2006: A Very Bad Year
cross-posted on Huffington Post\’s \”Fearless Voices\”
\”There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the
truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each one differently.\”
– Robert Evans
If I were to write my personal reflections on the year I have had this would
be a very different story. However, doing what I do, that is writing, talking
and analyzing politics, foreign policy and military issues, I can hardly write
about how much we as a people and country have accomplished. I can\’t think about
2006 without being bombarded by pictures of soldiers hung out to dry in Iraq.
The hanging of Saddam Hussein doesn\’t make the scenario play out any brighter
either, no matter that he was a murderous thug of a man. All I can come up with
is, Where is Osama bin Laden? Followed by something that haunts me,
Will we still be in Iraq this time next year? And I\’m not talking a
protection force, which will be needed for many years to come, but troops in
the tens of thousands. The only answer that follows is yes. It fills
me with dread that the Congress we just elected won\’t have the courage to do
what we must. Get out of Iraq. The obvious follows: Will We the People provide
the courage Congress lacks? Many thought the November elections did just
that, but Mr. Bush, still the commander in chief, has a mandate all of his own.
As Mr. Bush winds down his presidency, one thing is very clear. It\’s now about
his legacy, which means only one thing. Hanging on in Iraq long enough to pass
his Iraqi plan of preemption on to the next president so he can say the fight
is righteous and goes on. That\’s where Robert Evans\’ quote comes in. Mr. Bush
will have \”liberated the Iraqis,\” captured Saddam Hussein and allowed
\”justice to be done\” through the Iraqi\’s new judicial system, as well
as given rise to a new \”democracy\” in the Middle East.
Memories shared serve each of us differently.
Historians will eventually write their side of the Iraq story; no doubt, with
some capitulating to Mr. Bush\’s purpose.
It remains to be seen what our part in this tale will be, which will manifest
through the Congress we elected. Our tale is their tale. We are inextricably
linked. The only thing standing between our commander in chief and the desert
abyss is a wilful Congress that has the courage to do whatever it takes to end
the war in Iraq and our enabling of it. But again, it\’s We the People who stand
behind and make the will of Congress manifest.
There will be at least three sides to the Iraq war story. Mr. Bush\’s, the progressive
argument that won out in November 2006, and history\’s truth. It\’s not about
lying, that is, not until the investigations roll out and we find what a fraud
our mission was from the start. But that also depends on the will of Congress
to do their job. The chapter of this plot right now is about serving Mr. Bush\’s
legacy. Otherwise, why would we be waiting around for his foreign policy paralysis
to unfreeze and unfold out on to a new plan, which is sounding more and more
like \”stay the course,\” with escalation on the side, as our
military are once again drafted into more calamity at the U.S. commander in
chief\’s hand? Our part in this play is simple. It all revolves around our fearlessness
to buck the ghosts of Vietnam and refuse to believe that getting out of Iraq
shows weakness. It will take tremendous strength, purpose and courage to turn
the United States around. What we do starting in January 2007 will illustrate
if we are a nation of cowards or have the courage of our Founders. Historians
will write the rest.
In the end, our memories may serve us and salve our souls differently, as well
as protect the American fiction on preemption, but the truth of Iraq will be
there to haunt us forever.