During my adult life, I’ve never really been comfortable with patriotism. I would prefer to think things through — to validate as much as possible or reasonable — before accepting some new government action.

Which is why I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of war in Iraq. It didn’t appear that most people supporting the war (including the president) had thought it through. No one seriously considered alternatives.

And, as soon as the idea was broached (“Let’s go to war!”) the sides quickly became “War!” or “No War!” — completely binary. No “Let’s take action, but not an all-out war!” group sprang up. Perhaps that’s because no one really understood the urgency of war. I suppose many of those supporting war were thinking “This is what we should’ve done the first time around.” And many of those against it were thinking “Why now? What’s so important that we have to do this right now?” At least, that’s what I was thinking.

I knew Saddam was a bad man. I had heard how he and his cronies tortured people and killed them. But, there are a lot of bad men in power all over the world. What is so important about Sadaam?

And, (this is where my lack of patriotism shows), I didn’t really understand how we were better. Our military has done terrible things to the people captured in Afghanistan, but somehow we are not as bad. We are starting to disappear poeple — holding people indefinantly without charging them — but somehow this is still a free country.

I’m not likely to understand it all because I question first and believe later. A patriot, from what I can see, believes first, and rarely, if ever, questions.

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