September 02, 2005

Throwing Good Money After Bad

George W. Bush’s most recent justification for his stay-the-course ‘strategy’ was to “…honor the lives of our fallen troops by completing the mission…” (in so many words). Cindy Sheehan paraphrased his remark by saying that George W. Bush justifies continuing the war and sending more troops to die because so many have already died. I’d like to paraphrase it a little differently…

Yet another ‘used car’ analogy

Let’s say you bought a used car with over 90,000 miles on it. In the first 3 months you found that you had to replace the tires, brakes, and exhaust system. A couple of months later you had to replace the carburetor & valve-cover gasket. Then the fuel pump. Then the air conditioning broke and you decided not to fix it because it would be too expensive. A couple of months later you found you had major engine problems and the cost to fix it would be over $3,000. When do you decide that the cost of fixing this lemon isn’t worth it? When do you decide not to throw good money after bad?

This is how I look at the Iraq invasion/occupation/war/quagmire (and please don’t think I’m equating our fallen troops with a problematic used car or ‘bad’ money). It’s about making decisions. We make decisions every day about what to do and how to do it. We make decisions all the time about what to buy and how much to spend… or not to spend. Often we make decisions that reverse our earlier decisions, if we realize that the earlier decision was not the correct one. That’s called ‘learning from our mistakes’.

George W. Bush has not learned from his mistakes because he exists in some kind of bubble that constantly reinforces that he hasn’t made any mistakes. This is both pathetic and dangerous. It’s pathetic because the leader of our country, and arguably the most powerful man in the world (if that wasn’t pathetic enough), thinks he’s infallible, never makes any mistakes, and never learns. It’s dangerous because the decisions he has made have been worldwide catastrophic and have already cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

The New Iraq

The ever changing rational for invading Iraq has evolved to “… bringing democracy & freedom to the people of Iraq…” (in so many words). We’ve already been through the WMD / threat to our country / linkage to al Qaeda, 911, & OBL / and regime change rhetoric. Now the whole reason is to bring democracy & freedom to the Iraqi people, and somehow that will protect our way of life. Yes, we’re ‘liberating’ the Iraqi people, and it’s only costing us $186,000,000 / day.

But what will the ‘new’ Iraq be like? Well for one, we know that the new Iraq is already destined for perpetual violence as the Sunni faction of the population refuses to succumb to the American-coerced government. They boycotted the election, continue to perpetuate the insurgency, and snubbed the new constitution.

And what about that new constitution? Early reports are that the constitution, assuming it successfully prevails, will install Islam as the official religion of Iraq and the basis of their government. So after we’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars to facilitate a regime change in this country, we’re replacing a secular dictatorship with an Islamic Republic. We’re essentially replacing a government that was NOT religion-based, with a government that IS.

And what about the Islamic religion?

First of all let me reiterate something I’ve said repeatedly in previous articles. I fully advocate that everyone in the world should be able & free to practice their own religion, whatever it is, privately, bound only by the constraints of respecting, and not interfering in, the rights of others. That includes human rights by the way. Every human being should be allowed to pray to God, Adonai, Allah, Buddha, or whoever or whatever they want. Every human being should be allowed to have their own faith in what they believe or not believe if they so choose. However, I’m vehemently opposed to any religious beliefs being infused into government, law, or public policy. Religious beliefs are much too diverse to be forced upon anyone, but that would be the case if a religion were controlling the government.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not an expert on the Islamic religion. One thing that I do know however is that the Islamic religion does not treat women equally to men. While I personally oppose such a belief, I continue to support the Islamic religion’s prerogative to believe it. However, I don’t support the Islamic religion (or any religion for that matter) as a basis for government. This would mean that women would continue to be treated as second-class citizens, with minimal rights compared to men.

Mr. Bush, is this what you meant by bringing democracy and freedom to the people of Iraq? Did you really intend to bring democracy and freedom to just the men of Iraq? At what point do you decide that you’ve made a bad decision? At a cost of $186m / day, when do you decide that you’re throwing good money after bad?


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