September 2004


How people misunderstand what has happened in Iraq and how this mess affects how we are seen in the rest of the world, which has a major effect on our national security that is being ignored.

There is a really simple way to look at the mess in Iraq:

I live in a nice house in a good neighborhood. Some guy moves in next door and he's a real jerk. I don't like him and he doesn't like me either. Most of the other people in the neighborhood agree that he's a jerk.

Then I come home one day and find out that somebody's broken into my house and busted up some of my stuff. I'm mad about this and I'm pretty sure it was this jerk who did it. So, I get together with a bunch of my friends and I get all the evidence I can get about this guy and go to the police. They look at the evidence and shake their heads. "Not enough evidence," they say.

So, me and my friends get together and break into his place and really mess it up. In the course of doing this, we find that he's a pedophile. The jerk gets arrested and goes to jail.

You won't find many people who will cry about this jerk going to jail. But anybody who's seen more than two cop shows on TV knows that I'll go to jail for breaking and entering -- no matter how loudly I shout that everybody's safer because this jerk pedophile is in jail now.

But even if I don't go to jail for this, I'm still not better off. In the first place, the guy who broke into my house is still at large. I put in an expensive alarm system and get a couple of guard dogs, but I have no reason to think that I am less likely to be burglarized again in the future. And in the second place, most of the other people at the neighborhood are mad at me for taking the law into my own hands and attacking the jerk without evidence. Many are glad that he's out of circulation, but that doesn't make them any happier with me.

And the family and friends of the jerk now have it in for me. They want to make me pay for my crime, especially if I don't go to jail for breaking into the jerk's house.

Bush admits he's made a mess, more or less -- but he says he's glad the jerk is out of the way and that this fact makes up for what he did wrong. Then he asks us to let the person who made the mess clean up the mess. Well, there is some kind of logical justice in this reasoning, provided that you believe that he can actually be relied upon to figure out what needs to be done to fix the mess. But the facts don't fit that supposition.

The economy is worse than it was when he took office. More people have had to trade down to lower paying jobs since he took office. His record on environmental issues is the worst of any US President. Ask any teacher what they think of the "No Child Left Behind" legislation's effect on education. Many more people are living in poverty and those that aren't are falling deeper and deeper into debt. Our government treasury has gone from a modest surplus to the deepest debt in our history. And Bush wants us to give him four more years to do more of the same.

It all reminds me of a quote from HL Mencken: "The worst government is the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression".

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