War is not made upon any group of people, by any other group of people. Individually we may fight, and as a group we may rise in defense of a "way of life", but we, the people, do not wage war.
War is a leadership concept. It is the privilege of those who hold power, be it granted, assumed or taken, over a group of people ...such as us. In Iraq, Saddam has assumed and taken his power by convincing progressively larger groups that they would benefit by doing what he tells them to do, and then telling them to do things to the rest of the populace in order to secure his position as the top dog in Iraq. He would like to expand his power base, but without progressively larger threats, it becomes difficult to control more people in this fashion ...it is an exponential growth equation; to control one group of people, takes one measure of fear. To control two groups of people, requires three measures of fear.
In the United States ...Great Britain, and many other countries of the world, power is granted. We choose among those who want to run the big show, and grant them extraordinary powers of control. We do this through several levels of government, with some slow moving checks and balances ( good thing ) and for the most part this system works better for a large populace. I realise that in our lifetime we have the example of the Soviet Union controlling large numbers of people and vast land masses, using violent repression of local groups ...but we have also seen the chaos that results when that system fails.
No community on this planet can display the "flexibility of government" and "peaceful transition of power" enjoyed by the residents of the United States.
We have ...even those of us living now... each been instrumental in creating a "tribe" unlike any other that has ever existed. We are often compared to other civilizations which have florished and then died ...but by those very comparisons, it can be demonstrated that we are not the same. No other group of people in history has achieved the level of prosperity and peace that we enjoy.
Regardless of our crooked politics, economic downturns, and racial unrest ...we remain the one place on our planet that everyone wants to live
...( offer Saddam exile in the United States and see how fast he takes it ) Our immigrants ...those who keep our country vital and fresh... will do anything to leave the land of their birth ...even accepting poverty and discrimination... to have the opportunities we have in this country.
Those opportunities are in large part, due to our government ...non-repressive and ever changing ...and I seem to be somewhat far afield from where I started, but it is important that you view my comments in the context of my understanding.
In the United States, the visible point of power is our President. He is granted his power ...through an admittedly convoluted system which discourages the best candidates from even making the attempt ( but I will reserve that point for another rant :)... by the people he governs. We limit the time span of his influence through law ...and those checks and balances... but in fact, in times of domestic and international stress, real or imagined, we allow him to have relatively broad powers to make decisions ...and lead. He is not always right, but we have the ability to object, and the mechanism to shut him down if we need to... in fact there is only one scenario which he can precipitate faster than perhaps we can react ...and I could be wrong on that one, because the procedures involved are outside my scope of knowledge ...talking 10 bells, "HATEFULLNESS, HATEFULLNESS, HATEFULLNESS" here, launch the missiles.
So... Why should we support the removal of Saddam?
He is, in short, a very bad man.
Why has our President promoted this conflict so vehemently?
- Firstly, I think he believes that the world will be a safer place without Saddam in it ...don't you?
- The United States is the number one consumer of petroleum in the world ...we want it more than anyone else ...I do not believe we want to just take it; we are willing to pay for it. The largest known reserves of petroleum are in the Middle East, and the largest single producing oil field is in Iraq. Saddam is a loose cannon who can at any time disrupt the entire area, and thus disrupt our ability to buy the fluid on which our economy runs. This is not about taking oil, it is about assuring that the oil continues to flow. We don't need to own it, we just want to be able to continue to buy it...
( and as a side note, don't imagine for even a moment that the oil producing countries don't want to sell to us. Even Saddam wants to sell to us. For all the posturing, no other national economy depends on oil to the extent ours does. We are the largest consumers, but we are not depriving any other country access to oil needed for their own use ...except maybe North Korea? which is another "political" discussion. )
- It is a point of national ( and family ) pride for our President to prosecute this war to a successful conclusion ...including installation of a working government model, and stabilization of the whole region ( which will probably ultimately fail due to religious conflict. That said... ) During the previous war with Saddam, our President's father led the popular charge to go to the rescue of Kuwait and expel Saddam from that country. As our President at the time, he then called upon the Iraqi people, particularly the Shiite ( religious group ) population in the south, and the Kurdish ( another religious faction ) population in the north, to rise up and overthrow Saddam. These people followed the suggestion of our President, who then decided the war had fulfilled its objective and withdrew our troops. This left these two trusting "minorities" in a world-of-hurt and Saddam massacred them by the thousands ...driving the Shiite remnants into Iran, and isolating the Kurds in the northern hill country of Iraq between him and another one of their sworn enemies ...the Turks. Our President would like to remove some portion of this blot on his father's legacy ...and restore international confidence in the integrity of the United States.
Points you should know about the "war" in Iraq... and a bit of opinion
I believe this conflict was long overdue, but I do not necessarily agree that it was necessary. We are the "nicest" world power in history when it comes to our regard for the rights of others, and adherence to "law" ...we should have found a way to take Saddam out, one-on-one regardless of the international "rules" against the asassination of a world leader ...by sanction of another country. Saddam has never played by the rules, and in my mind that makes him exempt from their protection.
The end of the conflict in Iraq will not be the end of anything.
It will not make the world more stable, or peaceful... there are still a large number of problems in just the Middle East which we contribute to as a nation.
By choosing to separate our "state" from religion, we created something unique in the world. We are still largely unique in this respect, and it will for all of my future be the largest point of misunderstanding between the United States and the rest of the world. We do not understand the religious fervor of our "enemies" and their perception of our society as "godless" ...we hold our religious beliefs as individuals, and that is something outside of the experience of most of the rest of the world ( may have to exclude China in that statement :)
In the words of Pogo, "We have met the enemy, and he, is us."
As long as we succeed in our grand experiment we will be reviled by those whose leaders do not allow them to participate ...or even consider participation. We will be hated because we are different... and only our vigilence, strength and compassion will allow us to survive.
There is no place else I would rather be. How about you?
Source: /me ...Robert Jackson Chaney, aged 51 years, 3 months, born in Lubbock, Texas, currently living in Seattle, Washington, married, two step-sons, two daughters, expectant Grandfather, worker bee... and I think, a patriot.
Nothing like a little comment...
- evilrooster says, "Thanks, but I don't particularly want to be in the US as it currently stands, with the arrogance of power unchecked by concern for any who may be affected by it."
enth says, "Hmm, I support my countrymen out fighting in the desert, and hope for the best for them; I do not support the actions of the government (ostensibly, my government) which put them there. How is it a travesty to voice my opinion on thelatter considering my opinion on the former? This is a good writeup, by the way -- well put."."
Wiccanpiper says, "Very good indeed! Just a few typos (courtesy Typo Death Squad: priviledge -> privilege ( I've always mispelled that one :); garantee -> guarantee ( I've been marked down both ways in my time, and believe a bit of research will show that both spellings are acceptable ); experiement -> experiment ( I just flat missed that one ). Thanks for posting this!"."
QXZ says, "I must completely reject your statement that anti-war protesting is a 'travesty'. If I, and many others, believe this to be an egregious crime against humanity then you, as a supposed supporter of democracy, should be entirely happy that we CAN register our dissent and do all in our power to prevent what we belive to be a horrible crime. "Shutting up and going along" does not make for good democracies"
RainMirage says, "Fabulous writeup, I would C! you if I had the power."