Saturday, October 21, 2006

Our National Character

Iraq, the debacle that keeps on more trouble, more deaths and no graceful way out. So this is the result when you go to a war that you planned to start and had no other plans after accomplishing your goal.

I did two years at a community college before I applied to Cal Poly. I was so focused on getting accepted, that when I did, I relaxed like the hard part was over. I was rudely disabused of this notion the next day when I walked into my Biology class and everyone was taking the midterm. Which I had forgotten. What a disaster that was. I just don't get the plant thing.

Well, I had to do a lot of extra credit to rescue my A. I even wrote a paper on the basics of cloning using E. coli bacteria. Turned out it was also an extra credit question on the final for even more points. My point, you might ask? I recognized I had screwed up and immediately sought options to improve my situation. I expect the same of my "leaders". Competent resolutions to difficult situations.

Even if you were warned ahead of time and disregarded all advice to the contrary. Even if you think you're right when all the evidence is stacked against you. Lying, hiding and passing the buck are unacceptable and childish attempts at cowardly avoiding the consequences of your actions.
In the eyes of the Bush administration and its foreign policy allies in Washington, Iraqi reconstruction and the march toward democracy are just a matter of time. All that's needed is for the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Iraqi armed forces to quell the sectarian violence. Put together the right alliances and the problem is solved, they believe. They see the answer to Iraq's problems in political terms.

But there are other aspects of Iraq that bother those of us who aren't as smart as the brilliant Washington thinkers who got us where we are today.

Some of us can't forget the prewar talk about weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein's partnership with al-Qaeda, and how wrong the foreign policy elite were about that.

Then there was the rosy post-Hussein world portrayed by the Bush administration, in which Iraqis, liberated from the grip of fear and imbued with a deep and abiding respect for human rights and freedom, would be busy building a better future for themselves.
Well, we all know that didn't happen. I had this Saudi patient in the time between Aghanistan and Iraq. He explained to me about the three sects and that Hussein was what was keeping them from killing each other and if Bush proceeded at the current level of discussion and invaded Iraq, it would break into civil war and we wouldn't be able to stop it.

Now if this was baseball, Bush would be out. Strike one was brutal. It whipped by with such speed and force that it took out the catcher and the umpire. Supposedly, nobody (at least in this administration) could have known that terrorists would fly planes into buildings.

Strike two was a foul pop-up. We invaded Afghanistan in order to remove the Taliban, destroy al-Qaeda and capture Osama bin Laden. It looked good coming off the bat but it landed just to the right of the first baseline. Five years later, Osama's been forgotten (again!) and the Taliban are back and rested from the seventh inning stretch. Newsflash! Obama does not equal Osama, don't get sidetracked because it's an election year.

A series of foul balls have followed. Flying back from vacation to try and interfere in Terri Schiavo's life, letting the city of New Orleans drown on national television while you were on vacation, letting North Korea develop and test nuclear weapons while terror and instability are increasing across the globe in reaction to your posturing.

What should have been your third strike, is Iraq. Mishandled from the beginning and it looks like the end will be the same. There is not one part of Iraq that has been improved, that has benefited from our presence. Not one. There is very little of America that has benefited from your actions and there are many military families who are missing loved ones. Some permanently.

Why isn't it your third strike? Because you ignored and then changed the rules. The catcher was neutered during your first strike and the umpires were changed so strikes became balls.

Now all that's left is for you to declare the game over and yourself the winner.

Mr. Bush, you are our national character, and it doesn't look good.

Crossposted at Big Brass Blog.

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