Dear Secretary Kerry

Dear Secretary Kerry:


Tell yourself about glory but do not imagine its conferred in battle. I recall you learned this once, learned it on the bloody byways of Viet Nam. I urge you to admit the wisdom of the young man who first caught our nation’s attention. 


Do not get drawn into a nearly hopeless argument about chemical weapons and the President’s “red line” for the latter was a mistake, one born of decency perhaps, but a mistake withal. Chemical weapons are fearful things and properly despised by thinking people everywhere. But you sir know we used them in Viet Nam–for what else should we call “Agent Orange” and Napalm–manufactured respectively by Monsanto and Dow Chemical–but chemical weapons? This is not a matter of semantics or a parlor game. 


I’ve never subscribed to the “cat is out of the bag” view of human rights. We used the atomic bomb twice and I believe these weapons must be abjured by all. Chemical weapons must be viewed as contemptible by every nation. But so should the bombing of civilians and our proposed military reprisal in Syria will undoubtedly kill innocent people. Haven’t the Syrian people suffered enough? Does the United States really need to drop more ordinance to make a point? Apparently you’ve been persuaded this must be so. If I haven’t lost you yet Mr. Secretary, allow me to make an additional observation, namely that great nations know when and when not to use military power. I propose we resist firing ordinance into Syria. Let’s lead the world in promising medical aid, and humanitarian aid. Let’s give refugees throughout the Middle East the money we’re currently spending on the Egyptian military. Let’s stand for the rights and hopes of children. 


I mean what I say Mr. Secretary. I haven’t changed much since I was 20. 

Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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