He goes on to explain that we may and should fight for our liberty, and said, ” In the course of history tyrants have arisen from time to time who have oppressed their own people and threatened the world. Such is adjudged to be the case presently, and consequently great and terrifying forces with sophisticated and fearsome armaments have been engaged in battle.”

Such was adjudged to be the case, and we have had to assume our leaders saw clearly, and some still feel and hope they do. I’m losing that hope.

In 2006, Hinkley said, “When a man grows old he develops a softer touch, a kindlier manner. I have thought of this much of late. I have wondered why there is so much hatred in the world. We are involved in terrible wars with lives lost and many crippling wounds.” He seemed pensive and sad as the war drew on when he spoke of it. I doubt he had lost his faith in his leaders and I am starting to, and I’m trying to hold on to the hope he had.

But I just wonder too much now. As oil tycoons and hedge fund managers sit on growing piles of cash and give corporations free reign to fill our food, water and air with their refuse, our economy is in the toilet and we have food shortages, poor health care, job losses and a housing crisis. Meanwhile, cash is ever-flowing into Iraq (yet somehow not into my cousin’s food budget). And, although we’ve had no major attacks on American soil, I feel sick when I think of our heartless claim that it’s better we fight them over there, as if the families and children on that soil are more expendable.

With sorrow for Joel in my heart, and anger at the egregious, arrogant smoke blown at us by those who we entrusted to lead us, I received this friendly email from my mom, created on, which is her shopping spree she did for me using the money we spend on the war. I feel sicker than ever. Take a look at my “presents”—I got all of this for only $3 trillion–she even fit a hybrid car in there!!

End hunger and poverty related diseases
1 purchased for $195,000,000,000.00 each

New Clothing, Shoes, Coats, and School Supplies for Ten Million Children
1 purchased for $10,000,000,000.00 each

Buy a Hybrid
1 purchased for $21,000.00 each

Free, Fair, and Unbiased Media
1 purchased for $2,500,000.00 each

Plant 1,000,000 trees
1 purchased for $10,000,000.00 each

give every teacher a rai$e
1 purchased for $100,000,000.00 each

Increase sustainable Organic Produce in the US
1 purchased for $10,000,000,000.00 each

Sustainable Agriculture Education, Worldwide
1 purchased for $200,000,000.00 each

Healthy Food
1 purchased for $2,000,000,000.00 each

Kyoto Protocol Worldwide Compliance
1 purchased for $400,000,000,000.00 each

World Peace
1 purchased for $70,000,000,000.00 each

New National Power Grid
1 purchased for $100,000,000.00 each

Build 100 New Schools
1 purchased for $2,500,000,000.00 each

Free College for 20 Million Students for 1 year
1 purchased for $400,000,000,000.00 each

Wind Turbines to Power All of the United States
1 purchased for $1,000,000,000,000.00 each

End our Dependence on Foreign Oil
1 purchased for $500,000,000,000.00 each

Achieve Universal Literacy
2 purchased for $5,000,000,000.00 each

Universal Preschool
1 purchased for $35,000,000,000.00 each

Help all orphans
1 purchased for $280,000,000.00 each

Housing for America’s homeless
1 purchased for $74,000,000,000.00 each

The house of your dreams
1 purchased for $2,500,000.00 each

Island in Bahamas
1 purchased for $15,000,000.00 each

Non-Violent Leadership Training (1 yr) for 10 Million Leaders
1 purchased for $300,000.00 each

Clean up Pollution
1 purchased for $160,000,000,000.00 each

Conflicted sorrow just doesn’t say enough about how I feel today. It’s time for some hoeing (and not the Big5 kind, there’s too much of that coming from politicians).

Sorry, this is blog my ranting place, and you sure got it today. Hope you love me anyway.

4 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    I have two cousins in the war, and I worry about them. What’s done is done, whether or not it SHOULD have happened. the problem is, there are no really good solutions right now. Leaving makes us and them very vulnerable, and staying costs too much…what’s the solution?

  2. Jen
    Jen says:

    Well written. We think the Vietnam vets came back troubled, but we’re just now starting to see what we’ve done to this generation of soldiers. Nobody is talking about it! I highly recommend a documentary about MacNamara, called the Fog of War. It is him in his own word retrospecting on the follies of Vietnam. Interesting how applicable it is to now.
    Something I can control: in the speech given by Ghandi’s grandson he talked about the huge gun-crime numbers in the U.S. versus the rest of the civilized world. Do kids in countries with hardly any gun deaths play with toy guns the way our kids do? Do they see it on TV and in video games as much as ours? (Don’t even get me started on Grand Theft Auto) Even my 5 year old, when told that a lot of kids were playing video games with guns said, “Oh does that mean they are learning to use real guns too?” It’s pretty obvious to him.
    I have begun to talk with my kids and let them know that war makes Heavenly Father sad, and he does not want us to shoot guns at each other. Even in play.


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