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Thursday, September 13, 2007
The old Switcheroo

I was thinking this week about how great the war was going in Iraq, and it took me back to an article I read in the Fall of 2004, about why we had to invade. I know now that it is because we must grant democracy to the Iraqi people, but even three years ago, we had already gone through 21 different reasons for attacking. I shit you not, and here they are:

1) To prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
2) For regime change.
3) To further the war on terror.
4) Because of Iraq’s violation of United Nations resolutions.
5) Because of Saddam Hussein’s evil dictatorship and actions.
6) Because of a lack of weapons inspections in Iraq.
7) To liberate Iraq.
8) Because of Iraq’s ties to al Qaeda.
9) Because Iraq was an imminent threat.
10) To disarm Iraq.
11) To conclude the Gulf War of 1991.
12) Because Hussein was a threat to the region.
13) For the safety of the world.
14) To support the United Nations.
15) Because the United States could (easy victory).
16) To preserve peace around the world.
17) Because Iraq was a unique threat.
18) To transform the region.
19) As a warning to other terrorist nations.
20) Because Hussein hates the United States and will act against it.
21) Because history calls the United States to action.

Now, I suppose Number 18 might cover the whole "grant democracy to the Iraqis" thing, so I won't say that this notion is yet another excuse. But lists aside, have we made any progress?

According to the rather sunny report that General Petraeus delivered to Congress this week, the number of Iraqis being killed in terrorist incidents has dropped by 50% this year (only 2000 a month now!). In spite of this great news, the Iraqi government can't seem to get anything done. There are hopeless divisions due to the different Muslim factions that are trying to get their piece of the action, none of which are willing to compromise, take a step back, or admit that their side may have blood on its hands anytime in the, oh, let's say, eight centuries or so.

If you are willing to acknowledge these facts, you may want to throw your hands up in despair. I look at them, and can only think, "Mission Accomplished." In reverse.

George W. Bush, in his efforts to make Iraq more like the United States, has actually managed to make the US more like Iraq.

In Iraq, we have religious groups who have aligned themselves politically with parties that support their particular dogma. There is not, nor has there ever been, any room for compromise between these parties, because all sides are convinced that they are the only ones who know The Truth.

In the United States, where we used to have a two-party system that was capable of compromise, especially on important issues, we now have idiotic, fruitless (no offense Senator Craig) squabbling, because both parties are certain that their way is the only way to do things, and that compromise is a sign of weakness.

Iraq is in the Middle East, it is overwhelmingly Muslim, and even as an ostensible democracy, would still have an Islamic-oriented government. There could never be an institutionalized writ of separation between church (or mosque) and state.

The United States is predominantly Christian, and even though many of the founders were themselves believers in Christianity, they saw fit to not exclude anyone by having a de facto state religion.

Now, however, we have a government in place which is run at the highest levels by evangelical Christians, whose views on the universe and law are not altogether different than those held by Taliban clerics. They believe god, or more specifically, Jesus, should be a part of every single facet of American life, and that there is no type of charity but that of the Christian variety. They know that to believe otherwise makes one an infidel in this life, and condemned to hell in the next one.

Well, no thanks.

I wish the Iraqis well, but they and their inevitable theocracy can go rot. I want my country back. I want people running things that understand science and the value of research. I want the ones in charge to be able to see past their own selfish desires and dogma, and try to figure out what the consequences of actions might be, not just today but for the next fifty years. I want a president who has doubts, because no one but children and imbeciles could possibly ever have a clear conscience. Certainty, especially the moral brand, is the clearest evidence of a closed mind, and people who claim it ought not be left in charge of anything more important than a microwave oven.

These men who would protect us from evil have instead trashed our Constitution, and lowered us to the level of the enemy whom we proclaim to be so utterly backward in its thinking. And I'm not just talking about our Saudi allies who knocked down the World Trade Center, we have become more like the fascist Communist governments run by Stalin and Mao. We may be a ways off from that level, but we sure as hell are as close to that point as we have ever been.

George W. Bush, the staunch anti-Communist who kept the skies over Texas safe from the Viet Cong in the 1960s, and now battles to keep the American Way intact by taking moral lessons from the worst people on Earth. The 3,000 who died on 9/11/01, and the nearly 3,800 American servicemen and women who have died since then are casualties of a war to promote American-style democracy. It is a war we lost the moment the so-called Patriot Act was signed into law in 2001, and its headstone was cemented in place with the signing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which eliminated Habeus Corpus.

We have forfeited our birthright to a group of inbred fanatics who could not take it away from us if they had their numbers increased a thousandfold. And we have done it thanks to the type of leadership one would expect in a third-rate, pissant country like Iraq.

Iraq has American-style democracy all right. If that country even exists in ten years, I'll buy you a Coke.

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posted at 4:43 PM

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