Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mission Accomplished?

It was four years ago that President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier with the infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner and announced the end of major hostilities in Iraq. I remember the day exactly, I was over my folk’s house and we were discussing what the President had just done. I had hinted that it was for the upcoming election to be run as commercials with the President all decked out in his flight suit landing on the carrier. You know all the things he was suppose to do in the Guard and didn’t, but that is another story.

That was truly a Karl Rove moment. Everything appeared so rosy and bright for Iraq and for us. Unfortunately, it was exactly at the moment that we lost Iraq. It was at the height of their arrogance that the deal was sealed. Because they had not done their homework, which seems to be a recurring theme for the President, this administration believed and still does that liberation is about military force. Whoever has the most sophisticated weaponry and the most troops wins. Well, four years later we continue to pour in more sophisticated weaponry and more troops and we are no closer to accomplishing the mission.

Which leads me to a question that we should have asked four years ago, what was the mission? Was our mission to disarm Saddam of his “weapons of mass destruction”? Was our mission to enact regime change? Was our mission to liberate the Iraqi people? Was our mission to bring democracy to the Middle East? Was our mission to secure the rights to permanent military bases and oil concessions? What exactly was our mission Mr. President and what is our mission today?

Until we know what the mission is we cannot know if it has or will ever be accomplished. It appears right now that our main mission is to support our troops. Well, that to me is sort of like saying, “Do you support Iowa or Rhode Island?” The question or mission is not whether we support the troops; the question should be why our troops there are? By framing the question in patriotism this administration has framed the answer. If you want to control the answer you do it by the questions you allow to be asked.

If we really supported the troops we would want them to have a mission they can accomplish and a plan to get them home. At this time we have neither of those, but we support the troops. Because of the bullying tactics of this administration and the atmosphere of “McCarthyism” that they have created, they have in effect silenced all critics with the “unpatriotic or soft on terrorism” label. We, the people must rise above this demagoguery and foolish rhetoric and begin to hold this President accountable for this debacle. They have everyone afraid to admit that this mission is beyond our scope to repair. They say this is defeatist talk. They said the same things about Vietnam and all the rally behind the flag boys rhetoric did not change the circumstances on the ground. We are actually harming our troops and the Iraqi’s by prolonging this occupation. We cannot wait for this President to acknowledge he has made a mistake. This goes against everything he has shown us about his character. We have a better chance of pigs flying than for this President to admit he was wrong.

We are at a crossroads as a nation. We are at one of those pivotal moments in human history when we get to decide who we are as a nation and as a people. Do we believe in those principles we espouse? Continuing to support a failed policy based on lies is not patriotism, it is tyranny. Before we can teach others democracy maybe we should have a refresher course ourselves. We may not be able to save democracy in Iraq, but we can begin to save our democracy here in America. Let’s make that our mission for today.

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