Sunday, October 08, 2006

When does it end?

Have you ever read The Watchmen comic book limited series (thankfully preserved as a book)?

There's a lot of good stuff in it, but there's a really chilling moment just at... well, at the completion of the series.

A character asks if what he did turned out right in the end. The other character, in his final fade out, says "End? Nothing ever ends."

And we then find out that, in fact, the situation hasn't reached the end.

There are two things that upset me about Bush supporters. The first is, it's never Bush's fault. Never. Someone else is always to blame.

But there's another thing that is even worse. They think things end.

We're going to leave Iraq, someday, and *bam*, it ends. Well, it ends if we "achieve victory". If we leave without "achieving victory", then it doesn't end, because the terrorists come after us again.

That 14 year old, whose father and mother were killed? He's forgotten all about America, because We Achieved Victory. The man who was humiliated in Abu Ghraib, and his family and friends? They've forgotten all about America because We Achieved Victory. The people whose lives were thrown into upheaval because we invaded? They've all forgotten all of their grief, because We Achieved Victory.

All of the potential members of al Qaida who decided they'd fight us because, look at what we did to a Middle Eastern nation, especially after we lied about Saddam having WMDs will decide, gee, we must not be that bad, because, after all, We Achieved Victory.

(For those of you about to say "But we didn't lie!", feel free to debate that with someone in the Middle East. True or not, do you really think they see it as a mistake, when the weapons inspectors were reporting cooperation before the invasion? It doesn't matter to them what we think; what matters to them (and what should matter to us) is how it looks to them. And it looks awfully bad.)

If we had put a strong and just government in place in Iraq quickly, things might have ended. The Iraqis might have had nothing but the removal of a tyrant in their memories by now. However, that wasn't ever possible, and that was obvious to those who thought about it . (Sorry - the reference is towards the bottom. I was wordy that day. Search for "rabbit" and you'll find what I'm talking about.)

But today, it's not going to end, not quickly... not without some huge changes in the world.

A lot of things aren't going to end.

People will remember Abu Ghraib. People will remember Captain Ian Fishback's bravery in coming forward, and John McCain's willingness to stand up to Bush, and Bush's signing statement that John McCain and the rest of the Senate can't tell him whether or not to torture people. People will remember the torture bill (and John McCain showing that his "standing up" was just so he could "roll over" and "play dead"). People will remember Guantanemo and the long list of abuses alleged, and the continuing trickle of reports coming out about it.

There's a lot of stuff that has a beginning under Bush, but doesn't have an ending. But if we try, we can at least put a stop to more horiffic beginnings this November. For the sake of America and the rest of the world, I hope we do.

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