Monday, June 18, 2007


By Ivan G. Goldman
Take a serious look at this administration’s announced goal of creating a secure democracy in Iraq. It means that at some point the balance scale will reveal -- Eureka, everything’s hunky dory over there -- and we may exit as proud victors.
Precisely where is that point? When the murders and kidnapping stop? Because people get bumped off or kidnapped once in awhile even in relatively peaceful cities like Copenhagen. Does Baghdad have to become another Copenhagen? Or should we settle, say, for Los Angeles, which has about 950 homicides a year? Obviously we can’t hold out for perfection. But how much distance from perfection is the Bush brain trust willing to settle for?
Moving on to the goal of democracy, you’ll find another amorphous goal, and one that has arguably been met already. Iraq has an elected government. It’s not functioning like a Lexus, but the fact that there was some kind of election creating this Parliament is in fact evidence of democracy, precisely as Bush, Inc. claimed after the voting took place. But that wasn’t enough for our wartime president. Clearly he’s bent on the country having a good elected government. Define good.
In our own country we have a Louisiana congressman recently caught with $90,000 in his freezer, indicating perhaps we don’t have a perfectly functioning democracy. Go back a little further and you find we had two presidential elections in a row decided under less than perfect electoral circumstances (See Florida in 2000, Iowa in 2004). Should the rest of NATO send over an armada to repair American democracy?
This mission that Bush, Inc. spelled out for Iraq was never more than a quicky excuse it came up with when the original announced purposes were proved false. Security and democracy sounded to the war’s creators like good substitutes to fill in for nonexistent WMD programs and nonexistent ties to al-Qaeda while they held on to the oilfields and Bush settled his personal daddy business with Saddam.
Now we have 155,000 troops over there on a snipe hunt so a pack of liars can try to prove it’s not a pack of liars. Everyone who’s been to summer camp understands a snipe hunt. You send new kids out in the forest with sacks and tell them to come back with some snipes, and all of them are too embarrassed to admit they don’t know what a snipe is (it isn’t anything).
It’s hard to believe our country has continued on this loony road to nowhere for more than four years. Under any sane system, Bush, Cheney et al would have been kicked out of office long ago and be writing their memoirs in prison.
Yet when you look at the words of presidential candidates in both major parties, just about none of them will provide a clear-cut statement that he or she will stop hunting snipes -- certainly none of the “major” candidates. To find someone who makes such a flat declaration you have to dig down to smaller players like Dennis Kucinich, who’s been deemed non-presidential by Big Media and Big Election Money.
So the snipe hunt continues. Democracy and security. You know, we could use some of that ourselves.

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