The Iraq War
"Were you in the military?" he asked.
"Unfortunately," I replied.
"Well I believe," he continued, "my son died defending our freedoms against Islamic Terrorism. The war in Iraq," he went on...
"Was based on lies," I said.
"You don't think after they attacked us on September 11 that we had to go in there? To liberate those people?"
"Iraq didn't attack us on September 11. And the reason given was to deal with the supposed pressing issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction which all turned out to be lies."
It got kind of tense. He insisted the weapons were there and they were smuggled out through Syria. I couldn't believe that almost ten years later I was still hearing these same old tired arguments which were proven false long ago.
The folks that make these arguments and he was no exception demonstrate their ignorance in lumping all Muslims into one monolithic group. They can't grasp that Saddam Hussein's Baath party was secular and completely at odds with a group like Al Qaeda. They can't fathom the very deep Shiite-Sunni divide. They don't know that Alawite dominated Syria has largely been tied in with Iran...Iraq's enemy representing an internal and external threat due to its large Shiite population in the south. It's all rather tangled and many show no understanding when they just give a knowing nod and suggest the weapons went to Syria.
"Let me guess," he said. "You watch NBC, CBS, ABC...."
"No, I don't watch any of those networks but I also don't watch FOX news."
"Oh I see," he said with disgust. "Let me guess, you voted for Obama."
"No," I replied. "Just because I'm being critical of George Bush doesn't mean I like Obama."
This recurred several times. In his mind since I was hostile to Bush...I therefore must like Obama. I guess life is pretty simple for some folks. I'm constantly pleading with people I talk to as well as people who read what I write...don't accept the categories the Establishment gives to us. Just because I dislike George Bush and the Republican Party does not mean I’m pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, anti-family, and anti-Christian.
We then argued about The Bush Doctrine...and I pointed back to the insanity of 2002 when the Iraq war was being sold to the American people and the buildup to war was at full speed. The Fear Machine was in high gear, poison pens, plots in every cupboard and every corner, and the threat to the world posed by a broken and crushed country. Apparently, this poor guy believed all the propaganda from that time...the numerous threats were all real and viable…and even worse today.
Al Qaeda was active in Iraq he insisted. Saddam was backing them. He encouraged me to read Bush's book 'Decision Points'. I did pick up a copy and could barely stand it. I went to the chapter on Iraq. It's a pack of lies, patently so to anyone who has watched the news or read anything. It does not harmonize with history, the current events of the time, nor the testimonies of those present in the White House. Bush may indeed have been ignorant of much that was happening. He certainly has given the impression that he’s not a person who pays a great deal of attention to details. His idea of management is to let his underlings more or less run the show. Whether Bush was a victim of Neo-con machinations or a willing participant is open for debate.
Like I said I just couldn't believe this guy was still insisting on the same arguments from 2002. Even many of the pro-Iraq War people have left these arguments behind. Powell's presentation at the UN was completely debunked. It's a black mark on Powell's record to this day...but for this guy, no, no, it was all 100% true. I brought up specific points as we talked. I followed all of this very closely. I remembered exactly where I was during Powell’s UN speech. I was remodeling a bathroom, pulling wires through a wall, shaking my head in disagreement as I listened to his presentation.
He started to tear up when telling me about meeting Bush a few days before he left office in January 2009. A group of American families who lost their soldier-children in Iraq traveled to the White House and met with him. This guy really likes Bush, he got real emotional.
Of course to me...the irony is that is Bush himself who killed his son. Bush thanked this man for his son's service. This is where it gets hard for me. Here's this very deceived man, but he's still a father that lost his son. How can I not pity him? I can't even imagine losing a child. And then to have to wrestle with the why? This wasn't a car accident, a disease. This was a death resulting from his son carrying a gun while invading another country.
Did he die for nothing? For lies? Did he die because he was trying to steal other people's land and livelihood and they fought back and refused to allow him to do it?
I couldn't tell this guy to his face that to me his son deserved to die. His son was a murderer and got his just desserts. I can't feel sorry for soldiers killed when invading another country.
If the Chinese invaded the United States and ten years later a Chinese father was telling some middle class American guy about how his son was killed in a firefight…would the American feel pity? On a human level sure, but not on an ideological one.
On one level I can feel sorry for them...that they were deceived by lies and believed they were doing the right thing. In this case this young man believed he was serving God by being patriotic and going to fight for Holy America. I burn with wrath towards those who promote this, but I can feel sorry for those who are deceived by it.
That ultimately sums up my feelings toward this man...pity and anger. I feel sorry for him but I'm also angered that he continues to promote this Hellish doctrine.
to be continued...