Wednesday, May 12, 2004

You know, there's two trains rolling down the tracks right now -- the prison abuse scandal and the beheading of Nick Berg. I think I'm about numb from my disbelief about these events. On the one hand, we rightly should condemn the behavior by our guards - forced sex, dog bites, and apparently worse, according to reports out of Congress, clearly do not project the type of image and humanity that America is supposed to represent. On the other hand, it is easy to get caught up in anger over the killing of Nick Berg. It makes me absolutely ill, and I get a gut instinct to want to bomb the whole place into submission. Of course, we would be destroying the village in order to save it....

And that in itself makes me wonder what the heck we're doing over there. Until this happened I was absolutely convinced we needed to dig in, send more troops, lock down security and bring in international forces. But now, there is so much rage and hate against us - why should we stay? As someone close to me said, "How do we help people like that?" The answer is, of course, most likely not everyone is like that in Iraq. But we have no legitimacy with the general populace over there. No one dares to get involved with the Americans, no matter how much they would like to.

The conventional wisdom goes something like this - we need to stay in Iraq in order to provide a stable democracy, lessen the incentives and opportunity for terrorism, export freedom to change the region, and provide a steady supply of oil from a friendly regime. When I presented that argument to one of my family members, who is in their 80's, he said "so what? in two years if not less it will deteriorate into a mess anyway".

So now I'm confused and much more depressed about the whole thing. I wonder how many more people will die in Iraq before we all figure this out.

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