An email reply to dad about my thoughts on the world
|An email to my father
Okay, we'll leave good old W alone. History will end up judging him as either a complete disaster or perhaps even a visionary who truly established a line of action that led to a better world. Despite my dislike of the guy, I'd be thrilled to see that play out. Not holding my breath though.
As for Obama, to let you know I'd still be anti-McCain if Hillary were the nominee. I know that she would have a few different policies to promote but her presidency would also have brought about some form of change away from our current Republican status quo. I find McCain to be the perpetrator of the old guard that is unwilling to relinquish their hold on our country and wants to keep running things for as long as they can. In my opinion, W was the first stab at passing said rule to the next generation and for now he is being viewed as a colossal failure so in order to keep their lives running smoothly, they trot out the old man who can ensure that the rich and powerful stay that way. Not to say they wouldn't be any less rich and powerful under a Democratic regime (yes, I think that word is apt) but change is something that most people are always afraid of. That's why the majority of tourists will travel the world and still eat at Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald's. They are not willing to look beyond their comfort zone.
I'm not sure what my thoughts are completely on Obama yet so I'll leave those for now. But as for the war, I'll throw out a few thoughts. Granted, you have a much deeper understanding of history and can speak in first hand terms regarding the relation to Vietnam and Iraq. I don't have as many facts in my head, mostly because I pursued other interests in college and never delved deeper into what Vietnam really was. But I'll give it a shot. You say that the Iraqis would overwhelmingly vote for us to stay. For how long though? Can we really ever expect the place to truly achieve what "we" (meaning, our government) wanted? As long as we have a presence there, I'm willing to bet there will be violence. Can I say that if we left completely there wouldn't be violence? Of course not. But who's to say that wouldn't occur no matter how gloriously the outcome seems to become. We're talking about centuries old tribal differences that we as a nation can't even comprehend. You could argue that one of Saddam's good things was that he didn't tolerate any sectarian strife. Granted, he kept it down in the most horrific ways imagined, but I think we would have seen Sunni/Shia fighting for years way before we ever invaded and knocked him out of power. This is nothing new for that region as far as I'm concerned. To compare the two wars, I have hopes that Iraq in thirty years will be like Vietnam is now. But does that mean we should have stayed in Vietnam forever? Does us staying in Iraq accelerate the process towards peace, or does it just impose upon the inevitable course that those two warring factions are going to have forever? I mean, how does having a U.S. soldier walking the streets do anything to change the fact that the Iraqi chief of police hates Sunnis and looks the other way when his men act less than favorably towards those people? Sure the violence may escalate, or not. I'd say no one is really sure of what could happen.
I wrote an essay after 9/11 years ago that I think I sent to you. In it I mentioned a certain amount of understanding and compassion that must, albeit reluctantly, be shown terrorists and other men of violent actions. I said that no one is born a terrorist. They learn these beliefs and actions from the society they live in and adapt accordingly to usually the beliefs and thoughts handed down to them from their elders. This will never, ever change as far as I'm concerned because there is no way to completely eradicate such behaviors in people. For crying out loud, we still have octogenarians in the South passing along racist talk and thoughts because they just can't let it go. And sometimes people like that get to hold places in the Senate for years (i.e. Jesse Helms, good riddance). Just like I mentioned in my earlier email about the uneducated masses having no understanding of what an American presence really means. All they see is an army and guns and what seems like an occupying force. Thus, by being told as such by people they may highly regard and trust (elders, parents, imams, etc.) all they then fester is a hatred for the occupiers and may not realize what the greater good is being provided by said people. And voila, another terrorist is recruited and enlisted. Whether we are there or not, this is going to happen, probably for all eternity. Sad, really. Even if Jesus and Muhammad returned to earth and shared an apartment in downtown Beirut while preaching peace and love for all mankind, there are going to be these idiots out there. As for more concrete ideas on what to do about it, I'm at a loss.
As for our standard of living, I'm not advocating anything to eradicate it. I know we're the best off of all the countries. I know that I have opportunities here that I'd only be able to dream of elsewhere. I know the whole reason we have the immigration "problem" is because everyone wants to come here. Only when the Mexicans start moving to China because of the "great pay" will I be worried. I guess I haven't been paying attention as much as I should to Obama or McCain. As I said in my political essay, I don't think drastic change will happen. I think the government and presidency is as much an image as a practical working thing. As this guy says in his essay about Obama enacting all of his promises, I'd be stunned to actually see that happen. This is just like all campaigns over the years, say all kinds of things, get elected, do some of the things you said and let the rest fall where it may. Surely you don't really think Obama or McCain will pull off all the things they say. I don't. I'm just curious as to what changing the guard will bring about. Curiosity killed the cat and maybe it'll kill the USA. I doubt it though. I think this may be the end of US world dominance but that's not so bad either, I suppose. I mean, England was once a superpower too but they finally relinquished the role and they are still there. Same with Greece, Rome, Macedonia, etc. History carries on and we'll just have to live with it. Hell, maybe we'll have Chinese bases in this country a century from now. All I can do is live my life, have my opinions, love my family, and hopefully succeed at what I want to do the most.