Friday, March 31, 2006

Condi Rice Admits US Made Thousands of Errors in Iraq

I know that I’m all alone as the one Democrat who doesn’t loath and detest Condoleezza Rice. I guess I’ve always thought that she took her position because she wanted to make a difference, similar to my own views on life, and not because of political cronyism with the Bush family. And the fact that she is now coming out with some truth on Iraq makes me like her even more.

While in England today, with Jack Straw visiting his home town of Blackburn, Rice told large crowds for the small town that she recognized that the US had made mistakes, but she still though the war was justified.

"Yes, I know we have made tactical errors, thousands of them," she said in answer to a question over whether lessons had been learned since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. "I believe strongly that it was the right strategic decision, that Saddam had been a threat to the international community long enough," she added.

Wait, roll that back again. It sounds like Rice is admitting that the real reason the US entered Iraq was to depose Saddam Hussein. Now I can’t say that I necessarily agree with that, as I think there were worse people around the region who need or needed to be deposed (can you say Ahmadinejad?). But it’s refreshing, almost liberating, to hear someone in our government speak the truth about anything, especially about this terrible war.

Let’s face it, mistakes happen. They happen to individuals like me, groups, companies, and even governments. I don’t necessarily like that, but I can live with it. I have much more difficulty, however, living with lies from our government, and so far that is what we’ve had. Even after all the reports came out saying there were no WMDs, our government still said that they knew the weapons were there and they were going for them. Nice that Rice was honest enough to say, hey, it was time for Saddam to go. Like the decision or not, it’s nice to hear the truth.

Now don’t get me wrong, I hate that we are in Iraq, and no amount of talk will change the evil of our occupation there. But at least a member of the George W. Bush Administration is being honest, admitting the mistakes, and saying the true primary objective about the invasion. And that’s a good start. Of course the second side to this is, now that you’ve recognized that we went in there to oust Saddam, and that our other reasons for entering were mistakes, isn’t it time to get out of Iraq as well?

Rice’s trip was also marked by many angry protests, including large protests from the Muslim community, which cancelled a planned visit to a local mosque. One of the more creative placards seen during Rice’s England trip said “How many lives per gallon”, a phrase which I hope catches on over here in the states. However, Rice was apparently unbothered by the protests.

"Oh, it's OK, people have a right to protest and a right to make their views known," Rice told the teenage student. Each individual all over the world has the God-given right to express themselves. I'm not just going to visit places where people agree with me. That would be really unfortunate."

Sorry all you Rice haters out there, this is not the sounds of your typical member of the Bush administration; this is a voce of reason amidst an administration that sees candor as a character flaw, while apparently seeing the American people as a guinea pig to determine just how long you can lie to a whole population and still get away with it. Considering the crowd Rice runs with, these statements are rather extraordinary, I believe. Check out these comments Rice also made today:

"I know that there is a lot of concern in Britain, as well as in Europe and in other parts of the world, that the United States is not adequately guaranteeing both our need for security and our respect for the law. We in America welcome the free exchange of opinions with our allies about this issue, especially here in a place like Britain. But I also want today that no one should ever doubt America's commitment to justice and rule of law."

I know there are many, many Democrats out there who disagree with this statement, but to me, this is leadership. I’m not an elected official, and I never will be, and the people who are elected make the decisions on where the US expends their power. As stupid as I think our involvement in the Iraq is, it is not my decision to make. I have to put my faith in the people I helped elect to make these decisions, even if I didn’t vote for them.

But we are not a monarchy, either. Our government has checks and balances, and is responsible to the American people. A government cannot lie to us, misinform us, or omit key aspects of the truth. The government is required to report on these issues fully, and the American people are urged to use their freedom of speech to alter the government’s actions if they are unwelcome. We can and must be the balances for our executive branch, being the voice of dissent when that branch betrays the values this country is based upon.

As such, it’s not my decision to go to war or to remain in a war, it’s the government’s decision. My government’s decision! All I have the right to expect is truthful information about our involvement in a war (or other major activity), and I like many have believed until this day that the government has lied with its rhetoric of WMDs. I may not like when Rice says that she feels the goal of removing Hussein was an important one and made the mission worthy, but at least it’s honest. And that’s a huge step up from the rest of the Bush Administration’s rhetoric on Iraq.

technorati tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Posted by Scottage at 11:39 AM / | |