A Gray Morning
The idea that the US has both the right and the responsibility to morally shape the world is still at the heart of US foreign policy. While traditional interests and realpolitik still carry significant weight, most policy is still fashioned to fit within this ideological framework. This conflation of interests and values is what saw the US entry into the two World Wars, Vietnam and now Iraq.
The blogger at Baghdad Burning has written:
It's like Baghdad is no longer one city, it's a dozen different smaller cities each infected with its own form of violence. It's gotten so that I dread sleeping because the morning always brings so much bad news. The television shows the images and the radio stations broadcast it. The newspapers show images of corpses and angry words jump out at you from their pages, "civil war… death… killing… bombing… rape…"
With Iraq still crippled by unimaginable sectarian violence three years after “liberating” the Iraqi people, it seems absurd to speak of the progress of democracy and liberty as justification for the war. As the investigation continues into allegations of US soldiers raping a fourteen year old Iraqi girl, then killing her and her entire family, it seems grotesque to hear the Bush administration claim their country is the protector of freedom and human dignity across the globe.
And yet, while politically I’m a realist and generally a bit of a pessimist when it comes to human nature, I also truly hope that it is possible to limit this kind of suffering and conflict. It must be.