Thursday, June 30, 2005

Time To Walk the Walk



The other night, the President gave us yet another set of justifications in the never ending backtrack of why we‘re in Iraq. This justification is actually something I can accept. We now went to liberate the Iraqi people, and give them the gift of democracy.

What a great gift to give! The right of the people to elect their leaders, a government of laws rather than whims and answerable to its citizens, self-determination, due process, the rights of liberty and persuit of happiness are all values we Americans most cherish. We may disagree whether this was a sufficient reason to make war on a people, but we must unify in full agreement that this gift is precious.

Call me cynical, but show me I'm wrong. After the WMDs, the drone aircraft that would create mushroom clouds in our cities, aluminum tubes, mobile biolabs, secret al Qaeda bases teaching Ricin 101, yellow cake, cakewalks, candy and roses, my bullshit detector has redlined. Show me we're not there to fulfill a PNAC (Project for a New American Century) pipedream. Show me we're not there to control their resources and build permanent American military bases. Show me that we can live our American values and give the people of Iraq our greatest gift, the right of self determination and democracy.

It's time to work with the Iraqi interim government on a timetable for a phased withdrawal of foreign forces. The interim government has been elected by the Iraqi people, their security forces now number over 100,000 to the 10,000 insurgents claimed by the administration. On the one year anniversary of the transfer of power to the Iraqi interim government, their elected prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, is requesting a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces. Earlier this year, Zogby international polled the Shia population, who constitute 60% of the Iraqi population, and 69% agree that occupation forces should begin to withdraw.

By January, Iraq will have a new constitution and a fully elected parliament. It's time to begin the transfer our gift to this new Iraq. It's time for the new Iraq to begin their own path, and rebuild their nation. It's time to return the treasures we seized early during the invasion, such as the palates of dollars that were transferred to the United States, with full accounting. It's time for the Iraqi people to manage their own contracts for rebuilding their infrastructure. It's time for them to provide for their own security.

If we can match the words that stated our ideals of a free and democratic Iraq, we can unite in celebration of the gift we gave. We can celebrate the service of our troops, reassure our wounded, and know that those who made the ultimate sacrifice didn't do so in vain.

Our public debate as to whether the Administration violated the public trust, whether incompetents were placed in power as occupation authority, whether contracts were awarded and managed in the best interest of the American people, whether our policies violated the humane treatment of prisoners , etc.. But we can’t deny ourselves a celebration of unity and service of that great gift we gave.

This weekend, we celebrate the 229th anniversary of our own independence. The path was never easy, and the sacrifice was great. But we stand united as a people knowing that the trials and tribulations of our darkest hours were worth price paid. It’s time for the Iraqi people to decide how they’ll be celebrating and sacrificing for their independence.

Resources:

The Iraq War: Departure Does Not Mean Defeat


President Addresses Nation, Discusses Iraq, War on Terror

On edit. My links don't seem to be working, and I don't understand why. If you want to get to them, cut and paste these:

http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/steinberg/20050223.htm

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/06/20050628-7.html

10 Comments:

At 4:43 PM, Blogger DAK said...

I read your blog posting, and I really liked the direction of it. Your closing statement is quite telling: "It’s time for the Iraqi people to decide how they’ll be celebrating and sacrificing for their independence."

True statement, indeed. However, I think something is missing. The Iraqis need to stand-up, fight, and die for it all. In my mind, freedom and democracy are NOT gifts to be given, but rather, gifts to be discovered--and if need be--fought to the death for. That is American history and it remains to be the American way. You wake up one day and realize that you were intended to be free by the Creator's design. And then you find the courage to go and fight anyone who may say differently. You kill anyone who seeks to enslave you or restrict your freedom. President Bush repeatedly says, "Freedom is on the march", and I say, heck yea--right on up through the "vinyard where the grapes of wrath are stored!" You gotta fight for your right to be free--which often means being mad as hell to get the job done.

If one can "give" someone else freedom, then the converse must also be true. How awful it would be if after America "gave" Iraq its freedom, and we then took it back, just because some future president wanted to and lied about the reason? What if we re-invaded Iraq in 2012 because an extremist (albeit democratic) Iraqi government decided to turn Iraq against America, not sell any more oil to America, and handed America an invoice demanding payment for the repair costs to fix their country that WE DAMAGED by declaring war on Iraq with not one bit of evidence to support the original premises of the war?

Freedom is an interesting thing, with a very sordid history. I could juxtapose the American Revolution with the War on Iraq, however, as an African American, I prefer to contrast the War on Iraq with the struggle to end U.S. Slavery. If we are discussing "freedom" in its purest sense, what better comparison can there be? The freedom of African Slaves and their descendents is apropos to today's discussion of Iraq.

The end, the true end, of U.S. Slavery and all its ill effects took well over 100 years beyond the Civil War and the "Emancipation Proclamation". And even after the Civil War, the South's systems of Reconstruction, Jim Crow Laws and Government Sanctioned Racial Segregation were the longsuffering by-products of CENTURIES of brutal and inhumane slavery of Black Africans in this country. And to this day, southerners are still pining for the long lost days of Dixie--to the extent they still like to fly the terrorist confederate flag over state government buildings! That to me is outrageous, and frankly, its treason.

Yes, we had a Civil War, but not it was not to end slavery; it was merely a war to save the Union. There was never a "WAR" fought to end slavery and bring freedom to all. Never once were all of the southern slave holders defeated, and killed -- from pillar to post -- to end slavery.

Yes, the end to Slavery was indeed granted, but it was not fought to the bitter end. Had we killed all of the southern slave owners, perhaps we could have avoided the many dark decades that followed after 1868. Believe it or not, Blacks did not have across the board voting rights in this country until 1964!!! That was decades after women's suffrage, and well over a century since the first battle in the Civil War. And here is the kicker, the Voting Rights Act of 1964 has not been made permanent. Yes, many of us fear that one day, it could be repealed. Hard to imagine, but so was the idea of planes flying into buildings--and we saw that happen, didn't we. I promise, I will not suffer from a lack of imagination on anything from now own!

My point, and I do have one, is that if we had fought Slavery to the death in this country, African Americans would not have had to wait 100 years to get VOTING RIGHTS, CIVIL RIGHTS, or even HUMAN RIGHTS. Freedom would have been immediate if it was won on the battlefield, rather than half heartedly granted by the President and an act of Congress. Remember this: the government giveth and it also taketh away.

So, the U.S. is in Iraq, touting "freedom" and "democracy", when our own track record is not so good. Hypocrisy of hypocrisies. In fact, citizens (like me) of Washington, DC to THIS VERY DAY do not have ANY voting representation in the U.S. Congress! And yet my friends and loved ones are over in Iraq fighting to bring Iraqi's freedom and rights that I still don't have?! Give me a break.

It's time for the U.S. to evacuate Iraq, and let the Iraqi's sink or swim.

Otherwise, they will remain helpless for the next century, and we'll go broke in the process--unless of course, the Iraqi's are willing to trade our protection for free oil... If that was on the discussion table, maybe I'd think a little differently about all this. But currently, our troops are dying trying to re-build their country--all with the promise of nothing in return, for purposes that seem to change like the seasons.

God save us all.

 
At 1:28 AM, Blogger Dick Tuck said...

Well put. I think we're in agreement that liberty is a gift that must be sacrificed for. OTOH, how long would it have taken America to earn its liberty if the French didn't intervene?

I also believe that more Iraqis will be standing up and sacrificing when they aren't put in a position of appearing to collaborate with a foreign occupying power.

I see you just started up your own blog. I'm looking forward to hear more of your thoughts. Good luck with it.

 
At 5:38 PM, Blogger Todd Smyth said...

How is this any different or more effective than what is already failing us?

It's not concise. It's not clear. It's weak and it doesn't break the power of Bush's message that we haven't been attacked because Bush is protecting us. We fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here.

How does what you are saying break or interrupt the Bush frame?

 
At 12:50 AM, Blogger Dick Tuck said...

How is this any different or more effective than what is already failing us?

Hi Todd. I tried, in my humble way, to present an argument for withdrawal, and used Bush's words to support it. I think that's different.

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger TheRef said...

I just came across your blog. It is well written, informative, and on point (meaning that I agree with much of what you say). I have added your blog to my link list...my small following will enjoy reading your views. I will ensure that they have your blog id.

Would appreciate your adding my blog to your link list.

See what I really think at: http://recoverthat.blogspot.com.

 
At 3:16 PM, Blogger Todd Smyth said...

I agree with what you (Dick) are saying. But what is your objective?

Republicans are busy destroying the entire Democratic Party and all means of support for it. They are destroying the unions by outsourcing jobs and weak immigration enforcement and support from trial lawyers with Tort Reform. When they succeed in the next two years or so, Democracy will be dead.

How does helping them maintain their smokescreen/diversion in Iraq do us any good?

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger Dick Tuck said...

Theref,

Thanks. This wouldn't be much fun if people didn't get something out of it.

 
At 6:45 PM, Blogger Dick Tuck said...

Todd, I agree that there's a whole lot of shit flying out there. I can just fight one battle at a time. I feel more effective if I can stay focused.

I posted an article about the dirty tricks being played at PBS/NPR, one on how the administration is hiding and distorting science, and how Karl Rove's comments about liberals are offensive.

I give you my word that I'll deal with theft, fraud, and corruption in future articles.

Check out today's entry on the discovery of Rove being the second source on Plame's outting.

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger Todd Smyth said...

I guess my point is that it is all only one thing but so many of us keep chasing a million different things and add to their smoke screen.

It's all greed and power. The war, corruption, lies, incompetence are all inservice of greed and power.

REPUBLICANS ARE ROBBING US BLIND!

 
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