October 2, 2006

Iraq: Staying the Course at Our Peril

According to the Bush administration and their official public relations machine, the army of pundits employed by Fox News, it is wrong to criticize the war in Iraq. Criticizing the war is unpatriotic, they claim, and comforts our enemy. We are supposed to forget that each of the reasons offered for invading Iraq has been shown to be false and that Bush has consistently misled the American people. We are expected to excuse the administration for "intelligence failures" and simply trust them to represent our interests abroad. Most of all, we are not supposed to question the flawed ideology which led the neocons to seek this war in the first place.

Recent moves by the neocons are showing that they are about as American as McCarthy. This is not the America most citizens envision. The denial of habeas corpus, preemptive war in the name of American imperialism, consistent denial of the scientific consensus that global warming is real, and efforts to infuse Christianity into the public square are blatantly un-American. It is because we love America that we cannot stand for this.

Describing a recent radio address by the president, the Associated Press reports that Bush "...argued that critics are wrongheaded to argue for a different policy in Iraq..." Does he see this as an effective political strategy, or does he actually believe this?

Clearly, critics would be wrong to criticize a highly effective set of policies, so the question that follows naturally is whether Bush's Iraq policies are effective. This is not a question that can be conclusively answered by the average American citizen. We must rely on those who have access to information which has been withheld from the public. A logical source would be our own intelligence agencies. However, we know that they are prone to disagreement and cannot be expected to reach consensus on something this complicated, right? Wrong. There is now consensus among American intelligence agencies, in the form of the National Intelligence Estimate, that the war in Iraq is making terrorism worse and increasing the likelihood of future attacks. To dismiss this sort of consensus report is a mistake. The situation in Iraq is getting worse.

The administration is doing their best to make politicians who speak out against the war pay a price. According to Tammy Duckworth, a veteran of Iraq who is now running for Congress in Illinois, "Anyone who challenges our failed policies, or suggests the need for a new strategy, is accused of 'cutting and running'...I believe the brave men and women who are serving in Iraq today, their families and the American people deserve more than the same empty slogans and political name-calling." Yep. What is more American that openly speaking one's mind without fear of retribution? We who speak out are exercising our freedom; those in the administration who are desperate to silence us have turned their backs on America.

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