Iraq is imploding as Republicans and Democrats alike are scratching the heads as to what went wrong. Meanwhile, party gridlock in Washington has brought any sense of responsible governing to a standstill. The President faces what may well turn out to be his single biggest crisis during his time in office, and he spent most of last week vacationing on California golf courses. Are we observing a freak show or what?
In the nation’s history, there has always been the loyal opposition by the political party out of power that served as a check and balance -- a good thing. But there was still a sense on the part of both parties that some cooperation was needed to make progress and move the county forward. We saw such cooperation across party lines under Reagan in the 80s and Clinton in the 90s.
Then came 9/11, and after a short-lived euphoria of rallying the nation together, both parties saw an opportunity for political gain. Gridlock seeped in, and during the past ten years cooperative effort between the Republicans and Democrats has been non-existent. Over 90% of the members of congress profess to be Christians. Yet those we elected to lead have given little credence to the words of Jesus in Mathew 12:25. “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”
The same non-negotiable division exists in Iraq today under the impotent leadership of President Nuri Maliki and his U.S.-installed Shia regime. The loyal and vicious opposition are the Sunnis, and the two religious factions have been at each other’s throats for 1400 years. Maliki failed miserably to bring in his opposition as part of a new Iraqi government, and the U.S. only gave lip service to a joint governing effort. Now it’s open warfare and any chance of peace seems out of the question.
You and I have been have been conned. That’s right -- we’ve been lied to, deceived, hoodwinked and misinformed. We were told by Bush, Cheney and company that Iraq needed to be invaded because they had weapons of mass destruction that put our country at great risk. And then it turns out that there were no WMDs. None!
Once in, history shows us how difficult it can be to get out. We were conned by Obama, who poured billions into Iraq, but allowed Maliki to call all the shots. Then, without any real long-range game plan, this administration pulls out and abandons the Iraqi people, allowing the country to fall into the abyss of total civil war.
This unforgiving war has cost 4500 U.S. soldiers their lives, wounded more than 40,000 of them, and an additional 45,000 troops have returned home with mental and physical problems, and cost over $1 trillion. And what do we have to show for it? Iraq is in ruins, and the political chaos becomes worse as each week passes.
We were conned by Republicans and Democrats alike when both parties told us our goal should be to reshape Iraq into America’s image, and democracy could and should be exported throughout the Middle East. Nation building in the Arab world? What a joke. We have created this monster of anarchy that seems to be spreading like wildfire.
And no -- we can’t blame the Iranians who will no doubt be moving into the Iraqi leadership vacuum with troops in their effort to shore up the teetering Maliki regime. The fault lies directly at the feet of the past two presidents, one Republican and the other a Democrat, as well members of congress from both parties who stood by acting as administration cheerleaders, and refused to ask the tough questions that needed to be asked.
The Iraq issue has been bungled from the beginning. Let’s just hope and pray that both parties will put aside their petty partisan differences and try to find some way out of this unfathomable and intolerable crisis.