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14 September 2007 @ 08:47 am
America All Mixed Up  
With all the debate over the administration policy in Iraq, one would think we Americans would be approaching clarity. Alas, that is farthest thing from us now. For a brief moment after the Baker-Hamilton Commission submitted its report and before Bush announced his surge policy last January, the country seemed to finally have agreement on the facts in Iraq. Policy was up for grabs, but we agreed the current path had failed. Then came the wait-and-see-if-it-works approach to warfare. The American people agreed to wait. 

Our patience has been rewarded with a return to confusion. How can the average citizen know what is going on in Iraq enough to make a sound judgment? The President and his men are saying many positive things which, if true, would make a reasonable person pause. But they have said so much to us that turned out false. Reasonable people have a right to be skeptical. And yet the power and influence of the administration spokespeople makes it hard to believe those in political opposition have a good clear story either. I’d say we have every right to be confused. 

This is where we come to then, in America. At each critical juncture in this war, we have found ourselves—average citizens, working every day, seeking to do the right thing, and reasonably and rationally thinking about the problem in Iraq—with conflicting and confusing information. The cause of the confusion will be the source of commentary and speculation. For me, it is part of the tragedy that has erupted in our democracy—that somewhere there is misinformation, which prevents the congealing of consensus at exactly the point where we need it. Because we have confusion, because we have name-calling, because we have division over what is real, we do not have a policy the country supports. Although Iraq engenders many, many tragic events, this is the tragedy of Iraq for us as a nation.