Saturday, July 28, 2007

An Evil Empire

In an ironic twist, the last Soviet Socialist Dictator (er, em ... President), Mikhail Gorbachev, has accused the United States, and Bush in particular, of empire building against the will of the people. He has also complained that America has not followed the will of the U.N. Security Council in its handling of the Iraq situation. Does he remember the last century? Does he remember 9/11? I would suggest that Soviet Russia's own embarrassing history, and the terror attacks that have affected America and modern Russia are not on the foremost tip of his memory.

Yes, America has acted unilaterally. Yes, America is involved in an increasingly unpopular war. However, this certainly does not make an empire; and to suggest it does is irresponsible. And by any means it is inappropriate for the last Soviet Dictator to criticize America for these things.

In a media-controlled society, like ours, we all have A.D.D. We are bombarded with information (or misinformation) so constantly, that horrific things rarely effect a response. They certainly don't leave a lasting memory. We are all sick to death of hearing about 9/11. Mainly this is because the talking heads blabbered back-and-forth about it so long. But do we remember the feelings? Do we remember wondering if other buildings and cities would be hit, and how many years we would face terrorism? Yet our government has done a good job (maybe too good) of keeping us safe. We seem no longer concerned.

We, as a culture, do not understand the Middle-Eastern mind. So much of their culture is based on threats, posturing, and saving face. Lying is heightened to an art form and a badge of honor. Saddam Hussein was a prime example. He certainly was working on WMD and he did have designs on attacking his neighbors (Iran, Kuwait, Israel). But he was not so far along as he let on. His own posturing to save face is what led America to attack his country. Now America is embroiled in a conflict that is hard to get out of. America must extract itself without losing face, or all the Arab countries will slaver for our blood (more than they do already). Relinquishing control to Iraqi peace-keepers will not likely work. Not because of any inherent faults within the peace-keeping individuals, but because of the pressures of their culture. These are not American patriots forming a new nation by faith and determination, and we cannot force them into that mold. There is still too much tribalism, too much dissension, too much religious difference (which allows murder as a solution to differences). The only viable option now is to somewhat Americanize the Iraqi people in order to bring them the ideals of freedom, justice, and peace. We must train them over a long period of time to police themselves and take care of their fellow man. Only then, when they have elected responsible leaders and have a passion for the well-being of their own people and their own nation can we leave. We may have to stick around for a while.

As for Bush, he has an iron will. He has not forgotten the attacks on American soil. He is concerned primarily with our safety. There are those who have painted him as a tyrant and as a power- and resource-hungry individual, but if you look back at the legacy of the man, from his gubernatorial period in Texas to the Presidency, he has not evidenced much if any of this. I don't think we should have gone into Iraq in the fashion we did, but now we are there, and we must stay. It is not fair to future American generations or the Iraqi people for us to pull-out now, merely because of our political leanings. I, for one, appreciate Bush's character. A Clinton or a Carter would have long since folded. They would have been led around by the media. Bush is stable and remains largely stoic to the media onslaught. Which is why they hate him. At least we know what to expect from him.

As for Unilateral action vs. the U.N. When has the U.N. really helped a situation? They talk, and when they decide to defend a people or country, they are quickly defeated by generally smaller forces. They will not stand up against tyranny, and often aid tyranny in the process. The U.N. cannot be trusted to safeguard anyone's interests, much less America's. Mikhail Gorbachev is wrong about Bush, and the U.N., but he is right that it is a dangerous world.

(Update: The Sunni faction of the new Iraqi National Unity Government has quit, "undermining efforts to pull together rival factions and pass reconciliation laws the U.S. considers benchmarks toward healing the country's deep war wounds.")

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