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To surge or not to surge

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A successful outcome in Iraq requires that the American people make a choice: Choose between two definitions of success, which is to say, two mutually exclusive definitions:
  1. Success means that the US will, directly or indirectly, control the flow of oil out of Iraq, or...

  2. Success means that the US will inspire a legitimate Democracy in Iraq and move closer to peace and security in the world?

Currently, the United States is pursuing a strategy aimed at achieving success under the first definition while telling the world it is most interested in achieving the second. Only people living in the United States believe what their government is telling them. None of the talking heads in government or in the media are addressing the central issue: can you build, keep, and/or inspire democracy in a first world country, a third world country, or in any country, by lying to and cheating its people, or by undermining their Constitution and the rule of law? I believe the answer is, No. But this question is still not part of our national dialog even though there is overwhelming evidence that the American people, and a great many others have been egregiously lied to and cheated. Overwhelming as the evidence is, I believe that most Americans are still unaware of the incredible dimensions of the deceit and crimes that have been committed in their name--deceit, I might add, that did not begin with this administration. It is entirely possible that Bush believes one day he will be considered a hero for what he has attempted to do. One can understand how a person can come to believe that being in control of dwindling natural resources is more important than peace or honor, or even freedom and justice.... particularly if that person believes that the wealth and security derived from those resources will accrue personally to himself and/or to members of his own identity group, to insulate them from the trials and tribulations that will befall so many others-others being the people here and around the world who are outside of his group-people who are or will be forced to live in want, insecurity, ignorance, and humiliation. When you are not striving to build a society that seeks freedom and justice for all, you are experiencing a state of consciousness that is willing to accept something less: a society where freedom and justice for some, is good enough. While in that state, you are working for yourself at the expense of others. You are competing for your own security while insuring that there will always be a limited and ever dwindling supply for everyone else. We all know by personal observation, that the more you have, the easier it is to accumulate even more. And so, with that mindset you will never have enough as you try to remove yourself farther and farther from how "the other half" lives. This is a consciousness that is afraid to even try to make the beautiful dream come true... even when there's substantial evidence that everyone could be part of that dream... even when the only thing keeping us from the dream is our own unwillingness to try. So the choice is not just a national choice but a critical personal choice: are you going to strive to build a society that seeks justice and freedom for all, where no one is left out; or are you going to strive for your own success and the success of your own group, however you might define it... and leave everyone else to fend for themselves and feed off the remaining scraps? I believe that capitalism, without universal human rights incorporated into and honorably enforced by the rule of law, is in the process of producing a tyranny no less degrading and humiliating than any other economic system where a significant number of participants seek wealth and privilege for themselves, but not freedom and justice for all. That is a system where the fear of being the object of that tyranny, will stalk you every day of your life... no matter who you are... as it does you, even now. How do I know that it does? Because we are all members of one family; we are all inexorably connected; and at some level we feel each other's pain. None of us will ever feel wholly at peace and complete until everyone in our family is safe and free. To make an intelligent choice, we need to understand what it means to strive to build a society that seeks freedom and justice for all, with no one left out? Since we seem to have forgotten, it's a topic now worthy of discussion and debate.
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Mark A. Goldman is an author, financial planner and was a candidate for president of the United States in 2008 and 2012. His new book called "Starting Over" is available for download free as a pdf file at this address: (more...)
 

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