Iraqi Bloggers Roundup

Thursday, November 04, 2004

John Kerry rocks!!!

John Kerry rocks because he performed one of the most principled actions a politician can ever take. He graciously and wisely conceded to his opponent, having considered the impact that contesting the election results would have had on his country, on his party and, although I wasn't privy to his thoughts, I would imagine he also considered its impact on the world. Although it was obvious during his concession speech that he was profoundly wounded in spirit, he nonetheless took the high road, an action I hope may prick the conscience of many of the world's most brutal dictators and of those would-be potentates of what ever persuasion (Islamism, Arab Nationalism, Socialism, whateverism) who aspire to replace them in order to impose their own particular "ism" brand.

At the same time, I am disturbed by the rancorous diatribe that continued, even until this morning, in several of the bloggers comments pages. Much of it centered on Bush’s supposed “born again” Christian faith, the role it allegedly plays in his life and in his decisions as America's Commander in Chief. As a foreigner I have no say, nor should I, in domestic American issues, but I am confident that American voters realize the character of the men and women who are at the helm in their capital has enormous influence on global affairs. It is a situation that perhaps many Americans wish they did not have to confront, as very often, international affairs and domestic politics require very different approaches.

No sane person living today, for example, can suggest that any American leader has been responsible for massive numbers of extra-judicial executions, disappearances and the extermination of entire towns and villages within their own country. However, the government in Washington DC, the office of the President included, must concern itself with just such things, which can and frequently do occur in far off places. They must make decisions, weighing all the pros and cons, which will have future consequences for their own country and for the world. And what those consequences may be, only those with crystal balls can anticipate.

The commonly held theory, promoted unfortunately by academics as well as by political figures, that past American policy has created the present situation, is such a boring yawner I can hardly stay awake when I read it. SO WHAT? The past always creates the present and it is never as simple as the past actions of only one nation. Such interpretations are - well – contrived by the devious for the consumption of simpletons.

History and politics have always been about the interaction of competing self-interests and even though the USA is now, irrefutably, the one and only superpower in the world, it is far from being the only nation on the global stage motivated by self-interest, nor has it ever been.

To my American acquaintances whom I have met on the blogs, whether friend or foe, I understand that you may feel very uncomfortable with your superpower status, but you need to get used to it and deal with it wisely for it is all the more reason to expect your elected leaders, and even yourselves, to act in a principled manner.

Blogger readers had plenty to say regarding this momentous election. One of the earliest comments came into Iraq the Model from USCit. He posted a URL which points to this Reuters report. There is a tiny little gem embedded in that Reuters report, which is probably referring to the same poll that Big Pharaoh refers to in his blog of November 3rd. In a virtual online poll, Iraqis in Iraq supported Bush.

Here are some of the other comments which accurately captured my take on the global import of this election. As usual, I have corrected typos and, although I tried, I have obviously failed with the keeping-it-brief part. Some of these statements brought tears to my eyes. I begin with one of most highly principled participants, himself a Democrat, for whom I have a very large soft spot in my heart:

ModDem: “Which are the gracious winners and which are the breast thumpers. Which are the magnanimous losers and which are vitriolic. For our nascent politician hosts, I hope they take some good notes on these speeches too. In politics, no one wins every election.”

Sami: “My cousin in Cleveland and his family voted Bush! So I know that from what he said, the small Iraqi communities there voted bush.... better to stick to what we know than try something new....”

RSN (Speaking of Big Pharaoh’s entry): “Bush is certainly not racist, and he has done nothing but given the Arab world a chance for democracy. No wonder 80% of Iraqis in that poll are for Bush. That 42% for the rest of the Arab world is pretty significant, too.”

Annieburd: "alaa, please don't let these "sour grapes" spoil your joy or eclipse the fact that Americans voted to continue to stand with you yesterday. I'm not sure why kagehi believes the rhetoric that suggests President Bush is a religious zealot - it is a liability to be principled, I suppose - but the suggestion that the votes of some Americans are somehow more valuable than the votes of others is revealing, and rather ugly."

Ed Ski: “George Bush is a man of strong faith. That does not mean he's a religious fanatic. It does not mean that he's on his knees in the Oval Office waiting for the "hot line to heaven" to ring with instructions. Faith isn't like that. Faith in God comes from learning about God, putting those lessons into practice every day of your life, and having faith that you have made the right decisions based upon your continuing search for God's truth.

There is nothing to fear from people who invoke God's name. It is the fanatical heretics who believe they are on a mission from God that you must fear. I do not believe that George Bush is like that. I know many people who have faith in God - I am one - and there is nothing to fear from them, or me. Just as I do not fear the Muslim tradition of saying 'God willing.'

I also believe a good portion of the time Bush invokes God when talking about foreign policy is because he will not cede the moral high ground to fanatical terrorists. They proclaim in video tapes from secret locations that they are doing God's will, and then kill innocents. I believe Bush is merely saying: 'Hey - we believe in God too, and God would never condone this type of activity. You do not own God, no one does. We believe in God and we are following what we feel his truths are, and that means stopping you.'”

Iris: “President Lincoln was also a religious man who asked for God's guidance and he is considered one of our greatest Presidents, if not our greatest. Most people who believe in God ask for his guidance. We pray that we do his will. That is the best man can do. I rather have someone who prays to do God's will, than to have someone who acts only if the UN approves. The men who created this republic, where mostly religious men. We have "In God We Trust" on our coins. That does not make us a theocracy. The government does not have an official religion nor does it impose a religion on anyone. But it is part of our character.”

Achillea: "I'm not a Christian and never have been, and I voted for Bush. Why? Because I know what he believes and that he'll stand up for those principles. I don't agree with all of those principles, but I don't disagree with all of them, either. Christianity has fomented great good as well as great harm. With Kerry, I could never tell what he believed, if anything. His philosophy seemed to be that he should let everyone else decide what he believed from one moment to the next. While it's important for a leader to listen to other and/or opposing viewpoints, Kerry's sort of spineless trimming has no place in the leader of the free world.”

Stehpinkeln: “I think there must be some sort of translation problem between Europe and the USA. We 'consult' with Europe all the time. Then when we are done consulting, we do what we need to do. What's the problem? Consult doesn't mean obey, it means talk with. If the Euros can't produce a valid argument for what they want us to do, that is their problem, not America's.”

Kamal: “The US and European and Arab Media as well as the leftists got a loud message this week. They all want the Kofi Anan/Chirac way of the world, let people die, lets not act on Iraq or the Sudan, or Afghanistan, let’s bury our heads in the sand and shoot insults to those who dare to care.

Karzai is the first elected (by men and women) leader of Afghanistan. In January elections WILL be held in Iraq, regardless of how many beheadings there are. Militant Islam is on the same path as flat world Christians 5000 years ago, their time is closing. Freedom ALWAYS wins in the end."

Well Kamal, putting aside the fact that Christianity isn’t quite that old (was that a typo?), I hear ya’ loud and clear, so let me close by quoting one of my own comments:

“I'm pretty much an atheist (although I'm not quite sure), I believe in a woman's right to choose, I support gay rights and gay marriage and I'm a passionate defender of freedom of expression for all except those who advocate such things as Holocaust denial. And I think Bush is the leader this poor old world needs.”

Since my friend Scott - the supposed tree hugger from Oregon who wrote me a gem of a poem earlier this week, giving me the gift of laughter - is taking a lot of flack just now (and dishing it out in kind, I might add), let me sum up by addressing him. In addition to what I have said in my quote above, I have been a strong supporter of the environmental movement for many, many years. Until recently I contributed a monthly donation, debited automatically from my account, to the David Suzuki Foundation.

I mention that, not knowing whether the “tree hugger” appellation legitimately applies to you. I simply want you and the rest of the readers to know that all of us are complex and have a wide range of views on a wide range of issues. There is no cookie cutter for churning out right-wingers, any more than there is for producing left-wingers.

Of all the issues I care about in the world, as it exists right now, during the time that I have on this earth, the situation in Iraq is far and away the most important. That is why I support George Bush and the Republican Party. Whatever else he and his team may represent to you or to any other American, I firmly believe he and his party are the best hope Iraq and Iraqis have. I’m very grateful John Kerry has decided not to let domestic political pettiness detract from that overarching issue. So, for the next little while at least, John Kerry will be at the top of this little right-winger's list of heros, and I offer a hearty salute to ModDem, a man of stirling character.

Louise, the Iraqi blogger addict