Iraq and American Politics

Why did America invade Iraq? Because it was to get the WMDs? Because Iraq and 9/11 were linked? Because a dictator responsible for massive deaths of Iraq’s citizenry needed to be removed?

NO. It was all about the politics in America.

America’s political landscape is quite strange to someone used to a multi party system like I am. The country I was born and brought up in has a multi party system as does the country I am living in now. Basically in these two countries, there are two (or three) main parties who can actually form governments BUT they cannot do so without the support of the smaller parties. In other words a consensus is required to implement a policy. That’s what democracy is all about. A consensus. In other words, even though you know you are right you need to change the mind of the opposing person/party to proceed with your idea, . You have to convince them that the idea is good for all. That’s democracy. Of course, the opposing person/party can be brought out as we saw in the last vote of confidence in Canada but that’s another post. The idea of democracy still remains intact.

I have been following American politics from the Reagan years and as I understand it, in America, there are only two parties. Each party has representation in the Presidential office and the senate. However, the party that has majority in the Senate has the control of the reins of the government. So if a party gains the majority they will essentially decide which policy the president can implement and which he has to let go. This form of a relationship worked well in the Reagan, Bush I (democrats held the majority) and the Clinton (republicans held the majority) years. So any radical policy by the President was kept in check by the “other” side.

But ever since Bush II came into the picture, the relationship has totally skewered into the republicans’ favour as the republicans are the majority in the senate.

The basic idea of any party is to stay in power, be it in Canada, India or USA. And all parties, when they reach the helm, will do anything they can to stay in power including, and not limited to, twisting a few arms.

In Canada and India this can be a little difficult. If you do not satisfy all the parties and persons involved you are going down. BJP could not form alliances with the small (but strong) regional parties in the last elections in India which is one of the main reason why they lost. Tories in Canada could not maintain their cadre and the Liberals took advantage of that fact and they overrode the vote of confidence a couple of months ago.

Similarly, the Bush II team is now slowly twisting arms of everyone to ensure that the republicans always stay in power. The idea is to convince the populace that they are the better choice than the alternative. In the early months of the first term of the Bush II presidency we learnt that the Bush II team (I firmly believe Bush II has little idea what goes on in his administration. He is basically the face to which we minions can relate. The actually work is carried out by his team) was searching for a reason to go after Saddam Hussein. The theory was if Clinton could drop a few bombs and raise his poll numbers, a war would do wonders for Bush II. There was no reason to start a war, so it was always in the background.

Then 9/11 happened. After this there was no reason for the Bush II team to hold their punches. Booooom there goes Taliban. And the American crowd, which so far was vary of Bush II administration, gave full kudos to them. All of sudden the Bush II team had all the reasons they wanted. They declared that Iran-North Korea-Iraq were Axis of evil thinking that the populace had now given them a solid backing to wage any war they wanted. And as long as the populace was kept in fear, they would back any administration. It worked like charm from 2001 to 2003. Each bomb dropped in Afghanistan and Iraq raised Bush II’s poll numbers and he peaked at 80s and 90s percentage.

Bush II’s administration and the republican dominated senate, with quite a few toe-the-line democrats, were passing policies like crazy : arrest any Muslim without a lawyer, introduce the Patriotic Act, create Homeland security department, change social security set-up, threaten Europe at will, encourage Christian right grass root movements to ensure rock solid support, override judges (as in Schavio’s case), let proven crooked republicans off the hook (Frist, Delay, Santorum etc.), support the eradication of evolution theory and replace it by a pseudo God-created-everything theory and on and on and on and on.

Iraq was central to all this plan. Iraq was to be the model democracy, nurtured by America, and with each election in America, the populace was to be reminded “See!?! See what we did there? Democrats could never do this.” But the problem, of course, is now WMDs, no Al Qaeda links and no democracy in Iraq. Moreover, a big section of the populace is beginning to see that the policies of Bush II are doing more harm than good. The same populace that Bush II took for a ride is now beginning to see the light.

Here is what has happened from 2001 to Aug. 2005 :-

2001 to 2003

  • American imperialism was touted as the best thing to have happened, and the crowd cheered.
  • Saddam Hussein was evil and had WMDs and had to be bought down, and the crowd cheered.
  • Al Qaeda and Iraq were responsible for 9/11 and should be bought down, and the crowd cheered.

2003 to 2004

  • When no weapons were found, Bush II says Iraq needed to be invaded because Saddam Hussein was evil and the crowds clapped politely.
  • Iraq needs a democracy (while it was sold in bits and pieces to American oil companies without so much as a say by the Iraqis) says Bush II and the crowd nodded politely.
  • We need to concentrate on the terrorists in Iraq so that they don’t come here to America, and the crowd nodded politely

2005

  • raq is now stable and has a constitution according to Bush II, and, now the crowd is scowling.
  • We need to concentrate on the terrorists in Iraq so that they don’t come here to America, and the crowd in London and Iraq begins to jeer.

Bush II stands with the second lowest poll numbers for a president, ever, at 44% (Nixon was lower at 42% when he was about to be impeached). Iraq was a boon the Bush II administration and now it looks like Iraq will be a big headache for this administration. Time will tell what happens to Iraq but the republicans need to be reminded what happens to a party when the populace is taken for a ride at the next election.

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