Last week I lost it -- at my own dinner party with one of my guests. What really upsets me is that I know better than to think that is a good way to change minds and influence people. Instead of remaining calm and thinking about the issues involved and being intelligently informed, I was overcome by the rage I feel about the implications of my country and what it has become and is becoming.
He asked me if I didn't think that the world and Iraq was better off without Saddam Hussein in power. I should just have said, "no".
Don't misunderstand me. Saddam Hussein is a villain. His government was cruel and unjust and many of his people suffered and died when he was in power. But the reality now is that Iraq is now a hotbed of terrorist nasties and is much more dangerous to the well-being of the rest of the world and its own people than ever Saddam Hussein was. The truth is that Democracy in Iraq is more elusive now than it was before the US occupied it. I am especially thinking about women. Women are now afraid to leave their homes with head uncovered; are unable to resume jobs; are threatened if they are unescorted in public. They were better off under Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein, who was put into power by the likes of the men who instigated the war against him, who was encouraged to think that if he went into Kuwait the US would turn a blind eye, would, I believe, have done anything to re-establish 'normal' relations with his greatest 'benefactor'. This thug knew which side would butter his bread -- and it would not be with terrorist cells that wanted his head and his country under Sharia Law.
The point is that it is nonsense to think that Iraq is better off and that the United States of America is safer. The whole raison d'etre for our invasion and occupation is based on lies and the result is a disaster for the US and our allies and most of all for Iraq and Iraqies.
In the back of my mind there has always been the niggling thought that at the end of the day Saddam Hussein will be back. And just over this past weekend there were reports that Saddam Hussein believes that is going to happen. This is not a prediction on my part -- one would think this impossible, but I rule nothing out because nothing in this whole debacle has been about truth or honesty or integrity. It's been about the America at its worst, America at its greediest, America at its most foolish.
And when I think about it all I am speechless with rage. I sputter like a dunce and that is going to change. Make no mistake, there is a battle going on -- it's bigger than any one country or ideology. It's about life's basics and it's a battle that has been on-going since the beginning of time only the difference is that now it spans the globe and encompasses all of us. Our lives are now beyond boundaries, the battlefield has been extended to the melting icecaps to the heart of New York City to the parched plains of Africa and the rain forests of South America; the battlefield includes the Bill of Rights where freedom of speech and the press is being undermined by dictatorial aruguments about 'national security' and 'executive powers' in the name of saving our 'democracy'! Ha! -- no one anywhere is free from the inanities of a super power run amok.
And the press is for the most part unquestioning. The press is encouraging blind adherence to what it calls patriotism, but which is in fact capitulation to the powers that have overcome them -- the media has been bought and is controlled. The last bastion is the Internet, where for the time being at least we can publish free thought, demand change and question, question, question. It is here that we can still find leaders who are also statesmen and where they can find a voice and look to hear ours; here that we have our voice and can demand change; it is here that we gather in our millions creating controversy, inviting comment, debate, discussion -- for we know what is at stake is the future of the freedoms our histories have worked so hard to attain and which are now encircled by the powerful and the rich -- insidiously turning ourselves against ourselves with emotional 'cut and run' sound bites and iconic arguments about a flag.
This is our Democracy lost, but maybe it is still waiting to be found.