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new featureAn Out of Country Experience-Part 23
(Please check the archives if you've missed previous installments)

Rebecca L. Morgan
Help! I'm Being Held Captive..
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Tales From The Barstool By: Clint Lien
"Clint Lien - the lost months"
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In My Opinion
By L.N.P.

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.


Send me your opinions at Lynn@netlistings.com

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