Musings on Iraq
But the focus of all this is on election analysis, not Iraq. This is driving me crazy, because no one seems to be advancing anything constructive beyond analysis. Reflecting back on the months leading up to March, 2003 when we invaded Iraq, there was plenty of sentiment that we should not ‘go there’. But our collective fear and trauma from 9/11 silenced all but a few. We didn’t really listen to all of those nations who refused to be part of a coalition to invade that country. We listened to our fear, part of which was that to not invade Iraq would just give ‘the terrorists’ more leeway. So a vast majority of Congress voted to invade. And the Democratic Party rolled over.
As we know, Iraq has been one huge mistake after another. We did not go in there to restore electricity, to boost their economy that was in shambles after a decade of economic sanctions, we did not provide basic human care to the people of Iraq. We strutted around Baghdad and environs while Saddam’s storehouses were looted by the rival factions that we ignored. We were the arrogant Americans who totally blew any opportunity to lift up the Iraqi people (back in the sixties, we were called ‘Ugly Americans’).
So by now things have spun so much out of control that most Iraqis are afraid for their very lives, live under siege, and still don’t have their basic human needs met. And we wonder why we seem to not be ‘winning’ this so-called war on terror? Hello???? Oh, yes, we did give them the gift of democracy. No one seems to be dealing with the outrageous fallacy of Iraqi democracy following our invasion. No one is talking about what to do next except ‘should we stay or should we go’. Both options are lacking from a humanitarian perspective.
As a nation, our nation, what about the concept of atonement? We have essentially raped a country in a misguided effort. We bear witness every day to the fruits (or spoils?) of that rape. And no one is taking the leadership to 1) apologize or 2) make any kind of amends. We cannot go back to March 18, 2003. And we cannot leave a country that is self-destructing in our wake.
I want to hear someone in the leadership of this country come up with a plan to give humanitarian aid to Iraq – we are, after all, spending $1.5 billion a week (heard on NPR this morning via a general whose name I didn’t get, who is now retired but served in Iraq). With that kind of money, we could do a lot, it would seem, towards restoration work that might begin to 1) attend to basic living needs and then perhaps 2) heal the soul of the people whose lives have been totally disrupted. At this point the US cannot be the healers, but we can begin to provide the elements that might help people to begin to heal.
So how do we citizens begin the call for a moral leadership in this war? Not partisan bickering, not pulling out the 9/11 fear card which is at an even higher level this week, not further ‘analysis’, but a strong call for moral leadership to do the right thing?