Sunday, April 13, 2008

Statehood for Iraq

One of the primary reasons Iraq should be made a state is to keep us from bombing it again the next time oil-thirsty neo-neocons with light crude dripping from their fangs manage to steal another election. In fact, John McCain may not even need to steal this one if the tenor of the seemingly endless Democratic nomination process continues to distract from the vulgarity of our endless occupation in Iraq.

If McCain succeeds, then we're off to a great start on the 100 years in Iraq plan. His supporters are angry at the way McCain's critics have seized on the 100 years in Iraq comment. Too bad. He said it. He may have meant 100 years like the the comparatively tranquil ones our military spent in post-war Germany. It's not like Germany, Korea or Japan because this is an insurgency.

Even Dick Cheney saw the insurgency coming a decade away. In 1994, Dick Cheney eloquently made the case for not occupying Iraq. Cheney asked way back then, "How many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?" He answered himself quite correctly, "Our view was not very many, and I think we got it right."

Yet, as it dawned on the American people that we were looking at an occupation in prelude to a bloody, chaotic civil war, President Bush repeatedly pretended like Iraqis wanted us there as an occupying force. Bush claimed that U.S. forces would leave when the Iraqis asked us to, then Bush very cleverly made sure no one ever asked them. The problem for Bush is that some people actually have memories, even in ADD HD America.

Even Saturday Night Live, which may have saved Clinton's campaign when they skewered the media's allegedly unfair treatment of her several weeks ago, now has forcefully lampooned Senator Clinton's claim that she was against the war at the time of the resolution, authorizing George W. Bush to use force in Iraq in October of 2002, three weeks before an important midterm election, of which she voted in the affirmative.

In a sketch that that aired April 12, 2008, SNL parodied the mutually obsequious Congressional hearings that featuring David Petaeus, Ambassador Ryan Clark Crocker and the Presidential candidates. The writers made the case that Barack Obama will be the next president precisely because he was against Iraq from the beginning. The sketch plainly shows what reasonable people now believe--we should have known better and we now need a President that did know better.

Yet there are still plenty of people out there who, to this day, who still do not know better. Columnist William Rivers Pitt wrote a column recently about the liars in the administration. He received this response from a reader, "Your silly column amazed me. Of course none of the people you mention were liars regarding Iraq's WMD. Everyone thought Saddam had WMD, including Saddam's own generals. There were no lies."

Pitt listed dozens of lies in response. "Simply stated," Dick Cheney said in a speech to VFW National Convention in August of 2002, "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." "There is already a mountain of evidence that Saddam Hussein is gathering weapons for the purpose of using them," Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said at a briefing in September of 2002. Speaking to the UN General Assembly a few days later the President told them, "Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons." In a radio address in the following month, Bush said, "Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons -- the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have." These are but a few of the seventy-five lies Pitt cites.

Obviously Iraqi statehood is not going to happen, but the moral debt we owe the people of that country means we must act as if their people are our own. But in light of these lies, lies that led to an illegal invasion and a ruthless occupation that cost the lives of uncounted scores of their citizens, we must marry the fate of their democracy to the fate of ours. Colin Powell brought himself much shame for participating in this butchery, many of the administration's lies came out of his mouth, but it is his so-called pottery barn rule must guide the fate of the future integrity of the United States. We broke it; we bought it and we can not disown responsibility for our representatives' actions, especially the actions of rogue representatives, because it is our duty as citizens to make sure those unfit for power never wield it.

We can do as Bush asks and let history be his judge. Maybe he'll be foolish enough to test his self-proclaimed immunity to these war crimes by traveling abroad. The heinous Military Commissions Act works against him in other countries, where it can be cited as proof that there's no chance he will be charged in the United States, therefore must face justice abroad.

But Bush and his fellow war criminals' fate remains beside the point. Until there is peace, burgeoning democracy and prosperity in Iraq that equals our own, we will have a national morality deficit that we must address. While we must not allow future Presidents and Congresses to use that debt as an excuse to sustain the occupation, or even a military presence in Iraq, we must takes measures as drastic as necessary to never allow ourselves to forget what was done and to insure that it never happens again. No matter how much of our future wealth it costs, we must find means outside those of the military-industrial complex to rebuild and strongly fortify this country we allowed our leaders to so horrifically disfigure.

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