I've plowed through quite a bit of material recently here on Daily Kos and even a couple books, including "War and Peace" that has dominated my consciousness over the past month due to Tolstoy's writing of the absurdity of writing history from the perspective of the "leaders" or the "heroes."
Understanding what happens in a society, and why a nation turns out the way that it does - and ultimately, what brings men to kill their fellow creatures, is an extremely complex issue.
So why did America go to war? Surely... we can't just blame it all on Bush...
Or can we? I don't believe so.
In a way, this administration was in a position to do some serious misleading and fear mongering. They shamelessly took advantage of a moment of time where passions in this country were running high in order to push an agenda they'd wanted for years prior... then they told us to go back to what we were doing, not to think about it, and in that way we would "win" because we would not let "them" alter our way of life.
It was a unique idea - the less we gave up in regards to our commercial, superficial lifestyles the more we were winning. The more diamonds, nice cars, and trips to Disney World (as Bush recommended) the better. The cool part is that it was an easy way to WIN. And somehow the administration and their many supporters were able to convince the American people that this was the most logical solution to what happened on 9/11. And our profit-based media saw in it a safe way to continue making the big bucks... why possibly destabilize the situation when there is such a clear opportunity to make money in the way the administration set out for them, to just go along with it - America FIGHTS TERROR! So easy...
There is no simple way to explain what happened... to point out what the Bush Administration said or did as the "reason" is akin to my pointing to the wheels moving on the car as the reason it is in motion, or someone else pointing to hot gas coming from the exhaust as the reason, or even a small child who says God pushes the car (as Bush might say, God put him into his position as president... and GOD is the one orchestrating our history, all fitting in harmoniously with his divine plan.)
But we know the many parts of the machine acting together cause its motion. It is important that we not lose sight of this, that we not levy all the blame simply on certain figureheads rather than where it truly lies... in ourselves. It is the sum of all its parts that allow for the car to move, just as it is the sum of all people working to achieve their general ends that allowed for us to be put into the abhorrent situation that we now find ourselves. That has put this country in a very real and dangerous position on the world stage that could possibly have already tipped us over the edge.
So how did we not recognize that this man was shameless from the start? That he had no real principles, considering that by the end of his first term he had completely acted counter to everything he campaigned on? Through the slogan of "compassionate" conservative he made the pledge to help the poor and to improve education. We have seen that his policies towards the poor are a complete joke, and he and his ilk have set environmental standards back years. He said that the United States must not engage in Nation Building, although that is precisely what he is doing in Iraq. If Bush had claimed he wanted to go invade Iraq when he was initially running for president, he would have been seen as someone that just wanted to stir shit up and cause trouble and never would have had a chance of winning. Hell, he didn't didn't win the popular vote of the people of the United States the first time around regardless, and barely did the second time - with many reports of potential voter fraud throughout - plus a terribly run campaign by his opponent, John Kerry, that failed to point out the many morally depraved aspects of Bush's character.
The Bush Administration is just one small group of men. They could not have done what they did had it not been for the mindset of the people themselves. Views of the administration's top leaders on the middle east were very clearly stated... they were neo-cons, and their Project for the New American Century made very clear what they wanted to do in the middle east. And yet, everyone thought it was perfectly alright to let these men lead us into war in this region without questioning their motives. No one of significance seemed to point out this fact, and everyone trusted for no reason at all. Sure there were those of us who acted in opposition from the start, but to no avail - as the machine was already in motion.
I think it's important that we study this machine. The majority of American's do not like to take the road less traveled. We enjoy things to be easy and fast, not challenging. Or at least that sentiment seems to win in the struggle of opposing forces....
Why is it that we are more willing to give up our rights than we are willing to give up our "things?" Why did everyone say "okay" to the president when he said to just keep on shopping? Why didn't we say "woah, we were attacked - and you don't want us to do ANYTHING? To make NO SACRIFICES?" when our history makes it clear that when men truly fight for "freedom" it inherently means the sacrifice of that which makes us comfortable? World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, the struggle of Mahatma Ghandi... there was nothing COMFORTABLE about these struggles.
And yet, we listened to George Bush and forgot our Martin Luther Kings, our FDR's, and our Mahatma Ghandi's.
We must do what is necessary now to instill in every American the principles of what Freedom truly does mean. The Patriot Act still is not being protested by every American in the country, as it should be. This problem STILL EXISTS.
It is at a very wrong time in our history. We have too much power, too much possibility for good, to allow ourselves to get so comfortable with our own lives that we don't pay any attention to what's going on around us. 9/11 supposedly changed things, made it clear to people that there was an outside world... but even though it did give us a glimpse into the reality of our situation, we had conveniently elected a man that wouldn't challenge us to take that other road... no, we started to veer off course and he pushed us right back into our old direction... back to Disney World.