Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Correcting an oversight

I've been reading in various circles that certain people are unhappy that certain other people haven't celebrated the successful Iraqi elections properly and publicly. I apologize for this blog's oversight: I was consoling my car, which failed its very first state inspection on Saturday and wasn't able to blog. In a nutshell, I am very happy the elections came off relatively smoothly, that 57 percent of the population made it to the polls, and that for the first time in 50 years, Iraqis got to vote for their leaders. It's an impressive and historical milestone for the country and let's hope this is the first step in a journey to a true functioning democracy.

However, I take issue with people who take this election as a justification for what we're doing in Iraq. I do not believe this election validates two years worth of bad decisions. I do not believe you can say that the ends justify the means; if we cared so much about people voting and spreading democracy around the globe and saving lives, well, I've got a list of countries that could certainly use our help. I never agreed with the war in Iraq. I never agreed with the premise of why we were over there and I certainly didn't agree with how the invasion took place.

Then there was the 'bait and switch'; there were no WMDs and the war was sold on the presence of WMDs. This administration never took responsibility for the bad intelligence or bad decisionmaking. Would it have been so hard for George Bush to get up there and say, "I'm sorry. I made a mistake. I thought the weapons were there, but they weren't. But now we have to stay because I made a mistake and I need to fix it." Instead, we get this rhetoric about spreading the 'fire' of freedom across the Middle East and the elections, well, that's just the oil in the fire. Watch out, Iran, the flames are coming to you next!

So you see, I'm of two minds. The Iraqis have been freed from an oppressive and brutal dictator (I have always agreed, btw, that Saddam Hussein was a boogeyman of the very worst kind) and they are finally getting a taste of what it is like to have opportunity. But don't ask me to applaud the decision to go to war and don't call me a traitor for wanting to bring the troops home.

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