The important things to keep in mind while following the political battle over Iraq in Washington is:
- The way the United States entered Iraq stinks
- The way the United States has acted in Iraq stinks
- The way the United States leaves Iraq, for sure, will... stink too. We've been through this before... The US always deserts its allies and leaves them holding the bag and then worries about its "syndrome". And Hollywood makes a lot of films about how we actually won... And people ask, "what would Jesus do?" as if Jesus would have ever gotten himself into such a mess.
What does that mean?
Imagine if Coca Cola had mysteriously poisoned several thousand people. "Great", you say, they go out of business.
Not so fast. What about all the jobs and the families that depend on them... Mortgages, health plans, pensions, children's education, etc, etc. As we saw with the Soviet Union, (and Enron) when a great structure collapses it is no joke. What would Coca Cola have to do to regain its lost prestige?
First, it would have to discover how the hypothetical poisoning happened, who and what was responsible. If there was criminal negligence or malice aforethought... people would have to go to jail, right up to the chairman and if the chairman's policies were responsible, especially the chairman. And then they would have to pay heavy reparations to all the victims and their families. Maybe then, only just maybe, people all over the world could hear again about how "things go better" or "the real thing" or about 'pauses that refresh' with out vomiting or running for the exits.
That is more or less where things are now. The world system ("really-existing-capitalism") depends to a great extent on America's credibility... even if we aren't in agreement with the system; like it or not we are all stakeholders and if it collapses we will suffer...
That credibility will not be restored by further martyrizing of the people of Iraq... There is no credibility to be gained in Iraq now if there ever was any to begin with. Credibility can only be restored by the USA, in the USA itself. How?
By holding public hearings, Nuremberg-type "show trials" if you will, publicly investigating how this war happened, punishing the offenders, especially Bush and Cheney... (Impeachment isn't good enough). And finally formal apologies to the people of Iraq and payments to the victims (not contracts for Halliburton to "reconstruct"). Cash they can spend any way they want, visas, scholarships, green cards, you name it. People everywhere would respect that and if they didn't respect it they could kiss our ass, because it would be the right thing to do. At least we could respect ourselves and that's a good place to start.
Is this possible? Well, America is a place where impossible things happen all the time and have been happening for hundreds of years... So, why not? The capacity to pleasantly surprise itself and others may be the only national characteristic that can save the USA now. DS