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.