Monday, January 31, 2005

Iraq Votes - Thoughts & Perspective

By Jim Witkins

By most accounts it seems the Iraqi vote went about as well as it could. To be sure this is a baby step on a long road to creating a legitimate government, so while I wish the Iraqi people continued progress, I hope President Bush tempers his rhetoric about his success or he could walk into another "Mission Accomplished" moment.

Watching the mostly positive TV coverage I was happy for the Iraqi people and relieved the US troops had done such a great job, while avoiding any heavy attacks, however in the back of my mind I couldn't forget the nagging thought that my US government used trumped up evidence about WMD's to rush us into a war of choice, and now they had done a sleight of hand trick to make everyone think we were fighting for Iraqi freedom all along out of the goodness of our heart.

Every American, Democrat or Republican, wants freedom to reign, but not at the expense of truth. If the Bush administration can't level with the American people, it really loses all credibility and integrity. Their words about freedom and sacrifice, no matter how dramatic, ring hollow. Why weren't we fighting for freedom in Rwanda and Liberia, or now in the Congo, Sudan, North Korea, and the list goes on.

Most Americans are realists and they're not stupid. They know that America went to war for its own self interests. They rationalize that in the end more good will come out of this than bad. While that remains to be seen, what is certain is that most Americans are more leery than ever of our role in the world as Super-cop. They demand international cooperation on security issues and global problems.

While Fox News and others trumpet the greatness of President Bush's bold experiment, I submit that more than anything it has proven that there are definite limits to our military capability, and we should be wary of its use for preemptive invasions.

Moving forward we need Democrats to hold Bush accountable in Iraq by speeding up the Iraqi troop training, starting to develop a long term exit strategy, and perhaps a bigger goal, questioning the wisdom of Bush's national security strategy of preemption. Yes Iraq took its first step toward some form of new government, but it may take several more years of American lives and taxpayer money on the line before Iraq can govern itself. Without an exit plan in place how do you measure success or failure?


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Excellent points Jim. I might add Saudi Arabia to your list of countries we should be fighing for freedom for. Heck, I supported Kerry in part becuase of his willingness to be tough about the Saudi Royal Family (see Kerry's convention speech to see what I mean).

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