sphagnum moss, dark water, and politics
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Couldn't Call It Unexpected No. 3:
To the Editor [of the Philadelphia Inquirer]:
In a recent column, neocon Charles Krauthammer paraphrases Ben Franklin and claims, "We have given the Iraqis a republic and they do not appear able to keep it." This statement seeks to shift the responsibility for our failures onto the Iraqi people: it is both dishonest and reprehensible.
No, the Iraqis are not helpless puppets. There are indeed political failures, merchants of violence with the basest of motives, and people of goodwill and great courage too often rewarded by slaughter. But we did not give the Iraqis a republic. We gave them chaos, and demanded of them leadership we now seem unable to muster,
I wish with all my heart that the people of Iraq had had the space to build their republic of dreams, to use the title of a recent essay by Omar Fathi. I hope that one day they can awake from the nightmare that traps them - and us - today. It is easy to muse on what could have been, if we had 'done the war right." Too easy, I think. The war we have happened because politicians, the media, and too many citizens abandoned their responsibilities. Whether out of fear, rage, greed, opportunism, a lazy and unfounded optimism, or those famous best intentions, we traded the most solemn obligations of democracy for a handful of flimsy fantasies. Without the lies, the insinuations, and the rationalizations, without the manufactured threats and empty promises, we might have had a better war. More likely we would have never had a war.
I, and so many others, had the common sense to see where we were headed, and tried to stop it. I wish I had the wisdom to see how we could get out of it now. But I think I can guess where people like Krauthammer are going. Except for trite and empty phrases, they will never take any responsibility for what happened, for the disaster they so eagerly cheerleaded. Instead, they will blame others abroad, and their fellow citizens at home. The "liberal media" and the "terrorist sympathizers," they will tell us, betrayed our troops, stabbed them in the back. It's a refrain we've heard before, here after Yalta and Vietnam, and elsewhere with horrible consequences.
We know better.
posted by Dan S. on 9:12 AM | | link
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