Lessons of Iraq

Probably the most important issue facing the American public during the 2008 Presidential election is to try again and learn the important lessons of Iraq.  While little more is known in 2008 than was known in 2004, it is never too late to learn.

Here are the key lessons from my perspective:

1. The greatest threat to America remains becoming a fascist state.  The Bush Administration has moved the pendulum far more to the right and fascist side of balance than any Administration before (admittedly Nixon tried too).  The fascist State arises when the Government plants fear among its population and tells the citizens that the Government knows best.  We may never know why Bush/Cheney decided to invade Iraq (we can suspect oil but it could have been simply for neoconservative support against the “liberal” press), but the manner in which they carried it out was anything but democratic.  Had the execution of Iraq’s invasion and pacification been effectively undertaken, there is every reason to believe our troops would have invaded Syria and Iran in a heart beat.  Respect for the balance of powers, commitment for Government action transparency, and unbending support of the human and civil rights of all people must be the mainstay of any future President.

2. The Iraq War has an enormous lost opportunity cost.  The running costs are approaching $1 trillion and some estimates have it hitting the $ 2 trillion mark before the next Presidential term is over.  Shamefully the war is being paid for with borrowed dollars that will (1) dilute the dollar’s value versus other currencies, and (2) saddle future generations with the repayment obligation (sins of their fathers).  Bush has cried out many times about social security being broke, about run away Medicare costs, and the need for “no child left behind”.  Others have pointed to crumbling infrastrature (roads, bridges, power distribution, etc) and the 35-50 million residents who lack health insurance.  The trillion dollars could go a long way to fixing these problems.  In our world today you can not have guns and butter. 

3. Entry into the Iraq War highlighted the weaknesses in today’s media.  The preference of readers and listeners to consume pre-digested “opinion” rather than hard (sometimes confusing) facts coupled with the collateral benefits of war reporting produced huge gaps in the necessary coverage of the Iraq invasion and occupation.  Although Fox News is an easy example of “opinion news”, ABC, CBS, and NBC were just as compromised in their reporting.  It may be too late in the radio, TV, and newspaper business models to make sufficient reforms that voters can again trust what they are hearing, seeing, or reading.  Possibly the addition of internet news will provide some objective balance.  The responsibility of regaining fair and open news coverage lies squarely in the hands of the people.  Don’t buy their air time if they do not provide fact based news and clearly separate their opinions from their news.

4. The Iraq War represents a focus on the past and a hiding from the future.  Leave the Islamic Countries to themselves, they do not represent the future.  The future lies in India and China and an economy based upon alternate energy sources.  It is critical that the US get there first with a sensible foreign policy and a combination of conservation and alternate energy sources.  Oil corrupts and Middle East oil corrupts absolutely.

5. The final great lesson of the Iraq War is a failure of the American people.  We simply did not believe what we were being told.  We did not accept that Bush might take us to war when he said he would.  We did not ask for proof nor did we question strongly when justifications were shown to be false.  We did not hold our elected representatives accountable for authorizing a war (without a declaration of war) and were too easily bought off with tax reductions and no draft.  Too many Americans listened to their religious leaders who saw the enemy as those favoring a woman’s right to chose and looked past the destruction and death rained upon the citizens of Iraq.  The end of all great Nations comes in little steps but the first step always occurs when the citizens looks the other way.

Regardless of who becomes the next President, a thorough discussion of the Iraq War, including how we got there and how we will get out of there, will pay huge dividends to our children and theirs.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Blogroll, Democratic Party, Dick Cheney, George Bush, Healthcare, Hillary Clinton, Iran, Iraq War, Israel, John McCain, Middle East, Mike Huckabee, Neoconservatives, Politics, Religion, Republican Party

2 Comments on “Lessons of Iraq”

  1. Dean Calvert Says:

    Good info. and reading. I would definitely bookmark you to check for new updates.

  2. Thanks Dean. I appreciate your comment.

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