Monday, July 19, 2004

Blood, sweat and tears

Copeland laments that neither of the two major candidates for president, nor their partisans, have done a good job of clearly articulating their positions on the most pressing issues, particularly the tenuous situation in Iraq. It got me thinking about the war, and led me to conclude that what I find most distressing about our current political climate is that none of our leaders are brave enough to ask the American people to make any kind of sacrifice--except our civil liberties, of course, but that's another story for another rant. What did President Bush and Vice President Cheney tell us would happen when our troops marched into Baghdad? Why, they would be greeted as liberators, of course. Did the administration really believe this? Was their ignorance of history so willful that they didn't understand that we might be viewed as conquerors no matter how vile the regime we replaced, or that the chaos we would unleash might be even worse? Perhaps. Or did they believe that they wouldn't be able to shanghai Congress and the American people into supporting an unnecessary war unless we were convinced it would be easy? It reminds me of something my fifth-grade teacher used to say: Nothing hard is ever easy. If it isn't worth sacrifice, it probably isn't worth doing.

On the other hand, it would be nice if, when he was asked what he would do in Iraq, John Kerry could say, "I wish I didn't have to do anything, but since President Bush got us into this mess..." But he can't preface his plan with that remark, because he--and his running mate--voted to give the president the authority to go to war. He can talk all he wants about being misled, but he's a big boy, with a Yale degree and everything, and besides, a lot of us didn't believe what the president was telling us even before we knew it was a load of dung. Kerry just didn't have the guts to take a principled but politically risky stand.

So this is our choice, ladies and gentleman. A president too arrogant and stubborn to admit he's made a mistake, and a challenger too afraid to make one.

Oh yeah, and Ralph Nader.


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