A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

I notice that Ecumenical Insanity has questioned progressive Christian sites, including this one, on why there was little or no response to the elections in Iraq. Admittedly, besides the torture issue, I have generally not posted about Iraq. Instead this site has been focused on church politics, inclusion issues, and a dash of theology.

But it is important that Iraq succeeds and that the county is able to build a decent future for themselves. Any steps along that road is a good thing. But what does self determination mean when the US has built four military bases in the country and is seeking the construction of even more? And one other situation, which ought to be disturbing, must end if Iraq is going to be a nation which chooses it's own future:

"Regardless of what happens in the elections, for at least the next year during which the newly elected National Assembly writes a constitution and Iraqis vote for a new government, the Bush administration is going to control the largest pot of money available in Iraq (the $24 billion in U.S. taxpayer money allocated for the reconstruction), the largest military and the rules governing Iraq's economy. Both the money and the rules will, in turn, be overseen by U.S.-appointed inspector generals who sit in every Iraqi ministry with five-year terms and sweeping authority over contracts and regulations."

When this situation begins to end, and Iraq has a government which is not on the beck and call of this administration but can really govern for the interests of Iraq, then celebration will be due. Occupations are not worthy of celebration. As Ecumenical Insanity has noted, this is something which will take years to to work out, so it seems to me that celebrations are a bit premature. But implicit in his post, is an important point: if Iraq fails, it will certainly hurt Bush, but it's more important that Iraq succeeds, something which everyone across the political spectrum should affirm.

The challenge which I've put out earlier though on this subject relates to the question of torture. I'm finding it hard to find conservative sites which without equivocation condemn the use of torture and affirm without hesistancy the Geneva Convention. This is disturbing, as was the senate vote of 60-36 to confirm Alberto Gonzales whose role in shaping our policy in the treatment of prisoners is a shameful episode in our nation's history.

The other issue which I've seen little coverage of is that of Iraqi civilian casulties. Again religious folks across the spectrum should be in a position to recognize that all human life is sacred, that for theists God is the God of the whole world, not just of the US and that our actions in Iraq will determine what sort of harvest is reaped in the future.


At 7:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dwight: A very good response. We would be in agreement on at least 90% of what you said, if not more. Thanks for speaking up. And when I included you in my list at Ecumenical Insanity, I thought I'd seen more political and/or social commentary on your blog. Given what you state as your primary interests, I probably shouldn't have included you, since it was more the political bloggers I was looking to prod. Please accept my apology.

David Fischler (Athanasius)

At 2:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the article in the Associated Press (NY Times for me) that you point to here about torture -- really, truly apalling.

I support you fully in your posting here, and applaud you very much for your bold statement here. It is really important that the church, in all of its facets, come out against the torture and abuse that is not simply 'alleged' for the first time in a long time.

And I echo your understanding that conservative groups need to come together with religious 'left' groups to really confront the reality of civilian deaths. I have been amazed to read in Sojourners magazine and in the NY Times (back pages/op ed) how many people have died, how many of them have been civilians, and how little attention that draws.

Kent Gustavson

At 3:27 AM , Blogger Marcus said...

Do you really mean to suggest that Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Germany have been a little short on self-determination from 1945 to ... why, even today?

At 2:58 PM , Blogger Dwight said...

Thanks! I should note, that your site is a usual read for me.
I think there needs to be some respected watchdog group which is recognized on all sides, which can do assessments of civilian casulties in war time, since the US gov't now refuses to do this.
I think having 5 year termed inspector generals having sweeping powers over the economy and regulations, appointed by the US cuts down on self determination quite a bit. As for military bases, it's one thing for an elected government to ok the building of a US site, it's another when we've built 4 before there ever was any elections in Iraq of any kind.

At 2:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I read in the NY Times. . ." -- given the source, I would question the veracity of the article before just assuming what you read is true.


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