I haven’t really posted much on the war in Iraq, but there’s been so much going on that I really need to put some of my thoughts up.
First off, I’m a progressive liberal. I don’t like the current administration’s attempts to turn America into a theocracy, I don’t like them using fear to push the USA PATRIOT ACT, which is being used for non-terrorist related drug enforcement. I don’t think we should have sent our troops to Iraq.
That said, I don’t think that we should bring our troops home either. We shouldn’t be there, but since we’ve destabilized the country we damn well better stay there until it’s stable again. We can’t simply say
Ooops, we went to war under false pretenses and didn’t realize how hard it was going to be, so we’re going to leave the Iraqis to their own devices. We made a mistake in going into Iraq, but it would be an even bigger mistake to leave now.
Now that I’ve provided some context for my opinions, here’s what I’ve been seeing lately:
You need to be reading From Ann Arbor to Beirut by David Enders. David is a journalist and University of Michigan alumni who is in Iraq. Some recent posts have included anectdotes about kidnappings and Public Affairs Officers recognizing him from his High Times article.
I spotted this imagery at Seat of the Revolution and thought it was pretty poignant:
The first image is a picture taken of an Iraqi POW that was told that if he fell off of the cardboard box he is on he would be electrocuted. Obviously we don’t put people in concentration camps because of their ethnicity (we just deport them) but the similarities are striking. This war was was presented using the language of good vs. evil, it’s important to make sure that we stay on the good side.
Another thing to remember is that we didn’t go to war with Iraq because we’re the good guys. We went to war because Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction posed a clear and present danger to the United States, which is what made a preemptive war – a war that we fought even though we weren’t attacked – acceptable. While I didn’t question the existence of WMDs in the buildup to war (I objected to the preemptive declaration of war without international support) I think that it’s disgraceful that our bravest men and women are dying because of faulty intelligence.
Is the world a better place with Saddam Hussein in prison? Of course, but if the ends justify the means then any sort of vigilantism is acceptable. Some people don’t seem to understand that even though the end result is good, if it comes from bad actions the bad finds its way into the good. Democracy hinges on the rule of law, and if our leader can decide to go above international law, what does that say about our faith in democracy? In November it’s important that you exercise democracy and vote against Bush, it’s doubly important if you live in a swing state.
Finally, as more and more American men and women die each day in Iraq, it’s important to remember the words of our Commander in Chief:
There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on. It’s that hubris, that arrogance, that cowboy swagger that turns allies into enemies and isn’t going to gain the trust of the Iraqi people.
Of course, the opposite sentiment wouldn’t necessarily be much better. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said that Thai troops would be recalled from Iraq if attacked. I’m not sure what’s a better way to invite attacks on your troops, to ask insurgents to “bring them on” or to say that as soon as you are attacked you will leave.
Finally, there was a bit in this week’s Onion that Extrastout caught:
Bush To Iraqi Militants: ‘Please Stop Bringing It On’
WASHINGTON, DC—In an internationally televised statement Monday, President Bush modified a July 2003 challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces. “Terrorists, Saddam loyalists, and anti-American insurgents: Please stop bringing it on now,” Bush said at a Monday press conference. “Nine months and 500 U.S. casualties ago, I may have invited y’all to bring it on, but as of today, I formally rescind that statement. I would officially like for you to step back.” The president added that the “it” Iraqis should stop bringing includes gunfire, bombings, grenade attacks, and suicide missions of all types.