Continuing on from last week:
A massive injustice has been done our military. If the war were to end tomorrow--and we all know how likely that is--we would still have over 21,000 physically damaged vets on our hands. And who knows how many emotionally damaged vets we'll see pop up in the coming decades?
We must put huge resources into their care and rehabilitation. It will be a struggle to find the extra money required to tend to them as they deserve, with the wealth this administration has flushed away. But I suggest we establish a special fund by confiscating the paychecks, retirement benefits, pensions and personal estates of the following--but not restricted to--individuals: Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, George Tenet, Paul Bremer, Condaleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfield, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. It won't be enough, but it's a start.
As to the war, itself ... we lost. We all know that. It's just taking some of us longer to admit it than others. Bush and Co. have fouled things up so completely that the closest thing to victory we may hope to achieve now will be three separate countries, and all three will hate us. For generations.
The only solution is to find a previously uninvolved, oil-poor country with a big army and hand Iraq over--along with first dibs on Iraqi crude. We don't deserve their oil. Our leaders have behaved so badly, we have relinquished any benefits at the pump. So, I say, hand it over to someone who's willing to sit on this powderkeg for as long as it takes, if for no other reason than the oil. And Europe won't do. For centuries, Europeans have been treating the Arabs like servants, so we would be adding insult to injury by swapping out ourselves for the Brits or French or Germans.
But as far as I know, the Arabs have no bitch with the Chinese. And the Chinese have 1) no oil of their own, and 2) one hell of a big army. Plus, they have a lot of experience occupying other countries (Google: Tibet). And, if we work it right, maybe we can get the People's Republic to forgive a big chunk of that trillion-dollar debt we've stacking up with them ... much of it to fight the war in Iraq.
Or if the Chinese aren't interested, how about North Korea, eh? Think about it. The North Koreans don't have enough oil to heat up the rice they don't have, either, and they have a zillion-man army. Let's see Kim Jong Il worry about building a nuclear arsenal when he's bogged down in Baghdad for the rest of his life. It's win-win for everyone!
Except, of course, for the Iraqis. But they lost, too. They're the biggest losers of all, and probably the best they can hope for is that someone is able to stop them from butchering one another.
Finally, and above all else, I swear, there is no one thing the new majority could do to set America on the road to Wellville that is any more important to the nation's future than holding the Bush administration--down to the last lying minion--accountable for what they hath wrought.
I've been thinking about accountability a lot lately, personal accountability. "Buster, you did harm to fellow humans and now you must pay the price" accountability ... as opposed to the kind where the blame ends up being pinned on faulty intelligence, or where the press gets blamed for reporting it.
The Right claims personal accountability as one of the foundation blocks of their philosophy; that it is fundamental to the conservative attitude. Furthermore, they use it as a bludgeon against liberals, insisting we Lefties don't include personal accountability in our calculations.
All horse pucky, of course. While it's true that liberals generally try to look beyond the deceptively obvious and understand the separate elements that contribute to any given abomination--the ongoing one in Iraq, say, or the atmosphere that allowed a bug-eyed creep like Mark Foley to continue stalking pages for a decade--no liberal I know or ever heard of is anxious to absolve offenders for the damage they do to others.
In fact, given the way the two sides have shaped up in recent decades, it appears that the more limited the crime, the more likely it is that conservatives want the criminals punished, while liberals tend to direct their outrage to the broader atrocities--to the offenses that hurt dozens ... hundreds ... thousands of victims. Conservatives would rather chase down a welfare cheat than a war profiteer. They would rather lock a teenage drug dealer away than prosecute a chemical company for poisoning an entire ecosystem. They would rather execute a mentally deficient killer than deliver justice to a conspiracy that set in motion a murderous war for false reasons. Conservatives demand personal accountability ... as long as it doesn't screw with fourth-quarter earnings.
I would be proud to say the history of America is a testament to personal accountability, but the sad truth is, far too many highly placed, well-heeled criminals have gotten away with far too many crimes against humanity. We pay lip-service to Blind Justice, then closed our eyes when the nefarious deed was being committed by the powerful.
It must end. Justice, as in "liberty and justice for all," is too fundamental to a free people to allow it to slip away because it would be too messy and inconvenient to prosecute the high and mighty, or because the crime is almost too enormous to grasp--such as an endless war started deceptively by fraudulent men. Unless we want a future America where this sort of deception and slaughter are common, we must hold the perpetrators accountable. Really, would any criminal stop, were he to be assured he'd never be punished?
Yet, Nancy Pelosi has pledged that she would not seek impeachment for the man responsible for the killing fields of Iraq. I try to understand her position: She thinks it would fuel national divisiveness, I'm sure. But I would remind Madam Speaker that Americans are increasingly less divided on George Bush. Our common loathing has spread far beyond where it was a year ago, and the more we know, the more common it becomes. Give it another year (and a few Congressional hearings) and you'll be able to fit every American who doesn't loath Bush into one padded room.
And there is a good reason we loath him (several dozen, actually, but who's counting?). I don't believe we can ever allow another one like him to ascend to the throne. And more like him will certainly try, especially if they see he got away with it.