Friday, August 12, 2005

August, Bloody August

This is why I'm going to Crawford on Saturday.

(Warning: I'm stepping up on my soapbox.)

See, I'm sort of conflicted in my opinion on Iraq. I'm certain that we never should have attacked and that the attack and subsequent occupation are textbook cases of absolutely no planning whatsoever. I took a half dozen international affairs classes my freshman year of college (back when I was an international affairs major) and I could have predicted most of the problems with the Bush plan.

I'm also certain that the Bush Administration has failed our troops. They haven't provided the necessary training, equipment, and armored vehicles---despite having known for more than a year that people are dying because of a lack of these three things. They "support" our troops in rhetoric only.

I'm certain that Bush has lied and continues to lie to and deceive the U.S. Congress, the American people, and the international community. No WMDs have been found and there's never been any evidence to suggest that they existed. The real price of this war is being disguised by requesting funds in special legislation rather than as part of the Department of Defense's budget. Conditions in Iraq are worse than when we invaded. And getting the truth about Gitmo and the prisons in Iraq is nearly impossible.

But I'm not so certain that pulling all our troops is the right thing to do. Like it or not, we created this problem. And our troops may be the only thing preventing complete chaos and civil war in Iraq. What Bush failed to mention when he was whipping the country into a war frenzy is that nation building is a very long, messy process that requires a commitment of troops, money, and technical assistance over many years. If we pull out our troops now, we risk a major humanitarian crisis and an increase in anti-American sentiment, (History lesson: The roots of the September 11 attacks go back to when we encouraged Afghanistan to resist Soviet occupation, which left the country's infrastructure completely devastated, and then reneaged on our promise to help in reconstruction.) not to mention destabilization of the entire region.

So why am I going to Crawford? Because the Bush Administration has not once acknowledged any accountability for this mess. Because they are doing nothing to improve the situation. Because they are acting like the war is over when troops are still dying by the dozens each month. Because they want to chalk this one up in the win column when, with the most generous interpretation, it's a draw. Because they have formed an oligarchy in which the vast majority of U.S. citizens are completely shut out---the same citizens who are losing their lives or losing their sons, fathers, brothers, husbands in this war. Because the media has stopped asking the tough questions and prefers to chase down runaway brides than to investigate a corrupt president. I'm going because if I don't, then I'm no better than the members of Congress, the media, and all the others who prefer to bury their heads in the sand than confront the problem.


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