Wednesday, May 07, 2003

The changing world rolls onward Now that we've overcome the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein we've got a huge problem on our hands. The world – not just the Arab world – will judge this nation by its actions in Iraq in the next few months. Our displacing Saddam was, no doubt, a good thing, in so far as there is such a thing when politics is the motivating force. But I'm a bit worried about how well thought out the Bush doctrine was concerning the post-war rearrangement of governance in Iraq.
So far, it appears inept and heavy-handed. Let's face it, the first poor bastard we sent in to assume a governmental role was slaughtered by the people he was supposed to lead. Now what does that say about our tactical information? It's a bit thin perhaps?
Trying to impose democracy on a people who've never known a government led by democratic principles is going to be, I fear, a bloody affair and may, in the long run, blow up in our collective faces.
It seems to me that we're probably going to induct the same people who served under Saddam since they're the only ones who've got the experience of governing and that will be ironic, I think. The people of Iraq, mostly poor, uneducated and raised under tyranny since birth, probably have no clue as to what kind of government they want at this point. And to pull out our forces without having some sort of stable, governing body in place would be disastrous. Iraq could become Osama bin Laden's penthouse apartment, if you will, unless we somehow win the hearts of the Iraqis. A tall order, given that the euphoria of the first days of our advance and disbursement of Saddam's armies has worn off. Now the Iraqi people seem to want, more than anything, American troops to leave them to fight for power among themselves. But that definitely does not fit the Bush plan, far as I can tell.
So what now? Between Gen. Franks and this guy Garland I'm not sure there's a snowball's chance in hell of creating anything resembling democracy in Iraq. What will it take? Obviously recognized leaders from the Iraqi population, leaders who the people are willing to accept and leaders who want to conduct business with the U.S. in an open, amiable manner.
Where are those men and women? I've yet to see any such characters proffered by our government and this is worrisome, to say the least. And with Bush calling for a $750 billion tax cut for the rich, and the cost of rebuilding Iraq and sustaining our troops spiraling ever-higher, I find myself confused as to where the money will come from. Oh, excuse me. I forgot. Probably, per usual, the burden will be borne by the American middle-class. The two-worker families who struggle from paycheck to paycheck, barely able to keep health insurance for their children and meet the house mortgage. Ah well, the picture grows clearer as I type. It's on you, my friend. Be prepared to watch your paycheck whittled down to nearly nothing, but trust el presidente to come up with some snappy platitudes to make your grumbling, unfed stomach quiet down. Amen.


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