Iraq drums up election concerns

Someone, who must not read this column, recently asked me how I would vote in the upcoming presidential election. Instead of just spouting off my reasons, it caused me to reflect on the decision I have already made.

Unfortunately – I say that because I like to think of myself as open minded and flexible – my blinders came down early in the race. I will vote for the same party, for the same reasons, as I voted in 2004. I wasn’t thrilled with the candidate then, but it came down to one issue for me – foreign policy.

This election, one candidate openly opposes the war in Iraq, and one openly supports it.

I’m familiar with the reasons people favor a strong presence in Iraq, but I don’t think we need to, or even should, be there. I didn’t want this war in the first place and Saddam Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on our county.

Now that we’ve destabilized Iraq, the administration claims there are a whole new set of issues keeping us there. I understand “you broke it, you bought it,” but I simply don’t believe we need to fight them abroad so we don’t have to fight them at home.

Following the downfall of Saddam, I was in favor of partitioning Iraq. Do we have to have an Iraq? We obviously didn’t like the one that was there.

We should have divided Iraq between its six neighbors at a summit and caught the next flight home. Then, any regional instability would have been assumed by the area’s established nations. Let them fight out border disputes if they want to – it wouldn’t have been our problem.

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The notion of an oasis of democracy having an effect on the region was downright idiotic. That idea of change by association is like suggesting that if you put a Christian in a room full of skeptical scientists, they might all come out singing “Hallelujah” and denying evolution.

This war, coupled with bad republican economic policy, has doubled our national debt during the Bush administration alone, to $11.3 trillion. That’s 80 percent of our gross domestic product and 66 percent of GDP is at the point at which a country’s debt is considered at risk of defaulting. We are drowning, yet still we spread our resources out across the globe while we pass the hat around to ask for more money.

Remember FDR’s New Deal? The big “socialist” government intervention was hugely criticized, yet saved our country during the great depression. Well, we’re going to need another of those big “socialist” programs soon, and the new $700 billion federal bailout is not going to cut it. Republicans have proven they’re not up to the challenge of social welfare. All they can do is throw money at problems, and that money is getting harder to come by.

The Black Knight, in Monte Python’s “Holy Grail”, who refuses to grant Arthur passage, refuses opportunities to call off until he is rendered helpless and must watch his adversary walk away – that’s our nation’s current path. We need to bring our soldiers home to defend our own homeland, improve national security, and tighten the belt.

We need to dig in and fix this country before it literally falls apart, and is purchased piece by piece by wealthy foreign nations who have gotten rich off our oil addiction and our extravagant, junk consumer lifestyle.

John McCain thinks that he can maintain the status quo, but it’s not going to work. If we don’t do something radical soon, our government will simply cease to function like one of the many poorly managed global corporations that have been recently collapsing.

Even if Barack Obama fails miserably at what he wants to attempt – redistribution of wealth, national health care, national education, energy independence, global diplomacy, etc. at least the intent is there. He sees a problem, and he wants to try to help fix it.

Even with democratic control of congress and the house, Obama may not be capable of the sweeping reforms that are needed to rescue America, but I’d feel a lot better knowing that we tried.

If we try something new and different, if we stop listening to the republican fear machine long enough to ask what kind of world we really want to live in, if we can at least acknowledge that a change is needed, then maybe there’s hope for the future.

So if you’re curious, and it’s not clear, I’m voting for that hope. I’m voting for Obama.