Mirror, Mirror On The Wall
The war in Iraq is once again front-page news as the American people voice their concern over the deteriorating situation there and the growing sense that there is no victory possible. The Bush administration can beat the dead horse of “stay the course” but no one is listening, what little news we do get out of Iraq doesn’t jive with the rosy picture painted by Bush and company and the gap between their reality and ours is growing exponentially by the day. I can’t help but wonder, what happens now?
Polls show the public wants a withdrawal of our troops as soon as humanly possible although there is no real consensus as to what that means exactly. Bush erroneously believes that our lack of resolve can be exploited in order to serve his own purposes, which only he truly understands. I imagine that for him, it is a matter of posterity and his refusal to accept the place in history he is earning for himself with each lost soldier and every wasted dollar thrown at this tragedy of his own making.
We are funding a war by leveraging our children’s future while each of us struggles to make ends meet in an economy being devastated by our hemorrhaging of money and jobs as a result of Bush’s follies around the globe and his inattention to the serious business of running our country. And in all of this mess, we the people are finding it more and more difficult to see ourselves as right when it comes to this war, and increasingly easier to imagine we may be wronging the people of Iraq. It is not just about public support for the war, but about how we view ourselves as Americans.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we have never been the best global citizens but there was a veneer of goodness that we could cling to when faced with evidence of our misdeeds. When the Iran-Contra scandal entered the public consciousness we were allowed to be angry and repulsed by what was done in our name, for it was done in secret and in direct violation of our laws. We were not culpable because we were shielded from the truth. But the veneer has been ripped away by this administration, laying bare our sins and forcing the public to come to terms with how we must now see ourselves. Watching Jack Murtha’s struggle to own his part in this war is a mirror held up to the American people. As a country, we must accept what we have done before we will ever be able to move forward. Which again leaves me asking, what now?
Much of the debate about which course to take in Iraq has centered around our feuding leaders, which makes sense considering they are the ones with the authority to change our policies, but wars are not ended by the policy makers really, they are ended when the people refuse to support it. We didn’t leave Vietnam because Congress and the White House together decided it was the best course of action, our soldiers came home because the people had had enough.
I don’t pretend to know how we go about getting our country back, but I do know that we must try. In all likelihood we have three more years left to suffer under the thumb of the Bush administration, for as much as I would like to believe that a constitutional remedy for this crisis of leadership is on the horizon, I do not have the necessary faith in our elected officials to do right by the American people. Therefore it is up to us to convince those around us that the sky IS falling, we really have reached that point. Wedges have been driven between us by our leaders because that serves their purposes, so in response we must get closer, closer to each other, closer to the truth and hopefully closer to an end to this nightmare. We are living in the information age, so let’s use the tools that we have at our disposal to spread the facts amongst our friends, family and neighbors. Maybe we, the people, will be able to reach the consensus that seems to elude our public servants in Washington at every turn.