John McGauley’s op-ed on military spending (“The good, bad and ugly of national defense spending,” April 8) dismisses “peace protesters” as living in a fairy tale.

First of all, we are not protesting peace; we are protesting war. Far from a fairy tale, peace activists live in a nightmare, because we are haunted by what happens on the ground when bombs drop and troops invade. The misery of those who live in a war zone is unutterably disturbing. And the grief of American families who lose a loved one to war is something I am familiar with.

We are haunted by the knowledge that our tax money pays for these deaths and destruction; that children like our own children and grandchildren live in war zones of terror. We are in despair knowing our government manipulates us into these wars through covert provocations and outright lies.

We are discouraged that no matter how many peace groups, church groups, veterans groups contact our elected officials, asking them to stop supporting outrageous military budgets, only a relative few will do so.

And we are frustrated the issue of war, the most important moral issue, especially for a country which has an idealized view of itself, is not addressed by our elected officials except to rubber stamp what the chief executive and his generals decide. Those who speak for us have abrogated their responsibility and we, the people, have abrogated ours.

When we cannot satisfactorily answer the questions surrounding these wars we need to withdraw our support for them and for representatives who allow these catastrophes to continue.

The big question is, what is worth the deaths of hundreds of thousands over these 16 years; the displacement of millions; the destruction of entire societies? Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen were all choices to interfere in these sovereign nations.

George W. Bush declared the Taliban must go and Saddam Hussein must go; Barack Obama decided Gadhafi and Assad must go — all declarations of incredible hubris. Once started, these wars became successive cans of worms. Sooner or later these nations would have made their own decisions about their leaders, but our interference with unlimited weapons and troops exponentially escalated the deaths and destruction.

Peace activists do not live in a fairy land. We live in the real world. It is those who are able to ignore the consequences of our foreign policy who believe in and live in the fairy tale of America.

JACQUELINE CLEARY

138 Esty Road

Westmoreland

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