As far as wars go..
I suppose that at least as far as wars go, the
war in Iraq was a pretty good one. Very few casualties
(at least, as far as wars go) amazingly precise
bombs, embedded journalists (!) and not a whole
lot of collateral damage. So we didn't find those
pesky old WMDs yet. It's not as if we really believed
that's what this war was about. And, despite the
most reliable "intel," we have yet to determine
if Saddam is dead or alive, in Iraq or in one of
countless other places. He could be hangin' out
with Osama for all we know (although we have yet
to prove any connection between them) but
if that's the case, that the two of them are hiding
out in some underground palatial bunker (Saddam
doesn't like caves a whole lot) it really doesn't
help us much. After all, we still don't have a clue
where Osama is.
Nevertheless, the war made for some great television
(as in, let's go home and "watch the war") as well
as for some brilliant, albeit isolated, moments
from our Commander-in-Chief. I say isolated because
many of us, even though we knew we'd been
manipulated, even though we knew we'd have
to face the same old lousy economy and those tax
cuts for the rich very soon, were somehow able to
like Bush, even admire him, out of context. Bush
with the troops, Bush being decisive, Bush as Commander-in
Chief, was obviously the role of a lifetime, a role
he seemed born to play.
In fact, he played it so well that for a moment
there, even the skeptics among us were convinced
that we had invaded Iraq for a noble cause, the
cause of liberation. After all, liberating an oppressed
people from the subjugation of a despicably brutal
dictator was far nobler than all the reasons we'd
been given, wasn't it? Far nobler than being so
scared of some possible weapons of mass destruction
that we couldn't wait one week longer to protect
ourselves from their imminent threat. Nobler than
rushing in to prevent Saddam from furnishing those
Al Qaeda types with WMDS to use against Americans.
And for a while, it seemed that the Iraqis agreed.
The footage of smiling faces joyously welcoming
the troops, the instantly legendary toppling of
the statue of Saddam, combined with those hand chosen
interviews with highly educated "Americanized" Iraqis,
all contributed to the feeling that we had, indeed,
heroically defeated evil and paved the way for freedom
and democracy. More than that, we were positive
that's what the citizens of Iraq wanted.
Don't get me wrong. I do believe that our
troops performed heroically, and that we did
defeat a consummate "evil-doer." And I also believe
that countless Iraqi lives were saved from starvation
and/or Saddam's atrocious "death by whim" policies.
But the whole "democracy-like-we-have" bit appears
to have been more like wishful thinking than thoughtful
planning. Seems like someone forgot about all those
Shiites, the downtrodden majority in Iraq
whom we recently liberated. The likelihood is that
the highly anti-American Muslim clerics might very
well have the power-even through a democratic election-to
establish an Islamic fundamentalist government.
You know, like in Iran. Remember those guys? And,
if the predictability of history repeating itself
is any indication of what the future holds in store,
we'll no doubt be in a war with some fundamentalist
Iraqi regime one day down the line. That is, if
we aren't bankrupted by the $20 billion a year cost
for rebuilding their country.
On a completely different subject (but then again,
maybe not), May 1st was this country's National
Day of Prayer. In case you don't know, this is not
some new-fangled scheme cooked up by right-wing
politicians or Christian evangelists; it began in
1775 when the Continental Congress asked the colonies
to pray to God for wisdom and guidance in the forming
of our nation. In 1863, President Lincoln signed
a proclamation calling for a day of "humiliation,
fasting, and prayer" and in 1952, a joint resolution
by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared
an annual, national day of prayer. In 1988, the
date was permanently set as a national day of
observance on the first Thursday of every May.
Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors
of several U.S. territories signed proclamations
to encourage Americans to pray on this day.
The National Day of Prayer is meant as a day that
transcends differences, bringing people together
from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds.
But it's also meant as a day when we all stand humbly
before God, asking for His guidance for our leaders
and His grace for our nation. It's a lovely idea,
although personally, I doubt it will do the trick.
It reminds me of the National Smoke-out Day. For
real smokers, the addicted ones, not smoking for
a day is a joke. If they could stop smoking for
a whole day, they'd quit! It's a trendy "quick-fix"
notion that simply doesn't work, except for those
who already hate smoking. Same thing with a National
Day of Prayer. Prayer takes practice, and faith.
It takes a consistent effort, over a long period
of time to attain real spirituality and a relationship
with God. One day won't cut it.
On the other hand, it's a start, as well as a reminder
that this country was founded on Judeo-Christian
principles. That's not something we should apologize
for, or be ashamed of. It's what allows us to distinguish
between moral and immoral, between good and evil.
So, when we're not fighting the evil that attacks
from without, we should spend some time looking
at the evils within our own country. We have an
awful lot to fix, an awful lot of healing left to
accomplish. We do so much good, but we could
do so much better. And praying to God for guidance
every day instead of once a year could get
us there a whole lot quicker.
me your opinions at Lynn@netlistings.com