Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Iraq and Roll Politics

Before I had a blog, I used to torment personal friends only with my rants. Most of them are, thankfully, lost to history. In cleaning off my hard drive in preparation of getting a new computer, I found this one, originally written March 15, 2003, just a few days before shock and awe.

Okay, so the email petition against the war was a fake. Big deal. The point is still well taken.

The Bush Administration has not made the case for doing whatever the hell it wants to do. Colin Powell’s evidence was not a smoking gun, it wasn’t even a sputtering candle. The follow-up evidence of the medical attention provided to what’s-his-name isn’t worth talking about, either. Seems Iraq got rid of him as quickly as practically possible.

Sure, Saddam Hussein is the worst thing to happen to the world since reality television. The Bushies’ argument for his removal, once you wade through the raisons du jour, seems to be that Iraq is a rogue state who can’t be trusted to live respectably in the community of nations.

They’re right. He can’t. Unfortunately, Bush has squandered so much hard earned American prestige that we may be destined to be the losers here, whether Saddam survives or not.

This Administration has pulled us out of the Kyoto Greenhouse Accords. We refuse to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, lest any American’s be tried as war criminals. (I wonder what the reaction would be from Don Rumsfeld is another country had done that.) We have made mention more than once that we are willing to use nuclear weapons in Iraq.

A few weeks ago Rumsfeld went to Congress to ask that the Missile Defense System, better and more appropriately known as “Star Wars,” be excluded from operational testing before being deployed. He says we need it right now. The fact that there hasn’t been a single successful test doesn’t enter into the equation.

John Ashcroft makes daily forays into new and creative interpretations of the Constitution. The Orwellian-named Patriot Act essentially makes possession of a library card probable cause for a warrant. There is now a database to determine your “threat level” as an airline passenger. A red listing will deny you access to your plane, whether it’s accurate or not. Even the current poodle Congress finally has its hackles up at the proposed Defense Department database to track and cross-reference every financial transaction we make.

Are these the acts of an administration reacting to an overwhelming electoral mandate? Hardly. Let’s think back a couple of years. The votes finally got counted and Bush won, but more people voted for Gore. The fairness of the victory is not in dispute here, just the size of the mandate.

We said we didn’t need the UN, which we probably don’t, then went in for a resolution, anyway. We said we didn’t need another resolution, but we’re still fooling around getting one, unless it’s one of those days where we don’t think we have the votes. All compromises not suggested by us are deemed to be non-starters.

The rhetoric coming from our side has been so harsh as to alienate many of our regular supporters. (Screw the French, no one cares what they think. They have been irrelevant for many years and are just now figuring it out.) We have no place left to negotiate to. Over 150,000 troops can’t be kept in the field indefinitely. They either have to come home or get to work soon, and there’s no way they can come home now without Bush getting more egg on his face than Bill Clinton when they found Monica’s dress.

What has us in this situation? Reduced to its simplest form, it’s because George W. Bush thinks he is God’s instrument on Earth. His fundamentalist Christian beliefs have given him the moral certainty that he is right and anyone who opposes him is wrong. That explains much of what passes for diplomatic communication coming from Washington these days: You’re either for us, or against us. Anyone who disagrees must be wrong, and is therefore either the enemy, or sleeping with him.

I’m no bible scholar, but I don’t remember hearing a lot of that kind of attitude attributed to the man from whom Christianity has taken its name. It sounds a whole lot more like what we would hear from our current sworn enemies, where everything is in absolutes and annihilation of the infidels is the only recourse.

The Bush Administration has told us that the removal of Saddam Hussein will take care of everything from terrorism to Mid East peace to the common cold. Running amuck like a longshoreman on a three-day drunk will remove Saddam, but it is more likely to create more terrorists of those currently on the fence than it is to lessen the danger.

Then again, no matter what is said, lessening the danger isn’t the primary objective here anymore. All that’s matters now is that Bush is Right. And he is. God is on our side.

I hope God remembers that when we’re through there.

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