Why is the war in Iraq still going on

There are some unbelievably heart wrenching photographs on the internet showing the grief of people at the loss of a loved one during the Iraq war. It makes me cry even though I do not have anybody even remotely related to me who has been killed in this war.

memorial-day-2007This picture of a girl lying on her loved ones grave is particularly sad. I can really feel for the young girl and her loss.

What gets to me is the senselessness of the whole operation. I can kind of understand if young men and women in the armed forces are killed while protecting their fatherland. I get it that that’s what the army of a country is for. And I’m sure the men and women who have signed up to serve understand the deal.

What makes me ache is the fact that the war in Iraq is not waged to save the USA and the UK from immediate attack. The citizens of the USA and the UK are not at risk and their lives are not at stake. There is absolutely no threat from this country in the Middle East. There never was. There certainly isn’t now.

Yet a total of 4 300 US men and women have had to die for this senseless mission. Officially the number of wounded is at 31 285, but estimates place this figure closer to 100 000. Many of these wounded people are now severely disabled and will not be able to live their lives as they did before being sent away on a totally senseless mission.

What is even more incomprehensible is that the American people and to a lesser extent the British people are not rioting about this. Where are the protests, where is the pressure on Obama to stop this senseless war. And It’s not as if he didn’t make an election promise to do something about did.

I didn’t see his election promise say that he would withdraw troops from Iraq to send to Afghanistan? I though he said he would be out of Iraq and bring his men and women back home. There is another senseless war playing out in Afghanistan. What are they doing there?

Let’s not forget the civilian deaths that these senseless wars are causing. That lovely ‘coleteral damage’ story.  Iraqi deaths due to US Invasion is estimated to be 1.3 million in May 2009.

Does this super religious christian country called the USA have no conscience about this? Killing over a million people for what? If this carries on it’s going to be another holocaust. Yet there isn’t sufficient noise being made to stop this bloodbath. Has the holocaust not taught us anything. What about the genocide in Rwanda.

Just because Iraq is not about Jews or it’s not about people killing their neighbour it isn’t important? Iraq is about super power nations getting together and unauthorised and against the United Nations vote, invading a foreign country for no reason.

There was NO REASON to invade Iraq. And of course some people are going to point out that at the time President Bush and PM Blair believed that there weapons of mass destructions in Iraq. But within a few months it was understood that there were none to be found.

So what are the armed forces still doing in Iraq? Six years after they discovered there were no weapons of mass destruction. Why is there no major uprising by the people of the world to stop this senseless war? Why is the USA allowed to continue with the terrible killings?

Sure we are now told that  they are being kept in Iraq as peace keeping forces.  Some peace. Suicide bombers killed 60 people near a holy Shiite shrine in Baghdad and a further seven dead in Diyala in one day in April 2009.  In fact that month 355 Iraqis were killed.  Can you imagine the outcry if 355 American civilians were killed in the USA or in the UK.

But Iraq? Who cares? And we wonder why the Middle East is the breading ground for terrorists against the West. Is nobody in politics making the connection here? Obviously not, otherwise the troops would have been pulled out by now.

Obama and the issue of abortion

Amazing what people think and say. It never ceases to surprise me. And at my ripe ol’ age I should be used to human mankind and what they get up to. But no. I’m still taken aback.

A little commotion is happening in the USA. Sure, again. It’s about President Obama. Again. This time though he isn’t coming off that cleanly. Yet, in comparison to letting off folk who condoned and instigated torture,  it isn’t as if he is doing anything wrong this time. Really.

Would anybody with some logic think that a person who states that a debate should be held where all parties to the debate should voice their opinions with reason and respect for all other opinions was voicing an outrageous statement?

Well that’s what’s going down in the USA and what went down specifically at University of Notre Dame. The President was accepting an honorary degree and repaying the honour by delivering the commencement address.

The topic of his speech? Abortion, or at least the discussions around it. And did that get the feathers flying and the hecklers out of the closet.  This topic is such an emotional issue that doctors have been murdered over it by people against abortion because it kills children.

Does that make sense? Kill somebody because you are against them killing? I suppose the old testament is all for that – eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth kind of thinking.

What was the President calling for that got people’s hackles up? He was calling for a respectful debate. Oh shock and horror. How awful. After all if you have a strong opinion on something and you are most definitely right then there should be no debate. Should there?

But what happens if you are wrong? Ha. Got you on that one didn’t I. But surely there are just some issues where there is a clear defined right and wrong? Well, maybe in your mind there is.

What if you are wrong? Or what if you are right but there are lots of rights. Can’t be? Every single person on this planet has his own ideas on right or wrong. These ideas are determined by age, culture, religion, race, gender, nationality you name it. A whole bunch of influencers.

Is it possible then to have one moral code, one set of standards by which one must live, one pre-defined list of ideas and opinions that each of the 7 billion inhabitants of this planet has to abide by?

Could be a bit of a problem to enforce that. Leaving you with that thought to ponder on your own. Don’t look at me. I don’t have the answer, sorry. I might just be pro debate though….

Just as an aside. There are calls by some folk that the University should not have bestowed an honorary degree on President Obama. After all he has such radical opinions!

Seriously though, considering Bob Mugabe got a few, some thirteen or so, from international universities as well as an honorary Knighthood from the British Queen herself why shouldn’t Obama get a degree because he is asking for rational discourse? Beats me.

100 days in the hot seat

On Huffington Post there is a page with 300 photos of Obama’s first 100 days in office. They are a wonderful selection of personal, behind the scene and sometimes humorous view of the life of a president in high office.

There are two things that struck me while watching this slide show. One was that the corridors of power are predominantly peopled by white men and secondly that he seems to have coped well with the promotion.

Looking at the first point, what can one say. The world is still run by white men. Sure in Asia the men have slightly different colour skins. But the western developed world, regardless of Obama’s distinction, is still managed by white and male people.

What about the women? What about African American amongst many other groups?  I know that Obama did try to get more women appointed than previous administrations. And even Bush had the odd black face in his immediate pool of advisers. But that’s the problem isn’t it. It’s the odd one out.

I wonder how the world would be governed if there were a more equitable distribution of people, a representation of everybody in the highest offices of this world.

Would there be less wars and conflict?

Would there be a more caring approach to all the peoples of this world, with a focus on eradicating disease, hunger, thirst and above all the abject poverty many many people live in rather than a full on support of ensuring a few rich people get richer?

Bears thinking about.

The other thing that struck me was that he seems to be really comfortable in his role. How often do we see somebody get promotion into a higher position and totally fail at it.

In fact the business environment has a name for it, it’s called Peter Principle. Which states that everybody eventually gets promoted beyond their capabilities. Or more accurately that every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.

I would imagine that that was the case with Bush Jnr. Heaven help us if his brother gets in next time around….  Hopefully those rumours were just rumours.

Obama has had an elegant 100 days in office. He has shone in his diplomatic travels overseas. He was a model representative at the G20 summit where he admitted to mistakes the USA had made but at the same time moved the conversation to look forward.

He has appeared fairly unruffled at home even though he was faced with a most horrific scenario on taking office. An economy in free-fall, an unresolved Iraq war, unrest in Israel, Iran. Pakistan and Afghanistan just to mention a few of the hot spots America is involved in.

The list goes on. Yet he has coped with seeming calm statesmanship.  It’s a remarkable performance and one that should get global applause. Well done Mr Obama.