If George Bush and Dick Cheney are “on track” in Iraq, then their goal must have been to help Al Qaida gain recruits, to create a breeding ground for terrorists, to generate hatred from the Arab world, to alienate our allies, and to mire America in a war that has cost us over 1,000 U.S. casualties, untold Iraqi civilian deaths, 14,000 wounded veterans and so far, $120 billion. We know that not only were there no WMD, there were no links between 911 and Saddam Hussein and no impending threat from Iraq. The Bush administration, chose to distort the evidence, deceive the American people, abandon diplomacy and inspections and, most immorally, to forfeit the lives of our brave young men and women and innocent Iraqis. The United States of America is now the occupier of a conquered and humiliated Arab nation, which plays precisely into the hand of Osama Bin Laden, who has predicted the occupation and religious oppression of an Arab nation by the west for over a decade. America is hated and Al Qaida recruits are burgeoning, with an estimated 18,000 in Iraq. Conceivably, if George W. knew his history we could have avoided this desperate and dangerous situation. The wholesale slaughter of Muslims during the Crusades has not been forgotten in the Islamic world. Nor the US/CIA overthrow of the fledgling democracy of Mossadegh in Iran and the placing of the Shah, nor WMD in Israel, nor the humiliating presence of American soldiers in Saudi Arabia. All to guarantee the continued flow of oil to America. The hypocrisy does not escape the Muslim world.This administration is unable to see beyond its own ideology – a fatal pitfall. They have created a “good vs. evil” stance. But the Arabs have evidence that it is us who are evil; all they have to do is revisit the photos from Abu Ghraib prison. This administration did not conceive of, nor have a plan to control, the inevitable chaos that would follow the collapse of Saddam Hussein. And now we have the blood of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians upon our hands. The insurgency is becoming more organized and effective every day. Attacks have increased to over 80 per day. It is now too dangerous for journalists, private contractors, the UN, Doctors without Borders, etc. to function in Iraq, let alone free and fair elections to occur. And Iran, a nation that actually is close to having nuclear weapons, is watching closely. They are seeing our vulnerabilities. George W. bypassed the real threats of Iran and North Korea, and has now spread our military too thin to accomplish the tasks truly needed to defeat terrorism. In the words of George Bush Sr., “Trying to eliminate Saddam … would have incurred incalculable human and political costs…,” “We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq…,” “There was no viable exit strategy…”Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations’ mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land.Incredibly, there were actual solutions to dissipating the terrorist threat to America. We needed to attack on several fronts:• By reducing our addiction to oil and aggressively moving towards alternative energy solutions we could begin to retreat from the Middle East.•By working unrelentingly on a solution between Israel and Palestine.•By getting our troops out of Saudi Arabia• By using the goodwill felt towards us worldwide after 9/11 to gain intelligence and cooperation in finding terrorists.An approach with the possibility of success required a president with vision and broad political, religious and historical understanding. Instead, Bush’s small minded, ideological war has entrenched and expanded terrorism and created a world far more dangerous for my children.The Islamic extremists have time on their side; they have nothing to lose – America does. Under this administration, dissent has been deemed unpatriotic. The Patriot Act is corroding the very foundation of our freedoms. Unconstitutionally, Americans and foreign nationals have been imprisoned for over three years with no evidence against them and no access to the law. Images of body bags returning from Iraq are censored. Uncommitted voters are removed from Bush rallies.Democracy is about dialogue and transparency. The secrecy and the oppression of opposing points of view by this administration is undemocratic. At this time, when fear is whipped up again and again to manipulate the population, we must remain vigilant and uphold the democratic foundation of our nation.Danae Anderson lives in Truckee.
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