Freedom Fry

Look at that freedom fry! A collection of political hotlinks and original articles.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Choices Always Were a Problem for You....

10:05 AM

ChoicesAs I type this post I am listening to an edition of Something Understood, a BBC 4 program hosted by the venerable Mark Tully, a 25-year veteran reporter for the BBC on India. Tully, as we know him in India, has always had an amazing ability to catch the eternal, simple insight in the fleeting complexity of the modern world. The current program's subject is choices, and specifically, making them amidst the endless parade of choices we have.

I find the subject incredibly apt for our present circumstances. In a few days, as a result of a few choices a cabal of men in Washington made, the Iraqi people will go to polls, hopefully in large numbers. They will make a choice to take their future into their own hands. I, for one, wish them the best, and hope that they are not plagued by incessant and senseless violence by a few bitter brethren concerned more with chaos than the challenge of building a future. As mush as I loathe the Bush administration's callous attitude to the war and its continuing refusal to be humble and apologize for misleading the nation, I have to say I hope the Iraqis make a choice based on their own convictions and not their masters' orders or their aggressors intimidations. As they make this choice though, they also enter a far more complex world. One in which they will have to keep making choices not only for themselves but for their future, based on more than morality and pragmatic concerns. That part, I fear, they are unprepared for. It exposes the seams of the process, though. I can tell that the lack of educational programs that would help the Iraqis understand the significance of this moment is not accidental. The Bush administration hopes a puppet government will take the reins and that people will vote out of fear rather than desire to change. They're not the only ones. The Sunnis, SCIRI, and the Communist parties are all hoping to win through fear.

Thousands of miles away in Washington, a few cabinet members are making a long overdue switch by choosing to keep their political ideas in synch with the reality of the global situation. This Slate article discusses the recent merging of neo-cons and environmental agendas—not because the hawks are suddenly going green out of compassion, but because they realize they need to curb the American dependence on oil from "hostile countries" such as Saudi Arabia, etc. I'm glad they found the common sense to come around and make a choice based on more than pure ideology. Those ideas may seem great but in practice lack the weight and dynamism necessary to make them implementable. What irks me is that Iraq was sought out as a means of reducing dependence on other countries for oil; who could be more friendly than a nation you liberated from a despot? Now that those plans are sinking with the general failure in Iraq, the neo-cons are doing what they should have done first: exploring alternative options. It's fantastic that they are, but quite telling that they chose to do it second.

If the neo-cons who led Bush to water and made him drink had thought all of this out first, not only would lives have been saved, but the copious amounts of money being spent on this war could have been put to better use (including the next installment of 80 billion that Bush is asking for). Does anyone else ever feel like Dub-Dub is a kid in a candy store using someone else's credit card to buy everything he can see?

But, I suppose I can't criticize, right? What would I do if I had to make all these choices? Wouldn't I rely on my morality, ethics, and religion? Wouldn't I stand the same chance of making the same choices as GWB has? [Misha's Note: But if you were hypocritical we would call you on it too :)]

I'd like to give you the link for the Something Understood show on the BBC 4 site and urge you to explore this and other shows. I've barely scratched the surface, but nothing on there is a waste of time. Here's the link. Cheers!


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