I agree with Columnist Jack Neworth 100% on the wars in the Middle East. This country's extensive military excursions have cost us more than we can afford. Yet to claim that the majority of our debt problems are driven by military expenditures alone is neither a credible nor a calculated argument.
To assume that Bush was gunning for an invasion of Iraq followed by the violent deposal of Saddam Hussein neglects the United States' more complicated history with Iraq and the Middle East.
Before Bush, Clinton and a bipartisan Congress pushed for regime change in Iraq. They even passed a a resolution for it. Democrats and Republicans supported going into Iraq in 2003. Both sides believed that there were weapons of mass destruction. Both sides assumed that there were ties between Al-Qaeda and Hussein.
I have taken much flack for my supporting President Bush. I voted for Bush in 2004 because he was 1% better than Kerry, and that's the truth -- I still remember a website which read "Bush is a d---che bag, but I am voting for him anyway." I had the same sentiment. I was concerned about the deficit spending, I was worried that the initial steps toward democracy in the Middle East were halting at best, but at the same time, John Kerry was at best an effete elite with no effective mandate for leadership or learning beyond a liberal upbringing and a rich heiress (Heinz-Kerry and all the ketchup you can pour).
Like many of the Democrats and Republican Congressmen, I believed that there were WMD. Even Berman and Sherman BOTH acknowledged this during the fight for the new 30th. I did not have the appreciation that William F. Buckley or that George F. Will shared: that removing one dictator would not be enough to engage diverse religious factions nor set the seeds for a prosperous representative republic. I have since learned that ingrained tribal rivalries will not dissipate in a popular representative forum. There needed to be a religious reformation before there was ever a political revolution, and other governments cannot effect that.
Natan Sharansky, a refusenik from the Soviet Union, opposed the immediate transition from occupation to elections. A culture of freedom, whether just or equal, had to be established first, but the Bush Administration advanced pell-mell into setting up voting booths with dipped purple fingers. Democracy works only if the voting population respects democratic (or rather republican) values: the rule of law, natural rights, limited government, majority rule circumscribed by countermajoritarian institutions to protect minority rights. A culture of respect for all peoples beyond religious or tribal rivalries has not yet emerged in the Middle East, besides Israel. One invasion followed by an ongoing occupation cannot effect so long and gradual a shift.
The United States Government needs to get our troops out of Afghanistan right now.
Bring our troops home!
I understand the rage many people feel about Bush -- one man could not share his sentiments with me without getting angry. But "Bush-Bashing" is now hindering the very reforms that most frustrated Americans are seeking. It seemsthat people's "Bush-Bash" rage has induced them to tolerate our current President, who is advancing the same Bush-Bashed policies, only moreso.