Monday, July 30, 2007

Propaganda or Truth?

Those of you who watched last Monday's Democratic Presidential YouTube debates noticed that every potential candidate was quick to commend our troops while condemning the war. Only senile old coot/loose cannon Mike Gravel dared state that our troops were dying in vain. The truth of the matter is that Gravel is right and he could say it because he has nothing to lose.

My friend Judy's younger brother is fighting in Iraq right now as a sniper. She forwarded me this link.

Two Compassionate Soldiers Give Iraq Child Hope

You must understand that this is the sort of article I would never read. I don't trust anything the Department of Defense tells me and one of my most favorite bumper stickers is the one that states: Sure you can trust the Government. Just ask an Indian.

I think those of us on the anti-war left need to be very careful about how we condemn this War. It was founded on lies and cherry-picked intelligence, but if this article is to be believed, there is good happening in Iraq in spite of the base evil that characterizes our very presence in the region. But then again, I do believe that most peoples' nature is towards good, or at least towards what society deems as "good". It might be heartfelt or it might be obligatory, but that's the reason why, even in times of war, an enemy combatant will sneak across enemy lines to clandestinely assist a fallen foe.

When I was attending the Birmingham Unitarian church, a man rose during the Circle of Lights to express joy that the Iraqis had successfully undergone free elections for the first time in their history. He was greeted with an unpleasant silence and the unspoken disapproval of the rest of the Congregation. What he said took much courage. I'm not sure if I agree with him but you've got to admire someone who would take such a risk. I admit to being ambivalent about this subject. Wars are complex beasts. I think there beats inside the breasts of most Americans the hope that other countries in the world will be able to secure the same sort of liberties that we have the fortune of having and often take for granted. I'm not sure, however, that good intentions on the part of President Bush could ever make a country who has never tasted anything close to Democracy magically become one after one election. Democracy takes time and after all, the Democracy that we enjoy was a long time coming. The seeds of it were planted in the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. It took a long process of wars and 500 years of general evolution before the idea of Democracy had the support of most people.

I think it would be most unrealistic to expect that 500 years of evolution can be superseded and condensed into one year and one purple-thumbed election.

However, this is not to say that acts of common decency and kindness don't occur, even during unpardonable, totally unnecessary acts of combat. I firmly believe that evil and good are shades of grey and we must be careful not to resort to the same black and white viewpoint that George W. Bush and his neo-cons espouse.

1 comment:

DJD/Dave said...

Stories like that are encouraging. But you are right, they do not hide the other side of the war.

Democracy in Iraq, in the Middle East, will it work? I don't know. Though I've already said I support the war, I am also willing to admit that I think WE want Democracy in Iraq more than Iraqis want it. If they don't want it, it's not gonna happen.