Brett writes from a sheep farm in Michigan. He puts the news of recent events in Iraq in context so we might not be led astray in supporting more destructive foreign policy. He sends a regular email opinion and can be reached through me (so as not to recieve threats for his reasoned analysis).
I saw a poll the other day wherein was shown that more people think Bush was a competent President than Obama. I agree, but not because I think Mr. Bush was a competent President. Rather, it’s because Mr. Obama has taken incompetence to a whole new level. Given his total lack of relevant experience or demonstrated ability, I suppose that should have come as no surprise. I know, I know – if I or anyone else criticizes Mr. Obama or his policies that supposedly means I’m a racist. No, voting someone with no demonstrated ability to handle the job into that position because of the color of his skin is racist. I realize the Republicans didn’t offer any good alternatives, but there were good alternatives on the ballot. The sooner We the People get that through our heads the sooner we have a chance of turning things around.
The big news these days seems to be the chaos in Iraq. Gee, didn’t we go over there and make everything smily faces? Who could have guessed Iraq would disintegrate into anarchy? Oh wait, there were lots of us who predicted this would be the result of the unprovoked American invasion of Iraq. When Bush II and the Neocons (sounds like a bad rock band) conceived of the idea of invading Iraq it was a bad idea from the start. There was little chance it could end well.
Iraq was created as an artificial nation with arbitrary boundaries set by the British and French. There are three major distinct groups in Iraq, the Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds, who really don’t like each other. What could possibly go wrong by eliminating their strong central government? Yes, that central government was under the iron fist of a despotic ruler, but the world is full of despots. There are many that are/were worse in Africa, and don’t forget about North Korea. But we didn’t go off invading those countries to “fix” them. Though Saddam was certainly a nasty guy, and made some poor choices like invading Kuwait, look at Iraq under his rule. On the bad side, he tolerated no dissent and could be quite ruthless. He also weakened his country by warring with Iran and invading Kuwait. On the good side, Christians and other non-Muslims were relatively safe to practice their religions in Iraq. Women were respected, educated, and held many high level positions in society. He was intolerant of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. The standard of living was relatively high. It was relatively safe to walk the streets in Iraq.
Ah, but we needed to fix things because we always know what’s best for other people. We’re sure folks everywhere want to be like us. No. No they don’t. They don’t have the same history, the same society, the same religion, the same geography, or the same experiences. Just because our form of government, at least as originally conceived, is good for us and our set of ethics is good for us, doesn’t mean it’s what someone else wants. But, by golly, their gonna take it and like it if we have to bomb them back to the stone age in the process. Such narrow-minded arrogance.
We tout democracy as the answer for what ails the world, especially lately the Muslim world. So we use coercion, brute force, or subtle interference to bring democracy to places and people where it has never really been known. What could possibly go wrong? How’s that working out in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Palestine, and if Obama has his way, Syria? Our blind leaders in Washington seem to always be amazed that when we manage to get some form of democracy into a country in that area, the result is the people choose leadership that hates us and hates our values. Gosh, how did that happen? Don’t they all want to be like us?
The resulting chaos and intolerant governments resulting from our attempts to bring democracy into this area demonstrate very well why our founding fathers, and most any other thinking being, considered democracy to be one of the most despotic forms of tyranny. Democracy, as it has been said, is two coyotes and a lamb deciding what’s for dinner. There is no protection for the minority or the weak under democracy. That is why the American states were organized as republics under the rule of law. If a majority of people in one of those countries thinks Sharia law is how they ought to govern, then Sharia law it is under democracy. Democracy does NOT equate to freedom.
And while we have done so much to change that part of the world, we have been equally changed. We now have a government that spies on its own people, prying into every aspect of what should be private communications. We have a government that kills our own citizens without trial with just an assertion by that government that they needed killed. We have a government that imprisons our citizens without trial, proof, or even charges by just giving them a label of “terrorist.” We have a government that ignores any constitutional constraint. We have a government that seeks to stifle dissent by using the heavy hand of the IRS, or by limiting free speech. We have a government that works to force its preferred religion of secularism upon people of other faiths, i.e. forcing those with religious aversion to abortion to provide medical coverage for abortion. We have a government that is openly preparing for war against its own citizens on its own soil. Yes, our United States government in the last thirteen and a half years has effected much change in the mid-east and in America. No, it’s not been for the better.
It is really, really sad to think of the thousands of good young Americans that were killed, the tens of thousands that were injured and scarred for life, and the hundreds of thousands of non-Americans (just as important to God) that were killed, maimed, and lives destroyed, and the trillions of dollars of destroyed resources. All because of our senseless, arrogant, self-righteous viewpoint that we know best how to improve everyone’s lives. All for naught. That thought is heart-rending.
Quote: I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest. – Henry David Thoreau