After 9/11 I remember the outpouring of goodwill and sympathy for all those innocents lost and injured in the attacks. Friend and foe alike condemned those who would indiscriminately punish civilians for ideological reasons. There was truly a chance for world leaders to reach out to each other to try and prevent more unnecessary violence. It was said that such an event was intolerable.
As I read and see all the Right's (Wrong's) hype on who is responsible for the recent developments in Iraq and about the growing number of extremists throughout the world I feel it is important to understand how that moment of unity vanished.
In their arrogance and feelings of inadequacy in allowing an attack on US soil President Bush, Dick Cheney and their advisers were willing to accept any intelligence that would allow them to strike out at anyone perceived as the enemy. UN be damned, they would do it on their own if need be. Coalition forces were duped into fighting a war for profit, a foothold in the oil rich Middle East and a chance for redemption, i.e. reelection.
Then came the need to feel superior. Mission accomplished. One set of laws for us humans and another set for those who were called terrorists. Detainees to be kept in secret, tortured and never to be released. Drones, Abu Ghraib, Saddam hanging, one war crime after another. Is it any wonder that we are not looked upon as liberators ?
The great shame is that we need not have based the public relations of this war on weapons of mass destruction. The evidence of Saddam Hussein's crimes against humanity was there. I remember pictures of mass graves and chemical attacks against Kurds. Pallets of cash unearthed in concrete bunkers and opulent palaces. The shoe throwing at and pulling down of statues.
We could have left once Saddam was captured, although this is what has left the power vacuum that is resulting in the current situation, accomplishing what Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf (R.I.P. to a man of honor) had said was one thing left undone in Desert Storm but he also said it would have been a massacre to continue to Baghdad and that doing so would have left us "like a dinosaur in a tar pit, we could not have gotten out and we'd still be the occupying power and we'd be paying one hundred percent of all the costs to administer all of Iraq." Instead Bush Jr. ignored what Bush Sr. perceived was not possible. A puppet government in a land of many religious factions was and is unsustainable. The same holds true in Afghanistan.
The trillions spent so far on war has just left us in the untenable position of fighting an unending war on terror. Will we continue to spend $1 trillion per year on national security defending ourselves from the hate we have incurred ? That would surely keep the war profiteers happy. Or will we go against those who say "Don't give humanitarian aid those who hate us" ? Forget the targeted attacks, logistics, training and military aid. Once again that is us choosing who we would have in power and has been shown to cause the opposition in foreign lands to continue to hate us. I for one feel food and medicine would go a long way towards gaining back the goodwill that once was. If that type of aid does not get to where it is most needed just keep the kindness flowing until it does reach them. It will be cheaper in the long run and we just might not end up in a hell of our own devising.
The shortage of candidates for all offices is mind numbing. I remember a time not too long ago when at least our president deserved a little respect. I'm not saying we shouldn't scrutinize our politicians to the best of our ability. We're not going to agree with much of what they do or say. Everyone has issues that are dear to them but that does not make them unamerican. Our 2 party system starts us off disagreeing 50% of the time on principle, discounting when we used to have obvious bipartisan issues. Since thinking voters will not agree with their own party all of the time the percentage of agreement will be even less. We didn't consider ourselves disaffected but part of a healthy democracy.
To resort to fabricating stories in print or doctoring photos was a career ending move for journalists. Now it's a free-for-all of paid political hacks creating disinformation. Think tanks come up with tag lines and talking point designed to divide and conquer. Social media has us at friends and families throats due to reposts of objectionable material that has no bearing on the issues. It's insulting to the mind and feelings until we unfollow or unfriend those closest to us.
It starts at the local level with personal attacks and intrusions on private time by town folks at your kids baseball games or at dinner. Go for county or state government and your motives come into question, you're being sued by your constituents and financing is everything. At the national level you're a corporation my friend. Your background is fair game and so is your family. Your own personal safety becomes an issue so much more so now that the populace is being played by those who gain by keeping us divided.
The only rationale these days to run for national office is greed and power. Our benefit is secondary to those interests. A salary of $175,000 - $244,000 and benefits is really chump change for the responsibilities involved in being one of the 546 major governing officials (535 congressmen, 9 supreme court justices, vice president, plus the president who now makes $400,000). It's easy to see where corruption enters the picture. The question is how we make governing an honorable profession again and I don't have an answer to that.
Righties have been making a big deal about Hillary's new book Hard Choices having the "major factual mistake" that a Marine Special Guard unit was stationed at the embassy in Tripoli. General Carter Ham who was the Commander responsible in the African Command gave congressional testimony in June 2013 that there were none. Clinton's aides say there is no controversy but the timeline of when Marines were put there is being taken out of context. This seems to be more irrelevant nonsense but why the RWNJ misdirection? I thought about the response time then it hit me. Demonstrations were occurring at many different embassies due to the Innocence of Muslims film. Their argument is that it was not a spontaneous demonstration but a planned terrorism attack and cover up. Wouldn't that mean that there was no warning and even less time to deploy to save our people? Same thing if troops were stationed even further away. There is no motivation for the White House to hide how few military options were available. Just more Been Ghazied !!
Maybe so, maybe not. Environment or upbringing? Keeping quiet is no longer an option as all our voices are needed in the face of the unprecedented challenges to our democracy. When confronted I'm seeing some very unstable reactions from family and long time friends. Most have shown themselves while we grew up together to be greedy or bitter people. They pick self serving policies and ignore rational discussion. Many immediately become aggressive. Their vilifying of those worse off than themselves and those who would defend them show the underlying insecurity of their indefensible beliefs. The anonymity of social media have solidified their stand since they can rage against reality while surrounded by those who share their delusions. I don't hear liberals making threats to politicians nor backing those who would starve the poor. We won't retrieve most of them from the dark side but we may win some over or influence some of their most drastic views. My first diary Kossacks !!