So here it is. I had a moment of clarity this morning and finished writing this letter to my representatives in Washington DC. I have been putting it off knowing that any argument I made could so easily be torn apart by lawyers and thus made ineffectual. I have no money to lobby, nor an affiliation with any lobby groups (who I believe are the ones who truly run our country). But I’ve decided to h*ll with it. I’m going to say my piece and if no one listens, at least I’ve done my part and said it. I wish I had something to say about Israel and Palestine, but I just don’t know what position I think the U.S. should take. I just know that the support I felt for Israel in the 80s and 90s has completely faded. And no offense honey, but knowing that you are not here to play devil’s advocate with the points I do or don’t make is probably helping me to actually make this public. I’m posting it here because it is an open letter to my government, and I will be snail-mailing copies to the appropriate state and federal democrats.
“NO WAR, NO BUSH” scream the protest posters in Europe. The Anti Third Term Amendment guarantees the latter, but what are the Democrats willing to do about the former? Election year is fast approaching and I am tempted to make an Independent or Green protest vote because of their parties’ commitment to ending the war/occupation in Iraq. What are you, as a Democrat, willing to do to create a platform that will ensure my Democratic vote? I want my representatives in D.C. to find a workable, reasonable plan to stop the war in Iraq and to work together to prepare a candidate who will work to put that plan into action.
So what are Democratic policy makers going to do about it? Arguing about who did or didn’t lie about the reasons for invading Iraq won’t stop any terrorists or save any soldiers or civilians. Truth is we’ve smashed open the hornet’s nest (like the think-tanks predicted in 2002) and we’re stuck in the resulting quagmire (what do we really know about the needs and desires of that part of the world?). Governance by what we see as religious leaders is the choice of the Iraqi people. Like it or not, this is a predominantly Islamic region, and religion and politics are bound together in Islam. It’s none of our business if we don’t like it and it’s not our place to superficially impose our choices on another country (unless of course, we are an Imperialist occupying force and we view Iraq as our colony…) As we have seen, that merely breeds contempt and hatred and thus, more violence. What I want to see is policy makers, and the lobbyists who support them, tackle the more difficult task of finding a solution to get our selfless men and women out of Iraq. As I see it, the U.S. has already tossed aside it’s historical white hat, lost face, and lost it’s standing as a super power in the eyes of the world. Let’s eat some crow, admit we were wrong (and I mean we because the majority DID vote for George W. Bush in 2004) and cut our losses.
“Our strategy in Iraq is clear,” Bush said. “Our tactics are flexible and dynamic. We have changed them as conditions required and they are bringing us victory against a brutal enemy.” In my opinion, this is as clear as mud. Flexible and dynamic sounds like doublespeak for “we don’t know what we’re doing, so we’ll just keep adapting as we meet new needs.” The current stated end goal is, “a free and peaceful Iraq living in peace with its neighbors and no longer hospitable to terrorists” says Gen. Peter Pace. Again doublespeak. This is an unattainable goal which just gives the U.S. government the loophole to stay in Iraq as long as they want and never actually define any goals. I would like to see the next administration make better, more accurate use of the doctrine Caspar Weinberger set out in 1984. The current goals are lacking in the capacity that Weinberger requests in points #2 and #3 of his doctrine: (2) U.S. troops should only be committed wholeheartedly and with the clear intention of winning. Otherwise, troops should not be committed. (3) U.S. combat troops should be committed only with clearly defined political and military objectives and with the capacity to accomplish those objectives. This war had a beginning, is caught in the middle, but has no clearly defined objectives for defining “winning” or an end-state for the war. If the Democrats can pull together to create a platform with a reasonable and attainable end to the American occupation of Iraq I would willingly vote Democratic.
What else do I, as an American citizen want? I want less money to go to financing the rebuilding of foreign nations so that it may be redirected to the rebuilding of our poverty and disaster-stricken areas here in the United States. I want affordable health care for all citizens, not just the wealthiest. I want our soldiers removed from the stranglehold of the Iraqi occupation so that they may be available to fight more clearly defined battles, should they arise. I want our schools to spend their money and energies teaching facts, not fighting legal battles over faith. I want to be able to bring my children back to a United States of which I can be proud, not embarrassed.
Thank you for your service to our Republic.
Kristin La Flamme