Dogs Of War

Esteemed actor Martin Sheen has been very vocal in his views against Operation Iraqi Freedom.

So vocal in fact, that he voluntarily sealed his mouth shut with duct tape last week during a prayer vigil in Los Angeles, in order to restrain himself from speaking out against the war.

And even though duct tape is recommended by homeland security chief Tom Ridge as a key element in keeping people safe in the event of a chemical or biological weapons attack, it didn't stop Sheen from making his point.

"Nationalism and militarism have become the gods of our idolatry at the expense of our humanity," he wrote in a statement read by a reverand. "By some demented form of logic the men, women and children of Iraq are relegated to 'collateral damage' as the dogs of war slouch toward Baghdad."

Quite eloquent, but leave it to an actor to borrow from legendary playwright William Shakespeare.  In the tragedy Julius Caesar -- after Caesar is slain by some of his closest advisors ("Et tu Brute?") -- Caesar loyalist Marc Antony makes a prophecy over the "ruins of the noblest man that ever lived in the tide of times."

"...And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge with Atè by his side, come hot from hell shall in these confines with a monarch's voice cry 'Havoc!'  And let slip the dogs of war that this foul deed shall smell above the earth, with carrion men groaning for burial," (Julius Caesar: Act 3; Scene 1).

That monologue popped into my head 18 months ago when I stood at the smoldering ruins of the Twin Towers. "Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood," I thought, and I cheered along with the volunteers and firefighters at Ground Zero when President Bush said "I hear you."

That foul deed carried out by Al Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001 was cheered by Iraqi leaders as the work of heroes. It was heralded on the front pages of Iraqi newspapers. It was depicted in a colorful mural on a wall of an Iraqi military headquarters building in the city of Nasiriyah, where our Marines have endured fierce fighting and casualties.

Make no mistake that that foul deed would have been much fouler, if the terrorists had the means to smuggle weapons of mass destruction onto those planes.

Saddam Hussein and his cronies were working on it.

The voices I heard crying havoc 18 months ago were the sons and daughters of hard working parents. The mothers and fathers of heroic men and women.  The husbands and wives of lost spouses. The unborn children of lost mothers and fathers.

How quickly so many of us have forgotten how we felt that day.

That nationalism Mr. Sheen is talking about was reborn in the wake of that terrible day.  The same nationalism mind you, that suffered at the hands of the man so many Americans voted for (myself included), only to watch him let his legacy slip away by the skin of an intern's teeth.

Where are all the telethons from A-list Hollywood and musicians now?  Where are the billions of dollars in donations from hardworking Americans today?  Has anyone lifted a finger to offer money to the surviving families of coalition forces killed in action? Will there be a Baghdad Film Festival when the country is liberated? I doubt it. But you can bet Mr. Sheen's $300,000 per West Wing episode that the Cannes Film Festival in France -- where millions of dollars are spent by American film companies -- will go on with all the usual gluttony and self-adulation.

Never mind the fact that France limits the amount of US movies imported on the very shores where many of our grandfathers died while liberating.

In keeping with Mr. Sheen's Shakespearean theme, allow me to also quote from the Bard.

"Adieu, Adieu, remember me," commanded the ghost of Hamlet's father in Hamlet.

"Yea from the table of my memory I'll wipe away all trivial fond records, all saws of books, all forms, all pressures past that youth and observation copied there," Hamlet said. "And thy commandment all alone shall live within the book and volume of my brain, unmix'd with baser matter: yes by Heaven!"

It is imperative however, that we do not go crazy, as Hamlet did, in our pursuit for justice, but we must not stop short of our goal either.

Nor should we ever forget how we got into this war.

Mike Straka is the project manager for FOX News's Internet operations and contributes as a features reporter and producer on FOX Magazine (Sundays 11 p.m. on FNC) and as a reporter and columnist for 

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