Some of the unfortunate side effects of our expensive, illegitimate war on Iraq include having racked up a massive amount of debt from our "enemies" to finance a war against our other "enemies;" borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. That's what we've done with China and Iraq, racking up nearly a trillion dollars in foreign debt to China while spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a war of choice in Baghdad. That's right: we've racked up over a trillion dollars in foreign debt to a Communist dictatorship that tramples on human rights and whose trade with Sudan accounts for nearly 80% of the genocidal government’s financing.
Now, for the first time ever, the Chinese government has threatened to use their nearly trillion dollar US bond holdings as a "bargaining chip" in talks with the US. Translation: if we try to put pressure on Beijing to do any number of things to advance the American cause of liberty and justice in the world --- cutting off finances to the Sudanese Government, ending the detention and live-organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China, or adopting any number of religious and political freedoms --- they can threaten to engage in a massive sell off of US Bonds that could cause our economy to collapse. The blundering foreign and economic policies of the Bush era have given the Chinese yet another weapon in their diplomatic arsenal to wield as a means of continuing their immoral behavior. What’s worse, our continued borrow-and-spend war policy could even put the United States in a position where the Chinese could use their bond holdings as blackmail to extract deep concessions from the United States, putting our whole country at risk.
Then there's Iraq --- if you can still even call this 19th century hodgepodge held together by guns and oil for a handful of generations a country. It has split into armed camps, torn by civil war, with Shiites controlling the South, Kurds establishing a precarious autonomy in the North, and the battleground in the center. The situation there has so fully deteriorated that even today, two million are internally displaced, another two million have fled the country entirely, and over half a million people have died either directly by insurgent or American violence, or indirectly, by the disease and starvation that has crippled the country under American occupation. To quote a recent article by Chris Hedges, the former Middle East Bureau Chief of the New York Times, “one in three Iraqis are in need of emergency aid, but the chaos and violence is so widespread that assistance is impossible. Iraq is in a state of anarchy. The American occupation forces are one more source of terror tossed into the caldron of suicide bombings, mercenary armies, militias, massive explosions, ambushes, kidnappings and mass executions.” It’s a bloody mess that has taken the lives of nearly 3700 American soldiers and wounded tens of thousands more; a military adventure that has squandered hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money and an immeasurable amount of political capital fighting a battle that has weakened our reputation and position of power on the global stage and, most disturbingly, bred a new generation of Arabs that view America with fear and suspicion.
Others countries are taking note. They see America vulnerable and weak, losing a war it never should have waged, and suddenly, our enemies have multiplied, and our so-called friends make increasingly daring political moves that threaten the National Security and Economy of our nation. For it is not only in China where Human Rights are being abused by a country we both trade and compete with. From Russia to Venezuela, we have seen the increasingly aggressive and anti-democratic posturing of so-called democratic countries that have used American disregard for law and freedom to justify their own guilty ways. America, a country that should serve as a beacon to the nations, has spent six years showing us her dark side, and neither she nor the world are better for it.
It is time for a new, real change of direction in this country, not just in Iraq, but in the way our Politics works. We need politicians who are going to be honest and transparent with the American people; women and men who will soberly assess the myriad of challenges facing us both at home and abroad and attack them as problems which can be solved with hard work, shared sacrifice, and a recommitment to the fundamental ideals that make our nation great: liberty and justice for all. That is why it is so essential for us to elect the right President in 2008 – not just a Republican or Democrat, but an individual who will lead our country forward with the best interests of the American people at heart. It must be a person willing to change course in Iraq and restore our place on the world stage while remaining vigilant against our enemies, devise solutions to closes the disgraceful gaps in education and healthcare that prevent all American from succeeding, and rally the world to solve the climate crisis. Furthermore, this person must do it in a way that unites the American people around a common sense of purpose and resolve.
When I look at the Democratic field of candidates, I see several individuals who I believe posses the character and intelligence to meet this historic challenge; on the Republican side, I see a pack of angry old white men whose fear-mongering and jingoistic sloganeering represent the death throes of an old kind of Politics that no longer has a place in the United States of America. In 2008, we the people have no choice. We must form a more perfect union. With so many challenges facing our country in the coming decades, it is no longer a matter of choice; it is an ultimatum.
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