Monday, April 07, 2008

Iraq: Wasteland or Oasis?

Over 5 years of war and 500 billion plus dollars have now been invested in Iraq, costing over 4000 American lives and close to 100,000 Iraqi deaths (this number is in dispute and represents the low end of the scale). How does the country of Iraq look after this "investment."

Every picture I see in the paper of downtown Baghdad shows bombed out buildings, rubble, impoverished civilians, broken windows, armed troops in the streets and burned out cars. Every interview with the citizenry is filled with woe, citing limited food, electricity and basic necessities as well as dodging rocket attacks and bombs. I saw a picture of a line of cars waiting for gas in an extremely oil-rich country. I don't see the success and the improvement in Iraqi lives that this administration trumpets. I don't see the rebuilt schools, the feeling of safety to walk in the streets or an environment to raise children that is safe and nurturing. The violence appears to continue unabated.

Senator McCain is the new Bush cheerleader, brimming with optimism, begging for more time to win this war for democracy in a country that does not seem to want what we are struggling to provide for them. He sees an oasis in the desert.

Senators Clinton and Obama are the antithesis of the war optimists and appear to be more realistic about what has been accomplished and what is still possible. To them the oasis is a complete illusion masking the wasteland that is the Iraq of today. Sure, they point to the worst images to make their point just as the other side crows when an Iraqi family finds enough bread to eat for a day or gets enough electricity to light a bedroom so that their child can have a bedtime story read to them.

Are we safer today then we were five years ago? I don't think so. The terrorists will find safe havens no matter what happens in Iraq and continue to threaten us. We're close to losing Afghanistan back to the Taliban. And that will be the foreign policy measuring stick that will be used in the fall campaign.

I grind my teeth imagining what 500 billion dollars could have bought in this country in terms of safety. Better airport screening, complete screening of all maritime imports, radiation detectors for all major cities and the list goes on and on.

Has the surge helped? Yes. Can we somehow eek out a result that we can really label a "success?" No. I'm sure we will find some political way to claim success but it will be an illusion. We can't help those who don't want to help themselves and the Iraqis do not appear to want to work through the growing pains of a fledgling democracy.

Spend the money at home. Pull back the troops from combat roles and fall back to supporting roles. Give Iraq to the Iraqis and let them take the lead in the direction their country takes as it struggles to find its place in the world. More money and American lives will not buy success and make an oasis in the desert.


At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can only see what the liberal press wants to show you. Bagdad does not equal Iraq.

I expect better from you, really.

Yes, the Iraqis are not ready for western-style democracy. They may not be for a long time. And I agree with many of your recommendations for what we should do. But I do not believe for a second that Barack Hussein Obama or Hillary Rodham-Clinton would support any of those things. I am not swayed by their campaign rhetoric, and neither should anyone else be swayed by it.

And McCain? Hah! He'll "stay the course" in Iraq alright, only to give the country away to the illegals anyway.

January 20, 2013 cannot come soon enough for me!

At 6:55 AM, Blogger PurplePol said...

It's true that I have not visited IRAQ and cannot speak firsthand about conditions on the ground and the media plays a big part in the scenery that we see but I have seen plenty of footage from other cities in IRAQ and none of it looks pretty. Even FOX news is having trouble putting a good face on this country.

Campaigns and campaign promises are just so much pandering. I'll be the first to agree with that viewpoint. Neither Senator Obama or Senator McCain will follow the path laid out during their campaigns. Reality will intrude. President Bush scoffed at nation-building efforts and once in office became the standard bearer for nation-building by the US.

I'm not sure what you expect in 2013 that will be different than 2009. All I know at this point is that 2009 will be better than 2000-2008 no matter who sits behind the desk in the Oval Office.

At 2:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, 2009 will be a disaster "no matter who sits behind the desk in the Oval Office."

We are going to be suffocated with higher taxes, stifled by insane energy costs, robbed of our heritage and culture by illegal aliens (if we can still call them illegal, that is), devided by the proliferation of same-sex marriage, and introduced to weekly, if not daily, middle-east-style terrorist attacks in our own cities. That is the future I see for America, "no matter who sits behind the desk in the Oval Office," given the current choices.

So, if we make it that far as a country, I cannot wait for a chance to put ia conservative in the White House. That cannot happen until 2013.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger PurplePol said...

Everything you rail against has come to pass during the 8 years of a conservative administration. What will make the next conservative president different from this one.

How do you propose we pay for the wars we are involved in as well as the crushing debt/deficit that this administration has foisted on us. I don't like taxes anymore than the next American. We didn't use IRAQ's oil to pay for the war, we used our children's education, New Orleans rebuilding and our own infrastructure to fund it at great cost.

This administration started out with a surplus of funds at their disposal which they returned in the form of a tax break (which I applauded by the way). This administration then entered into the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and despite the deficit that they began to run, they elected to give back even more tax breaks (with money they didn't have). That is just plain stupid.

They have rewarded the wealthy and expressed a sincere wish that the poor and disadvantaged find some way to make themselves wealthy so that they can reap the benefits.

I have made it clear that we should tighten our borders, develop a path to legal immigration for those that are here illegally, deport those that are felons/criminals. If we deported them all we wouldn't want the low paying jobs that they hold anyway.

You had your chance with a conservative in the white house since 2000 as well as 12 years of conservative rule in congress. I guess you're happy with the way things have turned out so far.

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no way Bush can be called a conservative. No way. We've had no conservative administration since 1989.

Everything on this blog site belies your claims of "purpleness". You are a liberal through and through. But that's OK, because truly being "purple" is just plain silly. "Middle-of-the-road" simply shows either a lack of commitment or a fear of standing up to any real principles. I do not see that in you. You are committed to your convictions. That is commendable, as far as it goes. Sadly, I just think they are the wrong principles.

But it doesn't matter what I think. Before the end of the next administration, be that 2013 or 2017, we'll be paying $8/gallon for gas, STILL won't be drilling for oil on U.S. soil, marriage will be destroyed as we know it, and we'll have 100 million new Democrats that we used to call "illegal aliens" refusing to pay homage to our flag and insisting that everyone be forced to learn Spanish in school.

I don't know where I'll be living, but it won't be America, that's for sure. Because there will be no more America, just some crumby place where Americans used to live.

Nice going, Ace. You guys have finally won.

At 1:59 PM, Blogger PurplePol said...

I won't disagree that I reside mainly on the liberal side of the fence but I don't agree with everything the Democrats espouse. I'm against abortion and while I like to keep my money as much as the next guy I also believe there is a place for government in our lives. I also believe that the country would be best served with a compromise between Democratic and Republican beliefs. I'm blue but I think purple is the way to go even if I have to give up a little of my liberalness to get there.

Bush may not be your idea of a conservative but he's no liberal. Don't know what you want to label him but Republicans and their platform embraced him so he gets the conservative label from me.

Drill for oil in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico with the agreement of the oil industry to minimize the ecological damage, pay in full for any and all damage, give price breaks to the government to continue to fill the strategic oil reserve and return the area to it's pre-oil condition when the wells are exhausted and invest a more than minimal amount of profits into alternative energy solutions. The oil industry wants it all without any of the responsibility.

Americans don't want the jobs that illegal aliens have so I don't know why you hate them so much. They should be legalized (if they are eligible) and pay their taxes like everyone else. If they are truly illegal (convicted felons and such), they should be deported. The business community needs to police themselves to expose the illegals.

And feel free to move to another country if you hate it so much. I certainly am less proud of the road we are on under this administration but not enough to pack my bags. I would wager that even if all that you predict comes to pass you will still be here. The planes are still flying. I'll help carry your bags when you leave.

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Republicans embraced Bush, so he gets the "Republican" label. One look at what they've embraced this time just proves the point that, although "Democrat" may still equal "Liberal", "Republican" in no way equals "Conservative". Not anymore. Not for a long time.

Sure, "Americans" don't want to pick strawberries or clean hotel rooms for the slave wages illegals are "paid" to do it now. But if these jobs paid even the minimum wage you liberals keep making yourselves feel good by raising, then Americans would be lining up to fill them. That is, of course, if we also got rid of an Unemployment Insurance system that discourages people from going out and finding jobs. I've been "on Unemployment" myself, and let me tell you, I can see why someone with less expectations in life (and less personal integrity) would choose to take the government handout rather than take a "menial" job. I did it because I had to feed my kids with something. But I never stayed on it until the "benefits" ran out.

No, "Americans" would do these jobs if the government, through immigration policy and welfare, didn't discourage them from taking them as much as it does.

And when I say I won't be living in America anymore, I didn't mean I was moving anywhere (much as that would put a smile on your face). I'm saying "America" won't exist anymore. I'm not sure it even still exists now. I'd have thought you would have understood that was that I was saying.

At 6:59 AM, Blogger PurplePol said...

Potato, potahto. Republicans embraced Bush, voted for him and his "compassionate conservative" agenda AND pushed his agenda enthusiastically for 6 years in a Republican-led Congress. You can't use liberals as your whipping boys for the ills that have been foisted on this country during those years nor can you simply discount those 6 years and whine and complain about the last year and a half. Despite a thin Democratic majority in the Senate, Bush still influences much of the agenda and the Republican minority still wields enough votes to derail Democratic initiatives in many cases.

No one made you take unemployment benefits. Be glad they were there to help you when you most needed them. I'll be glad to agree that most if not all government programs are administered in a wasteful, inefficient manner. It's not the program, it's the way it is managed that minimizes its value.

So you will hate living in an America that treats all our citizens equally regardless of their gender and their relationships. You will hate living in an America that strives to help those less fortunate and you will hate living in an America that foreigners yearn to come to for it's promise of a better life. I'll take that America over the one that Republicans cherish, anyday.

At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. Bush is basically getting everything he wants from Congress, not matter who waves the Speaker's gavel around like a banshee. So why has he let conservative principles flounder so badly?

And it is not "potato potahto". I want to see real conservative principles in the White House. There are lots of things one can rattle off that are "conservative principles", but it really just boils down to limited government. The less the government interferes in our lives, the better.

America functions very well when the government gets the hell out of the way. Why hasn't there been any new oil refineries built in this country in nearly 30 years? Why isn't Alaska drilling for the oil under their own lands (which for decades they have been begging to be allowed to do)? Why can't Maine, New Hampshire, and the rest of New England harness the immense wind-power and wave-power potential in their backyards? Why aren't the border states allowed to deal with illegel immigration their own way? It's all because the federal government won't let any of these things happen.

That isn't the way it's supposed to be. The purpose of our Constitution is to limit what the government can do, not the other way around. That's what real conservatism is all about. Expanded government power is what liberalism stands for. Its an arrogant and self-righteous grab for power, and if that means we have to live with all the waste and inefficiency which you admit goes along with big government, ya'll say "that's just too bad." As long as you get to tell me how to live my life, what to believe, what to think, and how to raise my kids, that's all fine with you. Because liberals are oh so much smarter than anyone else, aren't they? The people are just not to be trusted to run their own lives.

And the Republican Party has fallen into this trap as well. It is definitely NOT a conservative party anymore.


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