It is time to get things straight about Iraq. In the longer historical sweep of things there is no nation of "Iraq." It was cobbled together by European colonialists to accommodate and make convenient some way to carve out the former colonial enterprises into some semblance of nationhood for the people in the area. It is not an Arab nation, because the Kurds in the north are not of the same racial-ethnic stock as the Arabs. It is not a Sunni state or a Shiite state because those two branches of Islam do not get along anywhere and for 13 or 14 centuries they have been fighting each other for territory and other things.
Through the malaise and fog of neocon and right-wing judgmentalism of the past decades, it is time to take stock of where we are as a nation and as a people.
What has happened to the nation, the people, the idea that was once identified as "America"? We have become a nation and a society of wimps. We confuse unfair advantage with strength. We mix up manliness with weaponry. We brew hatred with greed. We have squashed the American ideal. We have become more than diluted in our posture and essence, we have become violent and insensitive bullies.
Whether any of us are in the wide spectrum of "beliefs" that identify us as "Christians," the story of the birth of a Nazarene baby boy in Bethlehem has special meaning this year in America. Think of how this story illuminates what is happening here. How common are the threads in the U.S. of 2008 and 2009.
Of course there is room for forgiveness for all the lies, deceptions, mistakes, and general crookedness of the administration of George W. Bush. But Mr. Bush will have to do more than simply make his last lap as president with a solemn and melancholy look on his face. Honesty, openness, and forgiveness requests will be honored. Until then, let us never, never forget what he did. He brutalized the reputation of the United States, he gave handouts to the richest Americans at the expense of the poor and middle class, invaded a SOVEREIGN nation illegally, lied over and over to the American people, screwed up an already unfair health care system, cheated the military veterans out of needed benefits, took a federal budget surplus that he inherited and turned it into an economic disaster that our children and grandchildren will pay for in far more taxes, ignored warnings about the pending 9-11 disaster, held secret energy meetings in which the American public was forced to hand over trillions of dollars unnecessarily to Bush and Cheney corporate buddies, the invasion of Iraq set up al Quaeda in that country for the first time, his policies in the Middle East greatly enhanced the power and influence of Iran, gave no-bid and no-accountabiity contracts to Halliburton, Blackwater, etc., acted as a Saudi surrogate as he again carried out horrible plans to help the Saudis illegally as his father and grandfather had done, endangered the health and safety of every American with policies that harmed the environment and hampered the Environmental Protection Agency, approved actions that tortured people, snooped on innocent American citizens, held thousands in Guantanamo without ever charging them with any crime, and this despicable list goes on endlessly.