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Whenever the administration is challenged regarding the success of the Iraq war, or regarding the false information used to justify the war, the retort is: “Aren’t the people of Iraq better off?” The insinuation is that anyone who expresses any reservations about supporting the war is an apologist for Saddam Hussein and every ruthless act he ever committed. The short answer to the question of whether the Iraqis are better off is that it’s too early to declare, “Mission Accomplished.” But more importantly, we should be asking if the mission was ever justified or legitimate. Is it legitimate to justify an action that some claim yielded good results, if the means used to achieve them are illegitimate? Do the ends justify the means?
However, conceding that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein is a far cry from endorsing the foreign policy of our own government that led to the regime change.
How much better off are the Iraqi people? Hundreds of thousands of former inhabitants of Fallajah are not better off with their city flattened and their homes destroyed. Hundreds of thousands are not better off living with foreign soldiers patrolling their street, curfews, and the loss of basic utilities. One hundred thousand dead Iraqis, as estimated by the Lancet Medical Journal, certainly are not better off. Better to be alive under Saddam Hussein than lying in some cold grave.
Praise for the recent election in Iraq has silenced many critics of the war. Yet the election was held under martial law implemented by a foreign power, mirroring conditions we rightfully condemned as a farce when carried out in the old Soviet system and more recently in Lebanon. Why is it that what is good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander?
Our government fails to recognize that legitimate elections are the consequence of freedom, and that an artificial election does not create freedom. In our own history we note that freedom was achieved first and elections followed-- not the other way around.
We have seen none of the promised oil production that was supposed to provide grateful Iraqis with the means to repay us for the hundreds of billions that American taxpayers have spent on the war. Some have justified our continuous presence in the Persian Gulf since 1990 because of a need to protect “our” oil. Yet now that Saddam Hussein is gone, and the occupation supposedly is a great success, gasoline at the pumps is reaching record highs approaching $3 per gallon.
The oil-for-food scandal under Saddam Hussein has been replaced by corruption in the distribution of U.S. funds to rebuild Iraq. Already there is an admitted $9 billion discrepancy in the accounting of these funds. The over-billing by Halliburton is no secret, but the process has not changed.
The whole process is corrupt.
One question the war promoters don’t want to hear asked, because they don’t want to face up to the answer, is this: “Are Christian Iraqis better off today since we decided to build a new Iraq through force of arms?” The answer is plainly no.
Sure, there are only 800,000 Christians living in Iraq, but under Saddam Hussein they were free to practice their religion.
Considering the death, destruction, and continual chaos in Iraq, it’s difficult to accept the blanket statement that the Iraqis all feel much better off with the U.S. in control rather than Saddam Hussein. Security in the streets and criminal violence are not anywhere near being under control.
But there’s another question that is equally important: “Are the American people better off because of the Iraq war?”
One thing for sure, the 1,500 plus dead American soldiers aren’t better off. The nearly 20,000 severely injured or sickened American troops are not better off. The families, the wives, the husbands, children, parents, and friends of those who lost so much are not better off.
The families and the 40,000 troops who were forced to re-enlist against their will-- a de facto draft-- are not feeling better off. They believe they have been deceived by their enlistment agreements.
The American taxpayers are not better off having spent over 200 billion dollars to pursue this war, with billions yet to be spent. The victims of the inflation that always accompanies a guns-and-butter policy are already getting a dose of what will become much worse.
Are our relationships with the rest of the world better off? I’d say no.
Oil was approximately $27 a barrel before the war, now it’s more than twice that. I wonder who benefits from this?
One of the most significant consequences in times of war that we ought to be concerned about is the inevitable loss of personal liberty. Too often in the patriotic nationalism that accompanies armed conflict, regardless of the cause, there is a willingness to sacrifice personal freedoms in pursuit of victory. The real irony is that we are told we go hither and yon to fight for freedom and our Constitution, while carelessly sacrificing the very freedoms here at home we’re supposed to be fighting for. It makes no sense.
This willingness to give up hard-fought personal liberties has been especially noticeable in the atmosphere of the post-September 11th war on terrorism. Security has replaced liberty as our main political goal, damaging the American spirit. Sadly, the whole process is done in the name of patriotism and in a spirit of growing militant nationalism.
[Then he goes off!]
The concept of national sovereignty is now seen as an issue that concerns only the fringe in our society.
Protection of life and liberty must once again become the issue that drives political thought in this country. If this goal is replaced by an effort to promote world government, use force to plan the economy, regulate the people, and police the world, against the voluntary desires of the people, it can be done only with the establishment of a totalitarian state. There’s no need for that. It’s up to Congress and the American people to decide our fate, and there is still time to correct our mistakes.
Originally posted by lmgnyc
But Ron Paul is just a Libertarian (and that almost spells Liberal!) parading around in Republican's clothing. A REAL Republican would have been too busy mourning the pope and praying to save America's "culture of life" (ChristianConservativeSpeak for the campaign to divert attention from the DeLay crisis to the Liberal ritual killing of babies, the sick, and senior citizens) to bring up sour grapes... and at a time like this! Get over it!
Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
Really, RANT, it scares me how often I seem to agree with you. Our country must be in worse shape than I think it is.
Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
The more I read about Ron Paul, thanks mostly to you RANT, the more I realize how few honest politicians there are anymore. Politicians who are willing to speak the truth rather than toe the partyline (be it Dems or Repubs). Great article, thanks.
Too bad the Republicans will not let him rise in the party and the LIbertarians don't have enough muscle to run a viable candidate *sigh*