Saturday, November 03, 2007

Iraq Provides Lessons on Local Control

In yet another step forward this week in Iraq, Karbala became the 8th province to be turned over from Coalition to full Iraqi authority.

It is now well documented that reconciliation has been taking place between Iraqi’s at local and provincial levels. Cooperation between different sects and religions is occurring in several areas of the country.

Local people and their leaders have been finding ways to bring about stability and peace to more and more neighborhoods, eventually into whole villages and towns.

Many Iraqi’s have rejected the radical form of Islam that Al Qaeda is so desperately trying to import. Their brutality has finally brought many of the Iraqi people together, standing in opposition to the tyranny terrorists have tried to impose.

At the provincial levels, local governments have found ways to function. They’ve allocated assets and put them to use for necessary public works projects and economic stimulation.

At local levels, and sometimes even at the provincial level, the Iraqi people have begun to shake off a generation of oppression. It can not go without notice that the present day Iraqi has lived under dictatorship and brutality for the majority of their lives. Yet they understand and are making strides toward the freedom of self-rule.

They are doing this as individuals. They are growing in the knowledge of liberty at the personal and local levels. They are beginning to exhibit the actions of free people.

They do all this despite their national government struggling to find its identity and its way.

While personal freedom, local, and provincial governments grow, the influence the Iraqi national government has on their lives grows proportionally smaller and smaller.

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?

Interestingly, some Americans view the weakness of the Iraqi national government as a “failure” for their country. They project their own ideas for a powerful federal government upon the Iraq situation, neglecting the progress of local governments.

Is it any wonder that as our federal government continues to grow in size, scope, influence, and power, that some Americans would become incapable of seeing growth in personal liberty and local governments in the newly emerging democracy of Iraq?

Has what is happening in Iraq become an example of what our country was? Personal freedom and governance pushed down to the lowest levels with as much power going to individuals, state and local governments as possible, while the power and scope of a federal government remains limited.

Some of the same individuals who have called for partitioning, with the intent being more provincial autonomy and local control, as a resolution to the conflict in Iraq are among the same group which has been trying to consolidate more and more power in our own federal government.

There is constantly a push toward higher taxes which controls income and forces dependence upon the government.

One can look toward the growth in regulations from the EPA, FDA, USDA, Department of Education, and other government agencies to see the increase in government telling us how we may or may not live.

The constant assault on our Second Amendment, the very thing that guards us against a tyrannical government, allows consolidation of power within government.

Iron grip control of retirement funds through a failing Social Security program is another way our federal government has outgrown its purpose.

Recent attempts toward nationalized healthcare through the SCHIP program attempt to control yet another facet of our lives. As with Social Security, the attempted growth in SCHIP is another move from a well-intentioned program for those in need to a government controlling the future of individuals.

Federal judges who legislate from the bench rather than letting the people’s body decide how they ought to be governed shifts power away from the people.

Lists could be made of areas where state’s rights have been infringed upon and the many times national leaders have called “foul” when a state attempted to assert the authority granted to it by the Constitution.

While Iraq moves slowly toward self-governance, local control, and growth in individual freedom, our country moves away from those very same things upon which we were established.

We will long remember the war in Iraq for the militarily hard lessons learned there.

We should also take care to remember the lessons of people establishing personal liberty along with functionality and power of government at levels below the national. Those lessons, along with the history of our own nation, may be useful should the day come when we decide to move back away from such an overgrown federal government.

How Much Will We Tolerate From Iran?

How loud would the outrage and the call for action be against Iran had they attacked an American base in the Middle East and killed several hundred of our troops?

Would the American public tolerate Iran attacking one of our ships in the Persian Gulf, killing several hundred sailors?

What if an Iranian sponsored terrorist group made an attack in the U.S. and killed hundreds of Americans?

In reality, Iran is already responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American troops in Iraq over the course of the last year.

Explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) imported from Iran have been deadly to our troops. These copper-disked roadside bombs have been linked to Iran time and again.

Each week Multi-National Forces Iraq reports on disrupted and destroyed terrorist cells that had direct ties to Iran. These cells are often implicated in moving fighters in and out of Iraq and Iran. They receive military training in Iran and are then sent back into Iraq to kill Americans.

There are others with training and financial ties to Iran, often lumped into a group identified as “Special Groups.” These groups include everything from kidnapping cells to the EFP and terrorist trafficking cells noted above.

Several members of Iran’s Quds force have been caught in Iraq. The Quds force is that specialized branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard responsible for special operations and covert actions. Roles of the Quds force include stirring up anti-American sentiment, training insurgents and terrorists, and leading subversive attacks against our forces in Iraq.

Shiite militias with close ties to Iran have been warring with those loyal to a stable Iraq in southern parts of the country.

British SAS troops have been fighting Iranians trying to smuggle people and weapons into Iraq.

There is overwhelming evidence of Iran’s detrimental influence in Iraq and their complicity in the deaths of our troops.

However, these questions and facts about Iran’s involvement and their direct ties to the deaths of our troops are not offered as an endorsement for war with Iran. They are offered as a way to question why the piecemeal loss of our troops has not steeled Americans for action against Iran.

I dread the thought of yet another public front on the war against terrorists opening. Unfortunately that front is already opening, and Iran is, without doubt, heavily involved in terrorist activities which have killed Americans.

But America is not ready for war with Iran.

Fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to other world-wide commitments has shown that our military is too small to take on much more without an expansion or a mentality where our troops leave to fight for years at a time. The American public is not ready for that.

There is far too much dovish sentiment in Washington D.C. and the rest of the country for an expanded conflict with Iran. That dovish sentiment has been reborn with the distance of time since 9/11. Too many have forgotten the true threat and intent of Islamofascists, even of the Iranian Shiite variety.

Nor should anyone seek war. The analogy has been made that the enemy are the “wolves,” Americans are “sheep,” and our military the “sheep dogs.” Well, war is tough on the sheep dogs. Those who have experienced war should never want it revisited on their brothers and sisters in arms if other options still exist.

Sadly, Iran is likely to push us and others to war, and sadly, America’s warrior class and their families will shoulder the burden alone, again, because all Americans are not willing to sacrifice for their defense.

Although we don’t want it, some are ready for war with Iran if pushed to it. The deaths of Americans at the hands of the Iranians have already steeled their resolve.

But America is not ready for war with Iran.

Which leads us back to the original questions: would we be thinking differently about fighting Iran had they killed the same number of Americans at one time? Would we be ready then?

Hundreds of our troops have died individually, but their deaths have not carried the same weight had they all died during one large attack, or were it civilians who had been killed.

Why the difference in value upon their lives, and the likely difference in outrage by Americans?