Wanted: A different breed of patriotism

On Valentine’s Day, President Bush said in a news conference there was no doubt Iran was providing weapons to Iraqis to help fight American soldiers. And it seems President Bush’s plans for Iran’s crimes involve the military, not diplomacy.

These allegations, news conferences and the push for public outrage and action all sound eerily familiar to four years ago when weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein became household terms.

The discussion about Iran is still just a discussion, but it is the right time for the system of checks and balances to interrupt. We don’t know the truth. Did the president of Iran allow the sale of improvised explosive devices to the Iraqi military to hurt American soldiers? Did Iran commit this crime? Did the American government have a hand in it? Did this production of weapons for Iraq even happen at all?

Asking such questions may seem unpatriotic, but after the diplomatic disaster that is Iraq, these queries have become imperative not only because the public feels a little duped into supporting the initial invasion into Iraq, but because our military can only handle so much.ÿ

A war with Iran may prove to not be the same mistake as a war with Iraq, but it will be a mistake if we give the president all the unwavering power to use force in the Middle East. The check on executive decisions is a central part of American democracy, and this administration seriously needs someone looking over its shoulder.ÿ

And that someone doing the looking should be all of us.ÿ

Whether you agree with the war in Iraq, you can at least agree more questions should have been asked about the allegations against the dictator and his weapons of mass destruction (weapons we have yet to find). ÿ

We need to approach future conflicts in Iran with caution. Politicians need to ask the difficult questions, and more importantly, President Bush and those pushing for involvement need to answer those difficult questions. ÿ

The current disdain for Bush and anything he has ever done shows us it will be hard for him to get away with what he has in the past (Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, even said Congress will no longer provide blank checks to wage war in Iraq). But it’s important that we, the voters, also stay aware of such questions and answers and speak out accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with skepticism.ÿ

We all remember the surge of American flags that plastered every five feet of American soil after President Bush declared war on Iraq four years ago. Sure, flags are important, but an inquiring watch on the executive power is more patriotic than the two bucks spent purchasing an Uncle Sam poster. ÿ

Let’s learn from and work to rectify our mistakes before we put our hand in another Middle Eastern conflict. Our troops are dying for the good of democracy – let’s make sure they did not die in vain.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.