I punched my vote in for everything from city council of my smallish 7,000 citizen strong city to the House of Representatives. Having done so, I performed an act that very few people in the course of human history - and today - have ever done. I'm special.
I got a card in the mail inviting me to a party tonight. Maybe I'll go. The last election night party I went to was Nov. 2000 and that party ended somewhat...inconclusively(?).The following is unedited for logic, clarity, or grammar. It's mostly a brain dump as I try to work out some of my opinions.
I posted yesterday about being seduced by George Bush. My mind is changing - or rather clearing - on Iraq. The one big question I have to ask myself is this:
"If - as a conservative - I know that Federal government programs can't win the war on poverty, the war on crime, or the war on drugs in our own country; if I know government is a lousy tool for solving social ills like sectarianism or racism; if I know that George Bush is simply talking out of his posterior when he says that "all human hearts yearn for freedom"; then why am I still supporting this here war as it is currently being fought?"
Look, any objective person will admit that government can't solve problems but usually makes them worst. Don't believe me? It's been working on racism, poverty, and drugs for a while, take a walk down the street named after Martin Luther King in any major city on a friday night.
As for the human heart yearning to breath free - bull. Most people yearn for the comforting cloak of dictatorship. Democracy is sloppy and unstable. Poeple like stability. They also like to step on the necks of their neighbors if given half the chance. Don't believe me? Read history.
George Bush seduced me.
Growing up in the early 80s I was a little too politically aware a little too early (read, dork). I remember feeling in my gut that Reagan was right. I hadn't read that much, but just...knew. I do remember "realists" - the GHW Bush, Scrowcroft, Kissinger camp - not liking Reagan's support for the Contras, or the Mujahadeans, or SDI. But most times Reagan had to go along with them. This meant supporting some bad people. "Our sons-of-bitches" as someone nicely said. This was done in the name of stability. The crowning achievement of that was the first gulf war - winning, but leaving Saddam in power and later the slaughter of the kurds and the southern Iraqis.
Liberals at this time were always chiding these Republican realists for amorally supporting these "sons-of-bitches". They were right. I was uncomfortable being on my side when it came to this. They wanted to undermine totalitarians - usually only right wing ones - and support democracy.
This is how GWB seduced me. I was charmed by the idea that we'd really build up a nice Iraqi democracy. A beacon of muslim hope to the rest of the cleptocracy, autocratic, theocratic middle east. This dream...this oasis of desire blinded me to one base facts: government's no good at doing what we're trying to do in Iraq.
William F. Buckley, George Will, and John Derbyshire of NRO have said this from the beginning. Why I didn't listen, I don't know.
The american revolution was a freak - some even say that usually only Anglo nations can have a stable democracy. Most revolutions don't end up like 1789 with a Madison designed Constitution lasting almost 250 years, but end up like the French Revolution - lawlessness, bloodletting, personal reprisals, the destruction of long-lasting institutions, and - finally - dictatorship.
So was going into Iraq wrong? No. Trying to rebuild it in some poli-sci class ideal was. Saddam needed ousting. He should be dead now. We needed to bust up that who damn place to let the world know that the holiday from history ( 1991- 2001) was over and we knew it. No need to rebuild. Let them all kill one another. Station troops along the border to keep the Iranians out, put a carrier group in the gulf, tell the Saudis to sod off, and, if the people choose, let the blood run. Maybe a Jefferson will rise from the sand - but most likely a Idi Amin will. If it's a jefferson, Allah be praised. If he's an Amin - make him ours. If he gets out of line - kill him; find another.
Colin Powell's Pottery Barn warning to Bush on Iraq "You break it, you bought it" is crap. If in 3 or 5 or 10 years, the Iraqis get out of line again, we smack them down again. Move all those troops from German into Iraq.
But us building a modern liberal democracy in the desert - a mirage.
George Bush seduced me with hopes of doing something noble. Of doing something romantic. But the human condition is still the human condition - that's conservatism. The war was neither liberal or conservative - but right. The rebuilding is too bleeding heart.
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