NPR aired a story of a young Iraqi man today. 19 years old, I think he said. I didn't hear it all, but part of what he said was how he was so happy, in the beginning, that we had rid the world of the tyrant Saddam--he and his rock back could sing about how "Saddam Sucks." He agreed to be interviewed back in 2003 by some news outlet with the proviso that it would never be shown in the Middle East. Al-Jazeera got hold of it and aired it. Next thing you know, this 19 year old hears himself being condemned, by name, by the local imam at Friday prayers. His life was in danger. His family kicked him out, so he lived full time in the Green Zone (I guess he had a job there; I didn't hear that part).
In the story today this young man was saying how, before Saddam, it was awful to be unable to express your political views, but at least, if you kept your mouth shut, you didn't fear for your life. Now in Iraq, you cannot walk the streets without fear for your life, no matter what your political views.
We've gone in there, in our own deadly hatred and fear, and unleashed these other deadly forces of hatred and fear. We have done this horrible thing. And our President continues to tell us it is worth it, that the world is a better place without Saddam. I'm sorry, but what planet is he on? 100,000 Iraqi people are dead (that's probably not the correct number, but it's huge, we know that), 3,500 American soldiers dead and how many wounded? This week a wonderful couple in my church found out that their grandson was listed in critical condition, not from a battle wound, but from a suicide attempt. My heart aches for this family.
And members of Congress are such selfish political animals that they cannot see fit to stand up and do the right thing. Yes, for those of you who have read previous posts, you know that I wasn't sure what was right, whether we shouldn't try this military surge and see if it would really help the situation. It's not helping, and apparently there is no political will to make it work. Congress should have pulled the financial plug to get the troops out.* And now we know, via Tony Snow, that this Administration is thinking of Iraq as Korea, where we've been for 50 years. And the only building project on time and under cost in Iraq is our own monstrosity of an American Embassy, 44 football fields big, or something like that. The powers that be in America obviously see us in Iraq for a long, long time.
Ugh. It makes me want to cry.
I think it was Ted Koppell's opinion piece on NPR that was taking Hillary Clinton to task recently. Apparently in the last debate she answered a question by saying that the "first thing" she would do as President is "get our troops out of Iraq." Koppell (or whoever it was) pointed out that she did NOT say she'd pull ALL of our troops out. And then he gave some background information justifying why he thought that her answer was less than straightforward. I'm so bad at remembering details, but it had to do with previous statements she has made regarding why U.S. presence in that part of the Middle East is in our "national interest."
Power does skew the view, and Clinton has been near the top of the power pyramid for a long time. Our presence in Iraq only creates more hatred, more fear, more violence, more terror--what could be less in our national interest than that?
*but with continuing huge amounts of aid and reconstruction money allocated