Sunday, August 28, 2005

Why the silence?

Today I want to share with you an article by William E. Connolly entitled, "Why have so many remained silent?" I'm blogging this article partly because of all the comments posted after the reprint in Smirking Chimp. The article clearly touched a nerve in a lot of people. Here's how it gets started:

The protest by Cindy Sheehan in Crawford -- while a wartime president takes a five-week vacation -- posed a difficult question: Why was there a protest movement during that last quagmire in Vietnam, but no equivalent has emerged today? Sheehan clearly touched a nerve.

Nonetheless, why, after thousands of Iraqis and Americans have been killed and maimed, and the increased risk of terrorism that the war has fostered as well as the high probability that a civil war could follow in its wake, do so many Americans remain quiet about this disaster?

I am not speaking about that percentage of the populace who defend the hubris of the Bush administration no matter its cost in lives, safety, money and noble American values. I am talking about people who now see that it was a horrible mistake for which we and others will pay for generations.

Several reasons might be expressed for this silence. The first is that many people, who now see how mistaken the invasion was, believe we are trapped in a quagmire with no place to turn.

There is, indeed, no easy way out, which is why it is so important to contemplate the consequences before invading another country.

But the United States could admit its mistake, beg forgiveness from the world, ask the United Nations to create a peacekeeping force and pledge a few hundred billion dollars to help fund that effort. That, it can be argued, would improve upon existing policy. Other alternatives could be considered.

But many people refuse even to entertain such possibilities. Why? Inside the judgment that there is no way out, a second misgiving simmers.

Millions of Americans find it difficult to admit that they participated in the myth of American righteousness and omnipotence peddled by President Bush and neoconservative publicists before the war. (Remember how some people believed Iraqis would be cheering in the streets and the reconstruction would be funded by Iraqi oil revenues?) They register their dismay in impersonal polls but do not translate it into public opposition.

Connolly continues in this vein. I suggest that you click through and read the whole article if you have time and also peruse the comments listed below. Many of them are very interesting.

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