I watched 60 Minutes last night, as I’m sure many did, in rapt fascination. President Bush in his role as The Decider stands firm in his beliefs that this is a just war and his position will make America stronger. The latest AP poll shows that approval of Bush’s handling of the war is at 29% and yet the biggest mistakes our President sees has been in Abu Ghraib, bad language and troop levels.
According to an article on ABCNews.com entitled Corruption Rivals Violence as Threat in Iraq, corruption in Iraq is pandemic, losing up to $4 billion a year. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is quoted as saying, “It is a story of mistakes made - of plans that (were) poorly conceived or overwhelmed by ongoing violence and of waste, greed and corruption that drained dollars that should have been used to build schools and health clinics.” The article goes on to say that U.S. investigators have identified more that $300 million of our tax dollars being spent on suspect projects.
Although it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate count of how many Iraqi’s have died during this war, the numbers quoted range anywhere from 50,000 to 655,000. Whichever number we choose to believe, lets face it, that is a lot of people and a lot of devastated families. President Bush has claimed responsibility for his decisions and has said if they are wrong he takes the blame, but I can’t help but wonder if he realizes that we are talking about human lives and not numbers, polls or dollars. And what is the definition of success? I keep hearing we must succeed over there, but am I the only one who is unclear exactly what that means?
Is controlling the oil the ultimate goal? How many American deaths will history record? Will it be a success when the Iraqi death toll reaches one million or two million? Since the democratic elections were held and a government put into place, are we now only waiting for the insurgencies to end before we can withdraw? And what if the insurgency doesn’t end? Are we going to set up permanent bases there to police the democracy? And what about Iran and Afghanistan? Are we really just setting up to make war a never-ending business? We know that military contractors and oil companies are posting huge profits, is this just a coincidence? I know I am perennially perched on the pedestal of the naïve, but it seems as we get lost deeper into the rhetoric, the simplest questions go unasked.
President Bush also stated in the 60 minutes interview that he was not going to change his principles to be popular, but as the President of a democracy, defined by Webster’s as - government by the people; especially: rule of the majority, shouldn’t being popular be the idea?
Love and Peace