Holy Mother of God (Oct. 2003)

I’ve made it a point to wake up at 5:30 every morning this week just so I could see the BBC news on PBS, because American news just annoys me. I don’t do soundbites and I don’t do annoying computer graphics at the bottom of the screen and I don’t do ticker tape like CNN. However, BBC News is much, much bloodier. I have seen with my own eyes the destruction that is happening while we attempt to fix our oops in Iraq.

But it has never affected me in an emotional way until today, when I heard this: the Red Cross is thinking about pulling out of Iraq altogether because they can’t be guaranteed safety. They do not want to work, and rightfully so, with hundreds of American troops standing guard. They also do not want to work with the threat of friendly fire or groups of angry Iraqis threatening to tear down their base of operations.

The concept of the Red Cross leaving innocent people, both civillian and military, both Iraqi and American, because of the mess that has been created is the lump in my throat and the stinging in my eyes.

In terms of the Iraq concept in general, I am caught in an ideological chasm. On one hand, overthrowing Saddam Hussein and then leaving the Iraqi military (such as it is) to figure things out sounds like cruel and unusual punishment. On the other, the fact that we’ve managed to fuck up their country so badly that even the Red Cross doesn’t want to do medical and social work there doesn’t mean that we will be forgiven if we try to fix the problem. I’m not sure that being forgiven is what Shrub had in mind, but still… On the world stage, there are no do-overs. You don’t get a clean slate just because you helped fix something you mangled into non-recognition in the first place. It might actually help Shrub to remember this: in the game of politics, everything is so broad and so deep that it’s always “for keepsies.”

I feel hoodwinked. As a political science major, I tend to align myself with issues I believe in rather than individual candidates. So I gave Shrub the benefit of the doubt. I thought that he would be able to do some good if he stuck to the political strategy he campaigned on… hiring the best and the brightest minds to help him because he was smart enough to know his own limitations. And now, one of two things is happening: 1) Shrub’s idea of the best and the brightest has little experience with the subject at hand 2) Groupthink has taken over at 1600, and a clusterfuck has ensued.

Perhaps it’s a combination of both.

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