Wednesday, December 05, 2007
We Are Stll in Iraq
And I am responsible.
I must be, if we truly live in a free and democratic society. For the Constitution of the United States, begins with “We the People” and acts as the ultimate source of authority in our nation, of which I am a citizen. Thus the decisions of our politicians, elected by myself and my fellow citizens, are the responsibility of the people. Ideally, the majority will be able to make rational decisions that move the country forward in a positive manner.
Yet how much time have we allowed our country to be involved in a conflict that was clearly a mistake?
Our government is set up so that change occurs slowly over time, which is a good thing. Thus we are not totally at the mercy of the whims of the populace, which in this day and age of constant stimulation from various media sources, runs completely contrary to the rest of society. The re-election of Bush in 2004 was the death sentence for thousands of young American soldiers. It was an affirmation of his policies, even if Truth is something completely different. Truth is not subject to the electoral college, and the rationale behind going into Iraq (the WMDs!) does not hold up to Truth. Moreover the entire plan does not hold up to reason, it was foolhardy and wrong-headed. Democratization of the Middle East, which was the goal of this War in order to obtain easier access to a natural resource, combined with a little payback at a dictator was the ultimate goal of this administration. But hoping we could initiate a viral spread of democracy was a fairytale that ignored a basic fact about human society: The world is not a democratic place. Even in 2007, how many countries truly operate within a free, democratic system of government? Democracies can flourish, but they are so fragile and can be upset so easily; by a leader who wants increased power, by money and its persuasion, and worst of all by complacency, by refusing to listen to opposing and differing points of view to where those that air them are shouted down or mocked.
In fact, rather than spread Democracy to another country, the lasting legacy of the Bush Administration will be a weakening of Democracy and freedom within our own country. From reduced opportunity for social mobility to curtailing civil liberties to embracing exclusive rather than inclusive values, all of the actions on a domestic front have been about enhancing their personal power while reducing that of the individual or the other branches of government one of which represents the people more directly (Congress) and one of which is supposedly bound to enforce the principles and rights on which our Consitiution was written. It's a modus operendi that contradicts their international ambitions, and calls into question the very fabric of their administration. How can two such divergent tactics be part of any coherent moral plan other than to increase their power and wealth? What is the difference between a despot and elected leaders who act only to enhance their own power? Does the fact that they were elected make it ok? Hell no.
What we need is a reasoned reevaluation of American Democracy, before we go about trying to spread it to other places. Does this mean retreat from the international scene for a lull? Yes. I am not advocating isolationism...I'm advocating prioritization. The priority is Us. We the People, and our health, education, and opportunity. Through turning inward, and refreshing freedom and democracy here, we will be able to turn outward and play an important world in helping to bring freedom and opportunity to the rest of the world.