We Are Better Than This: Part I
Losing Our Way
Somewhere along the way, we, as a people, have managed to get ourselves lost. We have forgotten who we are, and where we came from. One look around, and the point becomes crystal clear. We have allowed apathy to permeate our collective soul, and it strengthens its grip on us every day that goes by. We have stuck our heads in the sand and allowed incompetent politicians to run our great civilization into the ground, often with complete impunity. This destructive process began after the 2nd World War, but has truly gained momentum in the last decade. Whether it is foreign policy, domestic policy, human rights, or economic policy, the quality of leadership has been awful, if not criminal. Guess who is to blame? We, the people, that’s who. But we can begin to fix it, if we work together. It seems nobody wants to talk about this, but maybe it is time we had the conversation.
Nation Building and Other Misguided Adventures
Ever since 9/11, we have embraced the mindset that the use of force should come first, and that belief has been one our greatest downfalls. Military force should be used on occasion, but not when our decision-making process is being heavily influenced by emotions. Case in point: The Iraq War. The decision to invade Iraq has been deemed by many historians, foreign policy experts, and military advisors to be one of the greatest blunders in our nation’s history. Iraq was not harboring terrorists, nor was it building nukes, nor was it behind 9/11 as many, including the Secretary of State and the President at the time, wanted to believe. More importantly, Iraq was not a threat to the security of the United States. In fact, Iraq served as an important buffer between Iran and Israel, both of whom would love to tear the other apart, destabilizing the region in the process. Saddam may have been a pain in the ass, but his existence served a vital role in the region. Knocking him off created a power vacuum, which was filled by several extremist groups, including Hezbollah. On top of destabilizing the region, we tied up a large portion of our military force strength in the theater, leaving Afghanistan nearly void of U.S forces at a time when we needed to put more boots on the ground. Again, the fault is ours, as a people, for allowing sub-standard leadership to control the situation. The really sad part, aside from the thousands of troops who needlessly gave their lives, is the fact that the President who pursued the war campaigned on a “No Nation Building” platform. Guess we all forgot about that…..
“We Don’t Torture”
Yes, we do. Simulated drowning, or water-boarding, is torture, and I don’t really care how our former Attorney General spins it. Inflicting intentional pain and misery on another human being is not only wrong, it is un-American. Not only is it wrong, but no credible information ever comes from it. Western civilization has known this for nearly a thousand years, but we still continue to do it, rationalizing to ourselves that it might just prevent one more death. Even if it did, it is still wrong. Sleep deprivation, starvation, and long period of darkness are all forms of torture, and they simply do nothing more than embolden the enemies of the United States. If you read the heavily redacted reports, good intelligence came from treating prisoners like human beings, rather than by torturing them. Again, we allowed this to happen. Our silence was tacit approval, and we should be ashamed of ourselves for it.
America is still the greatest game in town, and we enjoy a standard of living that is unsurpassed on the globe. We enjoy a relatively free and safe living environment, rarely tainted by widespread violence. Our military is the greatest force ever assembled, and we possess technologies that cannot be matched. We should never lose sight of the positive elements of our great society, but we must look at our mistakes and address them honestly and openly. We are still making poor decisions, and it is our responsibility to correct them for the future generations.