Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama Ends America's War in Iraq, Sort Of

It's over, sort of. A war that should never have happened resulting in lives that should never have been spent. When we think back, we can mentally picture a George W. Bush who invented "weapons of mass destruction" so that the invasion would happen and the job started and left unsuccessfully completed by his father would be done and George W. could prove himself.

It was a war built on misinformation. 1. Iraq never had any part in the events of 9/11, contrary to the belief of many Americans (Saudi Arabia, a country with close ties to the Bush family did). 2. There were no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Their presence was a fabrication that provided the Bush administration with an excuse to invade Iraq. 3. There was no IRAQI movement for the establishment of a democracy. The American experience in Vietnam should have taught American foreign policy makers that a democracy can never be effectively imposed on a people. A democracy must be the will of the people, and that group of people must be willing to make sacrifices in order for democracy to flourish.

Where does that leave us? A lot of people including Americans, are dead now because of what the American government has tried to do in Iraq. The infrastructure of Iraq is worse than it was before the American invasion.Months after Iraq's first democratic election, a government has not been fully established. Billions of American aid dollars can not be fully accounted for. The American presence in Iraq served as a recruiting cause for Islamic fundamentalist terrorists who regularly self-destruct and maim and take the lives of others. The ONLY positive comment that I can make is that Saddam is no longer the leader of Iraq. In my mind, I would qualify that success by saying that it would have been better if the Iraqi people had removed him without the help of outsiders.

As of today, American combatant presence in Iraq is over. Our presence there is sort of over, because tens of thousands of American military men and women will remain there in noncombatant duties. Some of these men and women and men are beginning their second or third tour of duty there, away from their families and friends, careers, and communities. While they are classified as "noncombatants', they will remain targets of snipers, I.E.D.s, and suicide bombers.

This "sort of" war ending is characteristic of the time that Americans have spent in Iraq. Enough is enough. Not one more American soldier should have his/her life put in danger through being present in a country where American presence isn't really wanted. Not another American dollar should be spent supporting an American military presence in Iraq. It is time to say that we were wrong in the invasion and effect a total military withdrawal from Iraq. We must show the courage to do so, just as they showed the courage to put their lives on the line for the American government's foreign policy.



Monday, August 9, 2010

Are You Embarrassed Yet?

This morning I say a large billboard with Obama's photo and the caption,"Did You Vote for Obama? Are you Embarrassed Yet?". I had two immediate reactions to this:

1. I strongly disagreed with the policies and actions of the Bush administration,but
didn't see a similar anti-Bush sign because for years Bush convinced many that to
criticize him was to "aid the other side in the War on Terrorism". What a farce!

2. I did vote for Obama and I am not embarrassed to admit that I did.

I am neither an idealist nor a "my party, right or wrong" person. When I worked on
the local level to help with his presidential campaign, I knew that I would not agree with everything that he would eventually be given credit for. In addition to decisions that he might make, I was fully aware that under our federal form of government, we have a system of checks and balances that puts constraints on what the head of the executive branch can do. Given that, I am still not embarrassed for choosing to vote for the man.

First of all, after eight very long years it is refreshing to have an intelligent, articulate president. Secondly, in spite of the Bush political and economic legacy, Obama has tried to make a positive difference. In a relatively short time a health care bill has been passed, increased financial accountability has been instituted, the war in Iraq is closer to an end, and personal freedoms endangered by the patriot Act have been restored.

Does this mean that I am perfectly content? Not in the least. The health care bill was watered down due to a Congress strongly influenced by lobbyists. The stimulus funds have not all been effectively distributed so that those who are unemployed can go back to work at a comparable level of employment and compensation. The viability of our military actions in Afghanistan raise so serious questions. Iraq still seems to be a quagmire in terms of accounting for money spent and to bring all U.S. troops out so that not one more American needlessly loses his/her life. Equal rights for all in terms of marriage and legal status is yet to be resolved. Congress has still not been made to understand that the issues that We, the People are now dealing with have no room for bipartisan bickering.

In spite of all of the above, I am still not embarrassed to say that I voted for Obama. Our total national situation is better than it would have been if the same issues had been dealt with by a Bush surrogate. My bottom line is that after nearly two years of an Obama administration I still believe tan "Yes, we can"".