Friday, June 24, 2005

Damage Control

What a quagmire we find ourselves in. I'm talking about Iraq of course, but also this nation. After being blind-sided by 9/11, we as a nation allowed ourselves to be lead into a war that was both dishonest and unwinnable, and in the wake left by the tsunami that is the war in Iraq, we are a nation so divided, so conflicted, that hope seems as lost as the battle we are fighting.

Over a glass of wine tonight, Bubba and I glanced at the war report that shows an ever increasing number of casualties of the armed forces who are fighting this battle for us. 3 a day (not as many as the 3 a minute who die in Africa from poverty-related issues, but I digress) and this does not take into consideration the number of long-term wounded who will never recover from the effects of this war (see seriously), nor the Iraqis who have suffered and died.

Paul Krugman would like us to discuss the reasons we went to war in the first place. Many other would like us to start working on an exit strategy. The administration asks us to "stay the course". Our elected leaders are waging a war of rhetoric, each calling for the other to apologize or resign for their latest hyperbole. And in the meantime, more soldiers and Iraqis die, more terrorists are born (trained by the so-called insugents in Iraq) and the war goes on.

I'm a pacifist; I seldom agree with others' reasons to go to war. Bubba is a realist; he accepted the need to wage war in Afganistan (if we had only stayed the course there). But what has happened in Iraq, what is still happening and will continue for generations to come, is just wrong.

What is equally wrong is what is happening in this country. I'm too young to know what it was like during WWII, Korea or Vietnam. I'm sure there were people who called for war's end then, and others who fought equally as hard for a victorious finale, but in the end our democracy survived. Will we survive this time. At this point damage control will begin when we stop looking for a win situation and start thinking about what our democracy really means. We the people...


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Saving Public Broadcasting

You can always count on Bill Moyers to say the right things in the right way at the right time. Read the words and then call your congressman. It may be the most meaningful thing you do all day.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The New Iraq

As this is all over the news today, it seems like too easy a target. Tom DeLay, our fearless House Majority Leader, likens life in Iraq to living in Houston:

"You know, if Houston, Texas were held to the same standard as Iraq is held to, nobody would go to Houston, because all this reporting coming our of the local press in Houston is violence, murders, robberies, deaths on the highways.

And if you took that as the image of what is a great city that has an incredible quality of life and an incredible economy, it is amazing to me.

Go to Iraq. And see what is actually happening there.
everybody that comes from Iraq is amazed at the difference of what they see on the ground and what they see on the television set."

In response to Mr. DeLay's utopian image of Iraq, I give you - Today in Iraq, Iraq Occupation Watch, and Baghdad Burning. If anything like this were happening anywhere in the United States, it would be called the worst acts of terrorism on US soil since this country's inception. Houston metropolitan area is around five million people, about the same as Greater Baghdad. Today in Baghdad, multiple car bombs killed 30 people wounded 60 more. If this were happening in Houston, what do you think Mr. DeLay's constituency would be doing right now? And if the local press did not report on the situation, what would they say to their beloved leader and to the world? Good call Tom, our quality of life is incredible, no worries. Good decision Houston Chronicle and local network TV affiliates, reporting on the death and destruction could hurt tourism and ruin our incredible economy, stay the course!

Riverbend, of Baghdad Burning hits the nail on the head:

"What people find particularly frustrating is the fact that while Baghdad seems to be falling apart in so many ways with roads broken and pitted, buildings blasted and burnt out and residential areas often swimming in sewage, the Green Zone is flourishing. The walls surrounding restricted areas housing Americans and Puppets have gotten higher- as if vying with the tallest of date palms for height. The concrete reinforcements and road blocks designed to slow and impede traffic are now a part of everyday scenery- the road, the trees, the shops, the earth, the sky? and the ugly concrete slabs sometimes wound insidiously with barbed wire price of building materials has gone up unbelievably, in spite of the fact that major reconstruction has not yet begun. I assumed it was because so much of the concrete and other building materials was going to reinforce the restricted areas. A friend who recently got involved working with an Iraqi subcontractor who takes projects inside of the Green Zone explained that it was more than that. The Green Zone, he told us, is a city in itself. He came back awed, and more than a little bit upset. He talked of designs and plans being made for everything from the future US Embassy and the housing complex that will surround it, to restaurants, shops, fitness centers, gasoline stations, constant electricity and water- a virtual country inside of a country with its own rules, regulations and government. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Republic of the Green Zone, also known as the Green Republic."

Tom DeLay sees only the Green Zone, and pretends that it represents what is going on in the rest of Iraq.

In a lot of ways the Green Republic exemplifies what Bush and the Conservative Christian Right are creating here in the United States as well. If you are one of the chosen, life is beautiful, undisturbed by the problems in the economy like the growing deficit and unemployment, the housing bubble and soaring gasoline prices, the healthcare crisis and growing class and income inequities. They condemn the press for reporting negative news or problems, ignore the voices of the unrepresented and underserved, and when one day violence breaks out in Houston on the scale of Baghdad today, they will send in the National Guard to quell the violence and wonder how everything went so terribly wrong. Maybe we are living in the New Iraq and just don't know it yet.