What it takes for what is right
When I was much younger, one source of amusement was to put honey on a little kid's finger and then apply a small fluffy feather. The end result was a good twenty minutes of hilarity. The mirth involved as we watched the victim try to rid itself of the once pretty, but now annoying feather, was worth the adult administered swat we received. I think that we as a nation, are now in similar situation. The honey is a poorly thought out foreign policy based on revenge. So to better understand this policy dilemma we should examine the psycological connection between our feather and honey.
The feather, in this case, is our military. They are the distraction for what is happening in Iraq. We are all aware of how shabbily the returning Viet Nam warrior was treated upon his arrival "home". That is part of the problem. We, The People, are determined not to let that happen again. So we wholeheartedly support our troops - our young men and women in uniform. They are sworn to protect the nation from all enemies, foreign or domestic. A noble endeavor; and one many of us have taken up. But, we have yet to make a real differentiation between support for our troops and support for policy.
We have, to this point, made them one and the same. The overbearing implication is that to question the policy is to question the warriors. This, regardless of what the mavens and hatemongers of the political right espouse, is not true. The inability to draw this distinction is related to the aforementioned treatment of past warriors. We have individually and collectively, bemoaned that past treatment. And are now overcompensating by holding the soldier high on a pedestal of unsound policy. But, to date, questioning the policy is linked to questioning the soldier. This is a terrible connection to make. It leads to total acceptance of a totally unacceptable foreign policy.
While my previous assessment of this policy being based on revenge could be overstated, there is that element involved. Both President Bush; who reacted to the death threats and Hussian's bounty on the previous President Bush, and We, The People, who were still reeling from 9/11, were ready to show them a thing or two. Much the same way we were going to teach those Commies in Nam a thing or two.
That is not the only intangible. Any involved citizen knew who Saddam Hussain was by the mid-eighties when we supported him in his war against Iran. He was then using chemical weapons against Iranian troops in his border war with them. We didn't give a damn then; but we knew what kind of a man he was from that point forward. So I cannot be surprised that the unique American attitude of showing him who's the boss was invoked, (He is Evil) carried out, and clung to, as a Mantra of policy. As an aside I personally believe that Saddam should have been labeled as a terrorist and sent to Guantanamo. Let his sorry ass rot in a tiger cage. But, that's just me.
However, that attitude should not be any part of the base of America's foreign policy. We haven't done too well with this policy of nation building. What we should do is to fall back re-invoke the Monroe Doctrine and get our troops back into Haiti. Let's see what we can do right on a small scale, before we overreach in Iraq. There is more to our Iraqi policy than create a stable democracy. It has to do with a more tangible, albeit less pronounced, purpose. It is simply controlling oil.
Yes, oil. It's been said and now must be recognized as part of the goo that is our honey of foreign policy. When Iraq starts to seriously pump oil, the world supply should increase by maybe 20%. The cost should decrease a corresponding amount. We, as consumers, can only hope. In any case, with a solid democratic base in Iraq the spice (er, oil) will flow. Then American interests will have been protected and served. No longer will a corrupt dictator and his minions be able to bleed the wealth of a Nation for their own profit.
Bring Halliburton home! That should be our battle cry. Leave our troops until they can be replaced by NATO (same difference) or UN troops. The best and only way to remove ourselves from this situation is to leave it to the Iraqis. I know that it could mean a Civil War. But it is not up to US to run or even to tell them how to run their nation or its wealth. The quaint idea is that if the Iraqi people believe in freedom and desire it, then the dream will come true for them; with or without our help.
That is also a make-up of our honey. The thought that we can make them whole. All "we" have to do is "hold the course" and all of this will come to pass. Iraq will be a beacon of hope in the Arab world. One that shines with freedom and promise for all. OK, I am probably overstating (again) the results of our involvement in Iraq. But aren't those the types of aspirations that we are being fed? The Democratization of Iraq is not dissimilar from the policy of Viet Namiaztion. Both have so far been set up by the intelligence community. Both were/are being run by the Pentagon. Both were/are open ended conflicts. We must distinguish between the dedication of our military and the honey of our current foreign policy. If we do not, I can see how the duty and sacrifice of the current generation of warriors will be wasted also.
Copyright 1997 - 2004
All rights reserved