Saturday, December 01, 2007

Just Ask

Is the surge working? Some members of Congress might think so, but just ask one of the mothers of the nearly 4,000 American service members who have died as a result of our occupation of Iraq.

Better still, ask a single mother, in one of the poorest inner city families, whose child support has been funneled into the coffers of the state in which she lives to compensate for her welfare payments (NYT) Think of how much she would have benefited if only a fraction of the billions spent in Iraq went to cover the states' aid to dependent families program.

Oh, and while we're at it, why not ask one of the relatives of the thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children who have been slain to bring "democracy" to that country. While we, in this country, can sit comfortably back, and celebrate the assertion that casualties are down, one casualty in this illegal war is one casualty too many.

If we, as a nation, are so concerned about importing representative government to foreign lands, why did we look the other way when President Pervez Musharraf, of Pakistan, informed this administration, in advance, that he was declaring martial law, and suspending the constitution? If we're so concerned about making the world safe from terrorists, where did the $11 billion we gave Musharraf go, and can it be into the pockets of those who have been trying to undermine "democracy" in Afghanistan?

If this administration is so concerned about democracy, then why don't we invade Beijing whose human rights abuses are egregious, or North Korea whose leader poses the most direct, and ongoing threat to world peace, and stability of any? And, what about Khaddafi? He's been neutralized as Musharraf appears to have been. Nobody buys silence better than those American presidents who preach democracy, but whose practices are surpassed only by mob bosses.

Civilizations measure the cost of war not merely in terms of collateral, and reconstruction, but in terms of human cost. The cost to our karma, for our assault on the Persian Gulf, is immeasurable and equal to the loss of a parent for a small child on the outskirts of Baghdad. That loss is our loss, too.

Were it possible to ask a former president, Thomas Jefferson, what he thinks of this White House, and its rhetoric, he'd probably say "Don't bother me, I'm sleeping." Oh, and as for George Washington, he'd be on his way back to London by now.