George Galloway has been touring the Middle East and continuing to blast the US/UK War in Iraq. Recently, he said that “martyrs were writing their names among the stars” in Iraq even though we don’t know who they are.
Abraham Lincoln once said that we, as a country, need to ask ourselves whether we are on God’s side; we cannot assume that God is on our side. I think the reason people, even on the left, are so uncomfortable with Galloway is because he raises the possibility that we are not on God’s side, but that the resistance fighters in Iraq are. That is a thought extremely frightening for even us leftists to contemplate. But we must discuss this possibility regardless of anybody’s personal feelings about George Galloway.
Another question we need to ask ourselves is would we rather have Galloway or Rove? Karl Rove is a ruthless individual who will say or do almost anything to create a permanent Republican majority here. He will commit treason, if necessary, to achieve that end. And the GOP Governors, Senators, and Congressmen continue to march in lockstep behind him, prostituting their principles in the name of winning at all costs. Personally, I would much rather have Galloway than Rove.
Before you respond by bringing up Galloway’s past behavior, I want you to compare and contrast the following two things: The evil actions of Rove and the suffering and the quiet dignity of the Iraqi people.
First of all, think about the ruthlessness that Rove has done, such as his smearing of well-respected judges, his bugging of his own office, his racist smears of John McCain, his SBVT attacks on John Kerry, his planting of evidence in TANG, his outing of Valerie Plame, and anything else you can think of. These actions are too well-known to contemplate here.
Then, think about the consequences of his actions, especially of Plamegate. Think about the suffering of the Iraqis and their quiet dignity as they try to live normal lives despite the rampant chaos in Iraq. For example, from Faiza:
I remembered the story of that lady while my son was in custody… I shed no tears, but my whole being was in a state of freezing, shrinking…. How many cases like her are there in Iraq?
Why did some of the Iraqis approve of the war, and supported it?
Didn’t they do this to lift the injustice from the people, stopping the process of breaking the hearts of mothers and fathers on their children?
Didn’t they do this to build a new country basking in security and peace, where we can go out with our children without fearing they would disappear because someone would arrest them and throw them in dark cells… or that they would be tortured; have their nails pulled out, their teeth and bones broken, to force them to confess to crimes they never committed?
But after my son was arrested, I discovered that they re-employed the same former criminals from the days of Saddam Hussein, to interrogate people…
They beat, humiliate, and torture every suspect.
Then, according to luck, they might release him with the payment of a ransom, or he might disappear, and go down the drain…
Then his mother would carry his picture, and move around to look for him in all Iraqi lockups and prisons, old and new…
His family has no right to know where he is…
They have no right to engage a lawyer to defend him…
What was changed, in the new Iraq, from the old one?
And think about the 500,000 Iraqi refugees who have fled for Jordan:
Rather than focusing on a grand political narrative, Jamil, like virtually all Iraqis who spoke to The NewStandard, stressed the lack of electricity, sanitation, potable water and absense of security that plagues daily life in Iraq. Because of this, he said, “life is impossible on the most basic level.”
Carol, a middle-aged beautician and salon owner in Baghdad’s Adhamiyah district, left Iraq in June. She is equally blunt in explaining why she left.
“We are full of frustration and angst,” she said over dinner with several Iraqi friends. “No one in the world would leave their home willingly, unless it was under such circumstances.”
The violence is, of course, not a mysterious phenomenon to Iraqis. They see it as a direct result of the ongoing occupation.
“At first we believed that America has come to save us from a cursed situation under Saddam Hussein,” said Carol. “But in fact they have given us an even greater curse. We have no dignity; we are humiliated. We have no water, no electricity, and no security. We don’t understand. We know the Americans can make the situation better, but they are not.”
Popular accounts on the streets of Amman place the number of Iraqis in Jordan seeking refuge from the war at 500,000 and higher, though only a tiny fraction of these people are officially categorized as refugees.
And while you’re at it, think about innocent victims like Jean Charles de Menezes, the man shot and killed by British police because they thought he looked like a terrorist.
This is what is at stake: The evil mind of Rove and the suffering that happens as the result of his actions. Can we honestly say that we are in the right when we compare and contrast these two?
Here is another thing to compare and contrast: World War II and the current War in Iraq.
Our entry into World War II was the result of an act of unprovoked aggression by the Japanese against the US. Germany and Italy joined the Japanese aggression, and we were in a fight for our survival. Under the leadership of FDR, we responded magnificently and defeated the Axis.
Now, compare that to our act of unprovoked aggression against Iraq. Saddam was not a threat to us; he did not have any capability to use WMD’s or strike at our soil within 45 minutes. Yet, since the War in Iraq started, we have killed over 125,000 innocent civilians. Think about the barbaric acts of torture that we committed in Guantanamo and Abu Girhab and our practice of extraordinary rendition.
My response to that comparison is not that we are the moral equivalent of the Nazis, but that we are not different enough. The Bush administration, guided by the ruthless mind of Rove, has prostituted our Constitution and our ideals in the name of ensuring American dominance in the Middle East.
Finally, think about the Revolutionary War fighters and the Iraqi resistance fighters. Our Revolutionary War fighters, under the leadership of George Washington, were willing to die so that their names would live on and their children would reap the benefits of a free society. The Iraqi insurgents are just as willing to die for their beliefs; they believe that they must fight for their future so their children can grow up free of American colonialist oppression.
And in case you are wondering if I have gone over to the Iraqi resistance, I have not. I am not pro-American or pro-Iraqi resistance; I am pro-peace. This is still my country; we must work to regain it from the control of the right-wing extremists who infect the halls of power. My thoughts and prayers go out to people on both sides of the conflict who get needlessly killed, imprisoned, and wounded.