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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Iraq and AIG - If Only?

Americans are finally united in outrage about something. We agree about the ridiculously obscene bonus money AIG corporate executives claimed at taxpayers expense. Indeed, the money should be given back voluntarily, but there's slim chance of this given the people who stole the funds have no conscious.

It's called bank robbery when ordinary people steal money from financial institutions. When corporate executives take money, the rules change and it becomes unethical or selfish. It's still bank robbery, nonetheless.

My question is more about how we arrived at the mess we are in today?

Americans should have been as united in outrage about invading Iraq in 2003, simply because we didn't like the dictator, as we are about AIG thieves today. We were lied to about the Iraq War, by our most trusted leaders. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We invaded a country without a reason to do so; and now this war is not winnable. It won't take long after American troops leave for the Iraqi government to become just as tyrannical as it was before we showed up. It's like Animal Farm 2009 - we wanted to make it better, but it's not going to improve when we leave. Unfortunately, the cultural forces in place during the time of the evil dictator are still present. They will rise again with different names.

My point is this. If we showed the same outrage at the invasion of Iraq as we have with the AIG bonus debacle, maybe we'd have billions of dollars less national debt and many thousands of lives saved.

Moreover, it goes beyond Iraq. If enough people were outraged in 2003, by the mention of invading Iraq, maybe we would have won a lasting peace in Afghanistan. Instead, we're re-fighting a war that was once won and is now lost. Instead, we invaded the wrong country to find the perpetrator of the September 11, 2001 attacks on our nation.

A perpetrator who is still hiding and at large as this is written.

If only we shared this AIG outrage with the invasion of Iraq, it is possible we could be a world more at peace than at war. It's a possibility.

Nevertheless, history won't save us from what is happening right now. AIG is the tipping point for an accumulation of misplaced outrages. Psychologists might say this is the classic defense mechanism of projection. "It's all the fault of AIG!"

Well, AIG is wrong for taking money that doesn't belong to them. Nevertheless, the root culprits are us. Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and they are us".

Our future must collect the best and brightest people in the world to fix our economy and our foreign policy. Although I have confidence in President Barack Obama, he is only one person who cannot possibly solve all of our global problems by himself. We need a new way of thinking about ourselves and the planet we live on.

Perhaps, Americans need to re-invent ourselves.

First, let's demand our tax money be returned from AIG - or the thieves go to jail (forget punitive tax laws). Second, let's help the Iraqi people to understand peace instead of war. Third, let's create an economy based upon opportunity and trust, rather than greed and avarice. Amen.

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