And Things Just Keep Getting Better
I don’t think I realized just how tense I have been for the last few years. The Republicans were in control of every single branch of government and they were using their grip on power not just to implement their agenda, but also to beat all dissenting voices into submission and to turn our national treasury into their own personal bank. There has been so much corruption, so much bullying and so much fear mongering that I think it had taken a greater toll on all of us than we ever imagined. I feel like I can breath easy for the first time in longer than I care to admit.
Watching Rumsfeld get the axe, and have to stand there in front of the camera while it was done, was a joy I will never forget and the reports that Cheney was pissed off at being left out of the decision, made it all the more sweet. Now that Rumsfeld will soon be without the protection of his office, perhaps he will be held accountable for the abuse that was meted out in Iraq on his (and Alberto Gonzales’s) orders. It looks like Germany will take the first stab at it, as documents are set to be filed next week on behalf of eleven Iraqis that were held in Abu Ghraib prison along with one Saudi held at Gitmo, that will call for an investigation into the role played by Rumsfeld, Tenet, Gonzales and other US officials in the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. I hope this is a sign that we are now entering the age of consequences.
I am a bit surprised that things are happening so fast. I’m used to waking up to one bad headline after another, so imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to news that John Bolton is on his way out as well! I knew that things would be better if the Democrats took over, I just didn’t know we would see results this fast. John Bolton is a disaster and the absolute worst person to have representing us at the United Nations at a time (well, any time is a bad time for Bolton) when we need the world with us like never before.
And have you noticed the abrupt change in the discussion about Iraq? Just last week it was, “the only choice is victory in Iraq.” Now suddenly we have everyone, from all points on the political spectrum, in agreement that there is no winning in Iraq. The policy was a mistake from the beginning and every day since the initial invasion has just made the situation worse. We never should have gone in there and now that we’re there, in the middle of a civil war (that we started), the only thing left to do is mitigate the damage we will cause by leaving. As hard as it is to accept, we fucked up and we can’t fix it. We destroyed a country, sparked a civil war and we can’t put the genie back in the bottle, all we can do is get out of the way. Morally, what we have done is reprehensible, but logistically, there is no way to fix Iraq and our moral authority will only be restored with time (along with much hard work and many apologies).
The Bush administration led by the neo-cons wanted to transform the Middle East. Well, mission accomplished. Iran and Syria are rapidly gaining power and authority in the region (and just to round out the “axis of evil” North Korea now has a thriving nuclear program) and any resolution to the nightmare in Iraq will require their help. They’ve transformed the Middle East alright, but I doubt that this is what they had in mind. By disparaging our allies, disengaging from our “enemies” and shunning (even sabotaging) diplomacy, we have found ourselves here, despised by the rest of the world at the very moment we need their help to get us out of the mess we’ve created. I hope that this election goes some small distance in showing the rest of the world that the American people aren’t quite as ugly as the public face we’ve been presenting to the world for the past six years. I think we’re ready to admit our mistake and more than ready to start the hard work of salvaging Iraq and rebuilding our reputation, but the question remains, will the Bush administration continue to be a hindrance to that process or will the Democrats begin to engage the American people and use their newfound power to put us on a better track? Things are looking up, but this hole is pretty deep.