Tuesday, August 02, 2005

More on Iraq (Now with Added Bush)

As long as I'm in this mood, there are a few other things about the Iraq War on the Internet of interest.

1. As it must come to all U.S. Presidents, except Bill Clinton it seems, George W. Bush's popularity has taken a downturn. At fifty-three percent, it appears that Bush has hit the "magic" point where at least half the country admits that they disapprove of the job the president is doing. In and of itself, that's pretty gutsy considering the Patriot Act was renewed. During the last election, I believed Bush was beatable; heck, let's face it and admit that he lost the election to Gore; so it is no surprise to me that things have gone down for the man. Calling on the Lord and demeaning people who actually think really can only get you so far when a person is losing friends and relatives in a war in the wrong country declared for the wrong reasons. However, I'll bet the slow recovery of the economy and his continual push of a revamped Social Security can't be helping. As a wiser person said, "All politics is local."

2. On the same note, according to another CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll from last week, fifty-one percent of the people asked doubt the United States will succeed in Iraq. (Poll: USA doubts Iraq success, but not ready to give up.) As the headline shows, we still seem to have a schizophrenc vision, admitting we succeed, but not ready to admit defeat. Not wanting to bring it up again, I still feel that those too young or too old to remember need to research the mood of the country during Vietnam. We stayed much longer than we should have there, I think, out of pride and we need to avoid doing that again.

Of course, I know that we are stuck there now. You can't do what we did and then leave the country without some sort of stability. Carlin said it years ago, that's what we, we go into a country "and throw a little democracy on them." Unfortunately, this time it looks like it isn't going to stick, so we're stuck.

3. But are we? There was talk last week that we might actually have a plan to withdraw from Iraq in the works, but that has been denied this week. While I would like a withdrawal of troops, I don't think it'll happen until we are closer to the 2008 elections. Am I too cynical.

4. Speaking of cost, common thought has it that a war leads to a booming economy. This article, provides a different view. For this site provides a running total for the war, while this one provides how much it has cost your particular area of the country 6 and if your area isn't specifically listed, a by-state view may be found here. (Thanks to Mark Evanier and his always interesting blog, News From Me, found on his information packed site, POV Online.

5. Speaking of cost, whenever you or someone you know starts talking about "acceptable losses," go to The Washington Post's Faces of the Fallen site. As of this post, 1801 people in the military have died in Iraq, though the Post site only goes through July 19, 2005, so it only records 1770.

6. To see the true character of this administration, I think Bush's behind-the-Senate's-back appointment of John Bolton yesterday sums it up: If it can't get its way openly, it'll do it behind closed doors. I don't think Bush supporters can ever really bring up Clinton's last-minute executive orders anymore. When you point at someone, three point back toward you and all that.

7. Speaking of character, the PBS show Frontline ran an episode dealing with Bush's Christian agenda entitled "The Jesus Factor." If you haven't watched it yet, it is available at the previous link for streaming. In all honesty, I generally have little opinion as to who is president because I believe that whoever is in office is going to bring his own personal harm to the country one way or the other. With Clinton, it was pushing through NAFTA; with Bush . . . well, with Bush, I wish it was only something like NAFTA. However, even without the war and the lying to go to war and the misdirection of blame for the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush's overt born-again ideals would be of concern for me.

Mind you, I don't necessarily believe it when a politician discusses religion he or she believes it; he's playing to the perceived rubes in many cases. Bush, however, really does appear to believe it and this show presents how that is affecting his administration. Worst, I think, are the people in the administration who are playing to the rubes for they are the ones doing the worst damage, gutting programs that help the underprivileged and the enviroment. Playing to the people who believe that the Rapture is so close that Gabriel is tuning his trumpet, and that those people will be "going home," Bush officials allow natural resources to be wasted or protective enviromental measures to be rolled back under a veil of obligation as Christians to leave nothing of use behind for the Anti-Christ and those LEFT BEHIND. That many of those officials are also making money with these policies highlights scripture also: "God helps those who help themselves."

8. Finally, and the think I really hate because so many of the things I enjoy are potentially affected by it, the Congress voted to make permanent much of the Patriot Act. While I understand that in times of war or dangerous conditions this country loves the knee-jerk reaction, from the Sedition Act to the federal interment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II, one still would hope that as this nation becomes more mature, the people and the people in charge would see that it is important to have faith in the Constitution and its principles especially during times of crisis, but I guess the Constitution only comes to play when it supports your position. It is a cliche, but Benjamin Franklin's quote, "Any society that gives up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety," stays with me a lot.

By the way, for as long as I live in Wisconsin, Senator Russ Feingold, the only person in the Senate to vote against the Patriot Act the first time, will always have my vote.