Monday, January 24, 2005

The short view versus the long haul – Part I

Over the last few years, the various random and seemingly chaotic thoughts of where we are going in this society have occasionally rambled through my grey matter. The results, while the judges and jury both are out, show some alarming patterns, that all link back to short term thinking. Once again, I’ll call on a quote from Patrick Henry to preface what follows: “There is but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.” I’ll start with the nay saying about Iraq. Yes, I’m biased about not losing the advantage after losing 1300 lives of our military. Having volunteered in 1972, the year after the draft was abolished, I was one of the many who began the “volunteer” force. There have been millions of volunteers before me, but upon my entry, there were no more men being absorbed into the service against their will. I spent the next 23 years and 9 months sewing this country. I‘m biased in my thoughts that the U.S. Military has been well used in keeping the level of violence down on the face of the planet. Why is there so much resistance to establishing a democracy in Iraq? I’m baffled by all at this effort to derail an opportunity for another sovereign nation to taste what so often we now take for granted. On one hand, I can comprehend why a small group of individuals (their religious connection not even really being factored in in my opinion) who have made their overly posh lifestyle by taking advantage of the masses, are so desperate to stop this move towards individual freedom. They do not want to be held accountable for suppressing the basic dignity of people. From that stand point, I can almost give them some degree of respect, in that they have some logic to support their actions, flawed as it may be. On the other hand, those who consider themselves “liberals,” are the very ones who will be quick to tell anyone how they are for supporting human rights, both real, perceived and even concocted ones. They claim a party name of “Democrats.” They are also the ones to demand that we abandon the Iraqi people the few who have held positions of power in a very brutal manner, and even as I write this, are demonstrating they are willing to continue to retain this form of oppression of the masses. Where are the voices of these who decry the abuse of the proletariat? Is it just because the Islamic rulers claim their power of control is due to a religious foundation, and not due to economics? Can they not see it is the same selfish desire at the core of the issue? We are at a point in time, where it is much like 1945. It takes little mental agility to survey history and realize two brutal dictatorships, full of aggression and national selfishness, were defeated and are now peaceful and democratic as a result of the shedding of blood on both sides. Did this happen over might? No. Did this happen because as soon as the instruments of surrender were signed, we instantly brought all our troops home? No. So you’d like to say we got lucky? What do you have to say about the aftermath of the end of the Cold War, effectively in 1989? If memory serves me correctly, a great deal of peace broke out in Eastern Europe since then. Not only did it happen in the former Soviet buffer states, who regained their national identities, but within Russia, as well. While Ruskin has some military power, they no longer are the threat to World peace they were for about 49 years. In addition to being peaceful, they are also democratic, where the citizens now have a voice. We left the 20th Century with about 160 democracies; we entered it with about 100. Applying statistical analysis at a very basic level says that’s a 60% increase. In this century, Afghanistan has been added to the list. From a standpoint of a “vote count,” I’d say the majority chooses democracy. Who are we to presume the Iraqis don’t want it? Notice how quiet it has been in Afghanistan? To finalize this post, I ask rhetorically, why can’t we use our experience of the past, specifically the aftermath of WWII and the Cold War, to see the expansion of democracy is a move that is for the betterment of all mankind?

No comments: