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Wednesday, 18 June - link

Strauss Family Picnic

A National Public Radio interview on the issue of military contracts awarded to Halliburton spawned a vigorous family debate tonight. "Don't tell me you believe this Halliburton conspiracy bullshit," one family-member said.

Earlier this year, the government seemed to be saying, "Saddam is a madman. If we don't neutralize him now, he could attack us any day." There are plenty of madmen worldwide; many with US antipathy. I didn't see why Saddam had to be neutralized before we had more worldwide support for the idea. "Because of weapons of mass destruction." Again, lots of countries have those. So why bother? In the absense of honesty in politics, I am left to make my own guesses, as to why we had to invade Iraq in March.

Well that's political reality, a boyfriend of a family member argues. You can't expect them to tell the truth. My reply: I can only be responsible for my own behaviour. I work to be honest, to act with integrity. And so I demand the same from my elected representatives.

Some people at the table felt the US government has undertaken a morally sound reformation of middle eastern politics. But, they argue, the government couldn't be honest about their motives and goals because their agenda was too radical. You can't make important change by committee, that logic goes.

I say its cynical to assume the mistrust of the populace, and then misinform or ignore them. But besides betraying a cynical view of my countrymen, the integrity and honesty vacuum of the Iraq war rationale leaves space for people to wonder if the war wasn't waged for someone's economic gain, or for petty personal agendas.

Imagine if Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Powell had announced, "We want to change the social and political structure of the Middle East, where we get most of the oil we use in the United States, and we want to demonstrate our national power and willingness to use it worldwide." Then citizens could have readily discussed the morality of imposing change on other nations and the type of position we want to have in the world. Instead factions argue over their own facts, scuttling about uselessly while elements within the government carry on without us.

Perhaps citizens aren't supposed to know. But there's that cynicism again. Obviously I need to study more about Leo Strauss.

Posted on 18 June 2003 : 00:28 (TrackBack)
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