Monday, March 25, 2013

Ten Years After

I'm not sure how I feel about the History's TV production of The Bible, because while I can see some shortcomings in it, there are other moments that at least surpass what's on most of the other channels. Anyway, I'm trying to see all of it at least once.
Some of the characters don't match the pictures I have of them in my mind, but that's OK. But why, except for Jesus, do they all speak with British accents? And who decided to depict John the Baptist as a rather husky fellow (Didn't he live in the wilderness?) with...dreadlocks? Well, I liked the young Mary and Joseph, so I guess it all balances out.  

Now, with regard to events a bit closer to today. News media during March have used the anniversary to rehash the 2003 invasion of Iraq and its effect on our country and the rest of the world. I think Republicans would have stopped time rather than having to go through this again, but let's give them credit for trying to muddy the waters of history by using arguments such as:
1. We really thought the Iraqis had WMDs, and that they intended to use them against us, or at least the Israelis. That's why we kept repeating the line about the smoking  gun and the "mushroom cloud".
2. We took out a bad, bad, bad dictator by attacking Iraq. In fact, our attack saved lives.
3. German intelligence convinced us we had to attack Iraq.
4. Congress voted for it, including lots of Democrats, so it was their fault, not ours.
5. We liberated the Iraqis. That's why they should be thanking us today. See also #2.
6. You Dems just claimed we lied in order to try to win the next election.
7. I was a good idea then, and it still was a good idea, although we aren't saying just why because the Iraqi oil market is not up to speed, which is understandable after a war. They'll pay us back, too - some day.
8. #1 again. No, really, all the WMDs were shipped to Syria before we could find them, and they're going to be used in Syria any day now. Then you guys will be sorry you ever brought it up. So there!

Maybe it shows, but I find these contentions lacking in, ah, believability. What's more, I have concluded that deciding to attack Iraq is one of the worst decisions ever made by a US president. If we were truly convinced of Saddam's WMDs, then we wouldn't have had to thrash the CIA spooks over and over to somehow cook up data supporting the idea. No, Saddam was no angel, but plenty of countries had and still have thugs-in-chief that we didn't go after either then or later. If by "German intelligence we mean the former Iraqi code named "Curve ball", then why did we never sit down and talk to the guy to try and guess if  he actually knew anything? Yes, some Democrats went along with the war wagon, and many of them have since paid a political price for it. But let's not pretend that Congress somehow forced the war. That's ridiculous. The GOP neocons get spots on talk shows to wail that they were right all along. Pathetic. And as for WMDs finding  a new home in Syria, certainly if that were the case then something would have turned up in the current war pitting Syria's army against its own people. And finally, notice that the list above contains no mention of our reputation changing from "the nation that cares" to "the nation that tortures".
I haven't said a word about the cost of this war, all done off the books by special legislation, or its effect on thousands of wounded, the effect on families of both sides, the destruction of homes or the loss of national credibility, each of these at least a small disaster.
Good manners require that I refrain from discussing this stuff with people I don't know well, and even some whom I  know all too well. But I can now count among my faults the tendency to quickly judge the knowledge level of someone who pipes up in favor of the decision to begin and continue this wasteful war. It's hard for me to envision a worse decision (assuming it wasn't deliberately built on the basis of lies), at least in my lifetime.


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