Saturday, April 10, 2004

Benevolent Oppressor?

Following Violent Crackdown on Protests, Anger Rules Shi'ite Streets

The Bush Administration has tripped on their own hypocrisy, and they very well may be unable to get up. Bush has long insisted that ours is the benign occupation of a liberator, but Iraqis are now rejecting that thin tissue of lies as an unworthy foundation to build a nation on. They seem to have decided instead to pledge together their fate, their lives, and their sacred honor to stand together in defiance of what they see now as oppression and exploitation. I can't honestly say I blame them.

The shut down of Muqtada Al-Sadr's newspaper was the craven act of an oppressor, not the act of a liberator guiding a nation to freedom. We followed this by firing on Iraqi Shi'a protestors staging a sit-in peacfully, and killing several of them deliberately. The troops and commanders involved should be tried for war crimes if there is any factual basis to such serious charges.

So far, it appears we have violated the rights of Iraqis to freedom of the press, the right to peacably assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances. And that is just this particular instance. I feel sure that there are other instances where the ends were seen to justify impermissable means in this war that should never have been.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Certainly high on the list of any Creator will be found the right to think and to speak. The right to share your thoughts with your fellow men. The right to meet and congregate to excercise your right to express your views in concert with others. Occupation, especially of a people who are ostensably under tutelage to become democrats, must respect such fundamental rights.

We have violated the Iraqi's rights in ways that we ourselves would never tolerate. We would fight and, if need be, kill to preserve such rights for ourselves and our progeny. Clearly the Iraqis will too. Is it moral for us to hope that they be crushed, killed, and defeated for defending the rights given to them by the fact of their humanity? I can't bring myself to condemn their aspiration to control their own destiny, whatever it may be.

Bush has clearly proven that he and his Administration are unworthy and incompetent for the task of rebuilding a nation, or of running this nation. Incapable of the judgement and vision that guiding a people to self-governance demands. Incapable of governing people, only of exploiting them and defrauding them of their futures. Government is not raiding an S&L, or raping an pension plan, or watering a stock offering. Ergo, Bush cannot figure out how to do it.

While Bush remains President, the Iraqi occupation cannot be legitimate. While he is President, it is not possible for American forces to be anything but the tools of oppression. There is no moral justification for our remaining in Iraq if the people rise in rebellion. What sort of hubris lurks in us to suggest that we have any right to control the Iraqis? Even if you accept the lies which formed the premise of this war, we have eliminated the Ba'athist regime, Saddam sits in an American jail, and there are no WMD to be found. We supposedly did not go to war to conquer the Iraqis, we went to war to free them. That deed is done. What justification is there to kill civilians in order to retain our grip on their nation?

We should leave. If the Iraqis wish assistance restoring order and building their nation, let them request it of whomever they will. Let us help and show genuine goodwill. But let's not kill even one more Iraqi person to save them.

Whether we will reach January of 2005 still in de facto possession of Iraq is now an open question. Clearly, Bush will do anything it takes to keep his hold on Iraq. He cannot afford to walk away. Nor can he afford a bloodbath. Just as clearly, the Iraqi people may have already begun to draw a line in the sand, and if a nation rises against our armed forces, it chills me to the bone to contemplate what will happen.

I certainly hope that any crack down will not be tolerated by our own people, and we will finally say, "Enough." Bush and Cheney need to be purged from the Whitehouse. The suffering and death of our own people, and of the Iraqis will not be allowed to end otherwise.

May whatever God they believe in have mercy upon the innocent men and women doing their duty under the command of this monsterous moral cripple. They are dying, suffering, and killing because their duty has been twisted into a grotesque servitude to the will of a man, rather than to the interest of the nation. Their service is being used to weaken and degrade America. There can be no greater betrayal of a President's duty and oath than to lead the armed forces in the mouth of hell as Bush has done. No man or women under uniform of this nation should be forced to choose between their duty to nation and their own honor, possibly their own soul.

A man who really impressed me, an Air Force doctor, resigned his commission at the outset of the Iraq war. He said that he would not allow Bush to make him an example of moral cowardice to his children. It is clear to me, even without his conviction that this war was wrong from the outset, it is now become a personal war. Like Vietnam, it is going to force every man and woman in uniform to choose between obedience to their oath, and service to their conscience. In this way, John McCain is entirely misguided and blind when he says there is no paralell between Iraq and Vietnam. They are the same war. The war for the soul of America.


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