Dear Mr. President,
In reference to your recent statement alleging an electoral mandate to conduct the war in Iraq, I have but one word in response: Bunk!
I am centrist registered Democrat. As such I speak only for myself. I cannot nor would I presume to speak for any other political centrists, moderates, swing voters, Reagan Dems… you get the picture.
That out of the way, let me state in unambiguous terms my opinion that the Iraq invasion and occupation, foisted upon this nation via a Bush administration campaign of willful ignorance and outright deception, is nothing less than an unmitigated disaster. And a disaster it will remain irregardless the outcome of US orchestrated elections, troop withdrawals, support from puppet Arab regimes.. you name it.
I supported the action in Afghanistan. Though I could quibble with some of the tactics and regional strategy implemented in that ongoing struggle, it was and remains on the whole a just campaign in the just cause of combating global terrorism. The Afghan conflict is not, nor should it be, anti-Islamic. But it is justly and justifiably anti-fanatic.
Not so the Iraq debacle. It is instead the ill conceived, ideologically driven bastard of an unholy alliance between our own brand of home grown religious fanatics and the equally delusional Straussian neo-cons. It is the worst kind of foreign policy imaginable. One where the realization of arcane socio-political theory combined with twisted theology displaces the balanced rational evaluation so critical to a sound geo-political decision process. It’s policy more familiar to mid 20th century Fascism or Bolshevism than 21st century liberal democracy.
In such a scenario as this there can be no middle ground. The zealous, self-righteous nature of the process puts it out of the reach of any real consensus. Centrism is by nature a pragmatic approach. But there has been nothing practical or reasoned about Bush’s reckless Iraq adventure. In hindsight it’s now clear that the invasion was largely a foregone conclusion, even before 9/11. All pretense at continuing the containment of Saddam in coordination with our allies and the UN was just that. Once 9/11 provided needed cover, the American people and the world were railroaded into accepting this initial gambit in a grand strategy to ostensibly stabilize the volatile Middle East, bolster the security of Israel, and help ensure a ongoing ready supply of oil.
Now in the midst what has spiraled into a full blown middle eastern quagmire, this despite the dismissive pre-conflict assurances from the neo-cons and their allies that it would be a veritable walk-over, we have mounting indications that a further misguided adventure into neighboring Iran is in the offing, it’s advocates apparently emboldened by Bush’s razor thin margin of victory. This in spite of the fact that our military is currently stretched to the functional limit and public support for the Iraq war, never solid to begin with, is now sagging. Astounding.
The Iraqi elections will, apparently, be held this month; though at what level of participation and by whom remains to be seen. What is sure is the resultant vindication that will be trumpeted by Bush and his lackeys. Baloney. Even if the poll were to be judged fair and broadly representative – a huge if, to flaunt it as justification for this snafu is tantamount to leaping blindly but willingly off a cliff and then touting the wisdom of such reckless stupidity as evidenced by the fact you survived with only a broken back and a skull fracture. Hurray for our side!
And the list goes on.
Saddam was brutalizing his people:
Given the at least tens of thousands of civilians killed and many more horribly maimed both mentally and physically thus far, Saddam would’ve been challenged indeed to match the brutality of Bush’s meat grinder over the same period.
We’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to here:
It’s almost embarrassing to even consider the validity of this one. To hear apparently sane people (though, admittedly, they all likely voted for Bush; so..) parrot this fallacy speaks to the level of ignorance and outright denial among far too many Americans. But it’s now a case of justification become mantra among war supporters, so here goes.
Put down that comic book, sit up straight and listen closely. There was NO significant cooperation or collaboration between Saddam and Islamic terrorist groups before the invasion. The invasion and occupation has instead inflamed anti-American feeling in the Islamic world, as well as elsewhere, and served as a recruiting boon to these terror groups, our true enemies. At the same time we have weakened many of our most valuable foreign alliances by ramming this fiasco though unilaterally. The coalition of the willing is a joke. A very bad joke. Yes, we are in fact less safe as a direct result of Bush’s bull-headed ill-informed foolishness.
John Kerry, though late in coming around was absolutely correct. This war is a distraction from, not part of, the war on terror. End of story.
This war is not about oil:
George Bush has largely been a miserable failure and an unrepentant fool as President. He does deserve some credit for leadership immediately post 9/11 in combating terror groups and uniting the country. But he gambled this all away with the Iraq adventure. His domestic policies, well to the right politically of most Americans, have on the whole matched the war. Reckless and mostly feckless. Now as his second term begins all signs are that the myopic, simplistic incompetence as well as the appointments and policy initiatives motivated by dogmatic, impractical ideology will remain the norm. And this is a tragic shame.
Where, at this crossroads in human history, a unifying leader of all America and the world could be the agent of real and lasting positive change, George Bush instead has been a divider and a reactionary and he has steered us all off the solid path of global progress laid by his predecessor. He has done so willfully, gleefully and with the misguided and frightening belief that he is doing the work of his god. Perhaps he indeed sees himself as sewing seeds for the second coming. But by this lunacy he in fact only serves to sew the dark seeds of another more ancient mythological being, Chaos.
Therefore, on George’s inaugural, this centrist will join with millions of Americans left, right and center in protesting the worst Presidency in at least my middle-aged lifetime. I will do so because, though I believe Bush did win the election, even democracies can make mistakes. Indeed, no one or no thing is perfect. Fifty two percent of the electorate just made a grave mistake. It was their right to do so and I’ll fight for that right. But I’ll also exercise mine in peacefully protesting the disaster they chose to revisit upon us all.
I hope to see you there.