My Country, Right Or Wrong?

A pretty serious thought for this blog - but hey... there's more to me than silly stories and self-contemplation...

I was reading CNN today & can't help worrying about what will come of the day's big story: Video shows beheading of American captive in Iraq.

Outrage is definitely called for today as we learn of an American citizen being beheaded in Iraq. But let's make sure we don't become the reason another American gets beheaded tomorrow. This is not a time for flag-waving. It is a time for difficult questions and analysis. If it was "mission accomplished" over a year ago, then why is the situation only worsening today? More Americans were killed in April alone than during the entire supposedly-accomplished-mission... and May isn't looking good. Why should anyone expect June to be any better? What about June 2005?

Two immediate thoughts come to mind:


We frown upon radicalism in other countries, and yet all too often, we champion it here. Conservatives congratulate Bush as he tells outright lies. Liberals did the same when Clinton Lied. The same happened in the Reagan era. And the Carter years.

I find that liberal/conservative polarization inspires more of my pity than respect. It's sad when someone limits him or herself to one half of the endless possibilities that exist for conflict resolution due to party affiliation or a silly label. It's downright sad.

Radicalism comes in many forms. The idea of "my country right or wrong" is both radical and dangerous. I dare say it is more traitorous than patriotic because it does the country more harm than good. Bad ideas are like a cancer, and a body that gives in to cancer dies. A true patriot is one who stands up and cries foul when his or her country is in the wrong in an effort to help make the country better.

Judging the Arab world as a problem is one area where our country is wrong. As we falter in Iraq, those who would like to question our motives are given plenty of reason to do so. We are turning the entire Arab world into a problem for us... a problem of our own making.

It is undeniable that the Arab world harbors more ill feelings for us today than they did four years ago. Clearly, something is wrong.


It is said that no single raindrop thinks it is to blame for the flood. Similarly, our politicians aren't addressing how going to war without a plan regarding what to do after the battle has led to a lack of leadership in places like - oh, I dunno - the Abu Ghraib prison? ...and Najaf?

Reports are surfacing that as many as 90% of the detainees were incarcerated mistakenly. That's a pretty big raindrop. But we're not outraged by this because they're not our citizens.

When will human beings learn that each action causes a reaction?

When will human beings learn that there's more to a story than the final page?

We need to start asking ourselves: what has led to such American hatred in the Arab world? What can we do to improve relations for the sake of our own safety and security for generations to come?

This problem wasn't created in 2003 when we went to war against Iraq. Even early in his presidency, George Bush wanted to wage war against Iraq at the expense of more pressing international problems such as North Korea, Iran, and possibly the largest problem of all - Al Qaeda. 9/11 should have focussed our attention on Al Qaeda as our number one issue. But we lost our focus after Afghanistan. How sad. In the end, we've created more of an Al Qaeda breeding ground now than ever before - and not just in Iraq. That is clearly a failure of leadership here at home.

How did this happen? And more importantly, how can we avoid making that mistake again in future conflicts?

I'm sure some follow the conservative agenda religiously and would read much of this post as blasphemy, assuming that I am some sort of tree-hugging-pacifist. I am not. I simply can't help wondering how much success we could have had if we'd dedicated the billions of dollars and massive military manpower we're spending in Iraq, instead using it to fight Al Qaeda.

Even more important than showing the terrorists we are united, we should be showing the world we are a friend rather than a foe. Otherwise, we create more terrorists that we then have to show we are united against. It's an ugly cycle that we'd damn well better not fall into.

...or have we already?

::::: | Tuesday, May 11 2004 at 2:40 PM
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P. Villa said:

When right to keep it right, when wrong to set it right. Right?

"The fear of doing right is the grand treason in times of danger." - Henry Ward Beecher, 1887

::::: | December 8, 2004 6:48 PM

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