I just read an op-ed in the New York Times (sorry, can't attach it) by Bob Herbert, in which he suggested that Americans should feel more responsibility and guilt for the war in Iraq, since America is the offending party. I usually like Herbert a lot, even though he is just a tad bit whiny, but he was way off the mark with this one.
I have no problem announcing that I feel absolutely no responsibility or guilt for the war in Iraq. There is no reason for me to feel responsible for a war which was started by a misguided coward that I didn't vote for and did not elect. If anyone should feel guilty, its the idiots who voted for Bush, Bush himself, and well as those who profit, directly or indirectly, from the war (and that last part takes care of the rest of the government). What I do feel is great sadness for the innocent Iraqi civilians (not the militants, to be clear), first and foremost: they did not elect Saddam, and therefore should not have to suffer invasion, occupation and crimes being committed against them in the name of deposing him and bringing Iraq to "democracy", which to the army apparently means the freedom to rape and murder a 14-year old Iraqi girl and kill her family. I feel immense pity for the soldiers who choose to go over there when they have no real idea what they are supporting, what they are fighting for or what they are doing and for the ones who "stress out" so much that they murder innocent people. I'm sorry that some of those soldiers had to come back from the war without limbs or otherwise injured so that they could realize the unnecessary danger Bush put them in. But guilt? Sorry, no.
I think the real tragedy is that not only is Iraq being destroyed, but that the government is slowly chipping away at all that which America is supposed to be made of. Responsibility for something that proves to be a mistake lies with the person who made that mistake and his enablers. Just because Americans are out in full force doing their holiday shopping, just like every year, does not mean they should be ashamed of themselves. On the contrary, for they are out there ensuring a wonderful holiday for themselves and their families. If anyone should have felt ashamed when they were shopping, it was definitely Condi, who was out buying Ferragamo shoes when the levees broke in New Orleans last year.
To improve on the government's lack of a sense of responsibility towards anything, Representative Charles Rangel has suggested that the draft be reinstated, so that government officials and the rich can be assured that their sons and daughters are in the same danger of being whisked off to war as the sons and daughters of those who are less financially fortunate. On first impact, the draft sounds like some awful and greedy policy, and there is always the possibility that, if the draft is reinstated, the rich will be able to buy themselves out of it anyway. But I can't deny that the draft definitely has an equalizing power to it, and I'm all for that.