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masquerade

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I just saw this article on CNN which discusses how President Bush attended the White House Correspondent’s Dinner on Saturday night. It is amazing to me, that while we know this man’s lapse in judgment has had catastrophic implications all over the world, we still afford him and others in his administration (Dick Cheney and Condoleeza Rice etc.) the opportunities and forums to look like they aren’t responsible for a catastrophic war that has caused the deaths of thousands of people.

How come the President gets to celebrate with the likes of Jennifer Garner and Claire Danes, like he’s just another actor, out on the red carpet, en route to the Oscars? President Bush gets to go all over the country and pretend or masquerade, while a war without an end rages. It might seem like I am spouting stereotypical “bleeding heart liberalism” and that I don’t understand the threat of terrorism. However, I have been researching this topic for months. In fact, I am currently drafting a policy paper on the implications of a withdrawal from Iraq.

As I have learned over the last semester, this war is perhaps one of the most challenging military and political problems the United States has ever faced. It is also one of the (if not the most) significant foreign policy mistakes of our time. The worst part of the situation is that we did not go into the Iraq war with a plan, a political outcome, or even a clear picture of what Iraq should look like after we invaded. Ironically, George Bush had Colin Powell, who was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and had espoused the importance of having broad support and a clear military and political objectives before ever going to war in a country. This was later coined the Powell Doctrine, by a reporter and required that the following questions to be answered in the affirmative:

  1. Is a vital national security interest threatened?
  2. Do we have a clear attainable objective?
  3. Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
  4. Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
  5. Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
  6. Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
  7. Is the action supported by the American people?
  8. Do we have genuine broad international support?[1]

I recall learning the Powell Doctrine in high school, in my history class, almost a decade ago. However, the weight of the Powell Doctrine has not hit me until very recently. There are so many considerations to make:

  • 2 million refugees (and counting)
  • 2 million internally displaced peoples (IDPs)
  • Sectarian violence (Sunni insurgency, Shiite extremist militias and Al Qaeda in Iraq or “AQI”)
  • Potential for a wider war (where neighboring countries could lend support to related religious groups)
  • Thousands of children out of school
  • Many widowed women
  • The general dire humanitarian conditions and lack of basic services like water, garbage pick-up and the state of hospital

War has crippled the country, and despite that, the US contractors still have access to McDonalds and KFC. Is this going to be our legacy?

I am going to elaborate on these points and will continue to bring updates, as I complete my policy paper. However, for now I wanted to say that it is not acceptable to me, that the President is treated like a hero at a posh dinner, can nostalgic about the past eight years, and and everyone for a few hours forgets, that his cloudy judgment, his masquerading, has led us in a dangerous direction. The United States is not not safer, nor more secure, instead we are more vulnerable and more hated. As an American I am affronted that he has treaded on freedoms, our dignity and the principles this country was founded on, for a war without a meaning. I suppose we will continue to watch as President Bush dances like a clown until the end of his term.

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Written by Veena

April 28, 2008 at 4:11 am

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