In the August issue of Playboy, filmmaker Eugene Jarecki asks 16 Americans, ranging from U.S. Sen. John McCain to D.C. cabbie Nathan Price, the same question: “Why Are We in Iraq?” One is Ted Chapman, Overdrive 2005 Trucker of the Year.
This is part of Chapman’s 400-word reply:
“If you go to Iraq right now and interview 75,000 of the 140,000 boys over there, they’ll tell you they’re there for freedom. Others will say we’re there for oil. I’d say it’s for both of them. … There’s nothing like freedom. At the same time, we need that oil. …
“I’m an old country boy. When that 9/11 deal came, if George Bush had sat on his butt and said nothing, there would have been hundreds of thousands in the U.S. raising hell. …
“I don’t think God’s got a thing to do with it. The Book of John says the only way God deals with a man is spiritually. Wars are man’s decision. God doesn’t deal in wars.”
Chapman is a North Carolina owner-operator who has been trucking for 52 years and has amassed 6.5 million safe miles.
Others who speak their mind in the article include singer-songwriter Steve Earle; Nobel Prize winner Mohamed Elbaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency; primate researcher Jane Goodall; U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Munich screenwriter Tony Kushner; war hero Jessica Lynch; and Pulitzer Prize winner Dana Priest, a reporter for The Washington Post.
“I have asked nearly 200 Americans this question,” Jarecki writes. “Almost always the first answer out of anyone’s mouth is ‘Freedom.’ … So I pressed further. ‘What does that mean to you?’ I asked, and right away I discovered people’s doubts.”
Jarecki’s most recent documentary is Why We Fight (2005), now available on DVD, about the American attitude toward war and the military.