Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Had an interesting conversation tonight at the neighborhood book club.... We were discussing "The Book Thief" which is a novel about Germany during WWII. Inevitably, the conversation turned to that of war. Of course, being surrounded by flaming red Republicans, most everyone was saying that it was "right" of America to take over and kick butt then as well as now. I tried (like HELL) to bite my tongue but in the end I couldn't help but point out that no matter our reasoning for going and invading Iraq - which I personally opposed from the very beginning - we always go too far. It isn't enough to simply rid a country of a leader - be it Hitler or Saddam Hussein - who was terrorizing his people. No, we have to overstay our welcome and try to force the culture to adopting our way of life. Which, IMO, is exactly where we went wrong in Iraq. Fundamentally, we will never "win" there, because our criteria for a job well done is to have their culture completely converted to the American way of life - which is why they are on the brink or knee-deep in a civil war depending on the specific region. At what point does it all become pointless and not worth the cost of the lives of Americans or Iraqi's? And at what point does the world begin to view our leader(s) as they did Hitler or Hussein? Bottom line, the Germans in the early 19th century thought that Hitler was a great leader and it was only slowly over time that he got to the insanity of the Holocaust. What makes us different now as we watch our civil liberties slowly whittled away and told it is for our own good to "protect" us?