Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Iraq: the material condition

Juan Cole has an article at Salon, Iraq's worst week--and Bush's, assessing the perilous condition of Iraq. The one easy step the U. S. could take to alleviate the suffering of Iraqis is withdrawing its troops from the country. Some might it consider it unethical, but that is to strain the meaning of ethical beyond comprehension.

The material conditions of people make up a significant part of their well being. The occupation destroys those conditions. Abstract phrases such as "freedom and democracy" do not mean anything when your life and few worldly possessions are at risk each day. Even a rogue and villain conceals himself in the rhetoric of freedom and democracy.

The U. S. would not be in Iraq if there had been anything close to a nuanced discussion of ethics or the political reality of Iraq. Those who made nuanced assessments, both inside and outside the Bush Administration, were silenced and branded as weak or traitors.

A person who lives in the crosshairs of a gun takes a different view of morality than those who are safe and sound each day. Fortunately for those people who live in the crosshairs, President Bush's approval ratings have turned downwards again. One is tempted to trot out one's grand schemes and ideology as a solution, but the sad reality is that the one humane thing the U. S. citizen can do for the Iraqi citizen is vote out of office every single member of Congress who does not support immediate withdrawal from Iraq. The newly elected then need to appropriate only as much money for the war as is needed for the withdrawal.

The real moral challenge comes after that, funding the rebuilding of Iraq for the Iraqi people.


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