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POLITICS: I haven't used this weblog for politics in the past, for various reasons, but with the election coming up I can't help myself. Today's entry isn't going to be specifically about the election but it is about the ever present political topic of the war in Iraq. I was prompted by this entry on Sean Collins' weblog about a speech that Tony Blair gave about England's involvement in the war as well as various comments being made recently about Bush and his involvement that I'm sure everyone's aware of.

One of the things I'm sure the Bush administration will be pushing in the coming months, besides hiding behind 9/11 I mean, is that we were right to go into Iraq and free the citizens of that embattled country. Unlike a lot of self-proclaimed liberals I agree with that statement, but not with Bush. We should have gone into Iraq and should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, that I agree with. We should have also done it 10 years ago under Bush Sr. but he reneged on our commitments there, causing the deaths of many of our so-called friends in Iraq with our absence. So yes, I believe getting rid of Saddam was the Right Thing to do but what I cannot forgive is the way we went about it. Bush and his administration lied, there is very little dispute about that. They hid information, believed and distributed only selectively what they had to to bolster their case, and much else. Beyond the lying, even beyond the inexcusable behavior of using the deaths of 9/11 to get an excuse to do something you've been planning for years, the worst thing about the way the war was conducted was that the Bush Administration deprived the people of the US the opportunity to have a discussion about our place in the world of the 21st century.

If Bush had been honest about Iraq, we could have had a very valuable discussion about our role in the world. Coming out and telling people he had decided that we were going to go into Iraq and get rid of Saddam because it was the right thing to do and because Hussein had proved himself a monster over and over again with his own people would have made us face the dilemma of being the biggest kid on the playground. Are we going to use our size and strength to protect the other kids or not? It's an important question, one that needs to be looked at. People might not have agreed with him as wholeheartedly as they did when they wrapped the Terrorism label around it but it would have been a lot more honest. Instead, they used the War On Terror as an excuse, made up evidence of harm that could possibly come to US citizens and effectively said they don't care what was done to Iraqi citizens in the past, all that was important was possible danger to us. The message that when all Saddam was doing was gassing and maiming his own people he was fine, but as soon as we thought he might look our we had to step in is not the way to coexist in the world.

We are a superpower in a century that will probably become defined by micropowers, small groups with power conferred on them by technology and money. Either we can use our powers to help build a new world of safety for all or we can blunder around trying only to protect our own interests. We need to have this discussion or when it comes down to it, we will have no input into the world we're living in. It's clear we cannot count on Bush and his administration to have the vision needed in this new time in history.