Jenn’s Sunday Sermon
[Note from the Blog Mistress: I’m sick as a dog, so I’m not sure how coherent this post is. Assuming I survive whatever the hell bug I have, I’ll re-read it Monday and see whether or not it’s worth keeping. ]
I recently watched the Bruce Willis movie ‘Tears of the Sun‘ with my son. One of the most interesting aspects of the movie is that Bruce Willis’ character isn’t killing and blowing up sh*t willy-nilly. Instead, this movie is about a SEAL suddenly confronted with his own humanity, who must do what is right because it is right – even if it ends up killing him, his entire team, and the civilians with them. It was not the kind of movie one expects from Bruce Willis.
Being something of a softy, I cried at various points in this movie, not least of which was the ending. I won’t go into any details, to spare those who haven’t seen it, but suffice it to say this is what I think of when I think of the American military.
This movie gave me two simultaneous thoughts, both of which I’ll try to work into this post.
The first thought I had was: it’s a shame that this image of our military has been ruined by this long nightmare called the War in Iraq.
Remember when American troops were considered the good guys by nearly every nation on earth? Our military was respected not only because of its size and strength, but because of its members and their universal respect for the rules of justice. They upheld the belief in the right of the strong to protect the weak and in doing the right thing because it was the right thing.
The last line of the Military Code of Conduct is “I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.”
Dedicated to the principles which made my country free.
Sadly, our President and the rest of his misAdministration have proven they have no interest in preserving the freedoms purchased with the blood of generations of American soldiers. Instead, they preach fear and hatred, while issuing directives and creating signing statements which curtail our liberties and force our soldiers to act in a way contrary to humanity. A way that continues to violate their own high standards, their own moral code, and laws governing international warfare, and which continues to destroy the image of the US military around the world.
Those who claim we must fight the insurgency must ask themselves why the Iraqi people felt an insurgency was necessary. Why do so many Iraqis choose to fight against the US forces?
The answer is another question: What would we, as Americans, do if another nation did to us what we have done to Iraq?
The second thought I had was: We’re constantly being told that Iraq will devolve into civil war if our troops leave.
This, of course, assumes that Iraq has not reached a state of civil war yet, which is patent nonsense. What else do you call sectarian fighting? What else do you call it when people are carrying different sets of identification because having the wrong name could be deadly? What else do you call it when suicide bombers and militias are killing people at a rate of 3000 a month?
Which led me to think: So?
Not “So?” in the heartless sense of “Who cares if they kill each other” but “So?” in the sense that the right-wing of America hasn’t really given two hoots about any other civil war, so why are they so passionate about “preventing” one.
Where were they during the Rwandan massacres? Where were they during the civil war in the Sudan, and where have they been as the refugees of Darfur continue to starve? How about Uganda, where Christianists have kidnapped some 12,000 children to serve in the military? Where were we when Liberia exploded in violence? What about during the civil war in the Congo? Sierra Leone?
And that’s just Africa.
Let’s get real. When the US gets involved in a civil war, it’s not to help anyone…except the United States. (Nicaragua, El Salvador…)
The only reason we keep hearing this ‘civil war’ nonsense is because this will be a civil war caused by the United States. We aren’t just aiding a civil war already started, picking one side or the other for whatever imaginary gains expected. We caused this one.
Our invasion and occupation have done nothing to improve the lives of Iraqis.
Oh, sure, Saddam’s dead and gone, but are the Iraqis any better off? Instead of worrying about Saddam’s band of goons, they have to worry about al-Sadr’s goons or some other cleric’s goons. We’ve done the worst possible thing over our years in Iraq – we’ve made the people long for the Iraq that existed under Saddam.
Way to go, George.
Now, bring them home!
From Anna Quindlen, in Newsweek: [all emphasis mine]
Tomorrow. That’s when the United States should begin to bring combat forces home from Iraq. Today would be a better option, but already it’s tomorrow in Baghdad, in the Green Zone fortress Americans have built in the center of the city, out in the streets where IEDs are lying in wait for passing soldiers and every marketplace may be the endgame for a suicide bomber.
The course of this war has been a consistent scene of carnage with ever-changing underpinnings. Uncover weapons of mass destruction, lay hands on Saddam Hussein, oversee elections, teach the Iraqis to police themselves. Bring stability to the region. The last has been an illusion. Over the last year many Americans have finally realized how thoroughly they were sold a bill of goods. The picture of the peaceable kingdom painted by the Bush administration nearly four years ago was that of a country, riven by religious and ethnic violence for centuries, suddenly turned into the equivalent of a Connecticut suburb: town meetings, friendly neighbors, a common purpose, perhaps a shopping mall.
Nearly four years of photographs and footage of dusty corpses, cinderblock barriers, shredded cars and bereaved families, and the absurdity of that view is absolute.
The most tangible pact America made with the Iraqi people was to capture Saddam Hussein and bring him to justice. Done. The most nonsensical and paternalistic one was to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. That they must do themselves.
This month journalism lost one of its most honest and strong-minded practitioners, the opinion columnist Molly Ivins. Breast cancer finally did what her detractors couldn’t, wore her down and shut her up. But even as she was fading fast, she felt compelled to dictate a column about the president’s plan to shore up a disaster with a mistake by sending more troops to Iraq. […] She called on those she trusted, the American people. Her dying declaration in print was this: “We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war.”
The people who brought America reports of WMDs when none existed, and the slogan “Mission Accomplished” when it was not nor likely to be, now say that American troops cannot leave. Not yet. Not soon. Not on a timetable. Judge the truth of that conclusion by the truth of their past statements. They say that talk of withdrawal shows a lack of support for the troops. There is no better way to support those who have fought valiantly in Iraq than to guarantee that not one more of them dies in the service of the political miscalculation of their leaders. Not one more soldier. Not one more grave. Not one more day. Bring them home tomorrow.
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