Sunday, August 21, 2005

2. History is making all of the arguments...

The most damning aspect of the reasoning for the War in Iraq, as originally explained to the American people, was that it was contingent on things happening in the future. At the time the public discussion happened, I was trying to ask anyone I could--what happens if there are no WMDs? What happens if the Iraqis don't welcome US troops with flowers? What if there are no terrorists being harbored in Iraq like there were in Afghanistan? What if there is no connection to 9/11?

Of course, some people still dog on those war protesters way back then, but never address the fact that these questions should have been asked and answered sufficiently before we went to war. I haven't written much in public about the War in Iraq because frankly, history has made--indeed is making--all of the arguments for those who opposed invading. No WMDs, no flowers, no 9/11 connection, and who knows when we're getting out.

"What! Why that's treasonous crazy talk!"--say the conservative talk-show hosts. But rather than discuss the issues that should have been discussed all along--should we have gone to war under the circumstances under which we did go to war, the subject gets changed--"So, you trust a mass-murderer like Saddam Hussien to disarm and stop gassing millions of Kurds?" "So, you think the Iraqis were better off with Saddam than now?" Or my favorite from a letter to the editor in the KC Star this weekend... "So, why did you support a "liar" like Clinton who said that Saddam was dangerous and had WMDs and why won't you support a President now that's willing to do something about it." Or, instead of answering Cindy Sheehan's legitimate questions, the conservative media will attack her because some of her supporters include Michael Moore, etc.

It's litterally like banging one's head against a wall. You ask one question, such as "So, now that all the reasons the Administration initially gave to invade have proven to be false, do you still think we were right to go to war in Iraq?" and you get responses that don't match the question, such as "So, you think we should just cut and run and abandon the Iraqi people to the terrorists then! Typical liberal! Why don't you just come out and admit you hate America!" *Sigh* Anyway, I suppose that's placing words in some conservatives' mouths... except I've actually heard those come out of conservatives' mouths. It's like believing that this President is never, ever, EVER wrong about anything is somehow a holy dogma. I mean, I may have supported Clinton, but I sure didn't support everything he did. I wrote plenty of letters and e-mails to him opposing this policy or that.

I guess my suggestion is this: As we begin to think about Iran and North Korea and about how to win the War on Terror, if such a thing is winnable, or a Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism, if such a thing is winnable--perhaps we would all serve our country better if we thought critically about everything our elected officials say and propose, rather than just blindly following and believing them no matter what the evidence shows or what the costs may be. We should no longer follow the party line--Democratic or Republican--without asking difficult questions whose answers we may not be comfortable with. Doesn't Congress owe that to its constituents? Don't each of us owe that to our country?