Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Critical Comparison of Two US Editorials on the Iraq War

The editorials of the Washington Post and the Boston Herald both gave their own analyses on the state of the war in Iraq and how the Bush administration is crafting a new Iraqi policy, as the United States enters its fifth year of occupation in Iraq. This paper aims to compare and contrast both editorials and answer whether geographical location is a decisive factor in the determining the content of the editorials.

The Washington Post editorial gave a balanced analysis of the past few years of American occupation in Iraq. While it criticized much the way the plans for reconstruction were executed, it still held optimistic views on how the United States can get out of the current impasse and struggle forth against growing international criticism for the war. Aside from this it as great that the editorial recognized not simply the failures of the American troops but also the marked contradictions between the Americans and the Iraqi people even prior to the invasion as it said that the United States is still paying the price for its betrayal of Shiites and Kurds during the Persian Gulf War against Iran, where the United States tacitly colluded with Saddam in the bloody war against the Islamists of Iran. More so, there is also a critical analysis that the failure of diplomacy is never a sufficient argument to start a war. It can be remembered that the March 2003 invasion seemed like a knee-jerk reaction to the failure of negotiations between Iraq and the international community. Yet, the United States government, despite international condemnation through the United Nations insisted on going ahead with the invasion. As a result, it proved very difficult for the United States to rally international support due to its strident attempt at unilateralism instead of consolidating and convincing the world on the legitimacy of the war. The discourse on the failure of second-guessing the Iraqi people is relevant as well because the violence of the past few years have shown that the forced transplantation of Western-style democracy in a country rife with tribal and clannish wars can never be feasible despite international support and American resources at all fronts. It perhaps seemed clear now how impossible it was to institute a democratic government in the context of the creation and reproduction of regional warlords with religious undertones. More so, the editorial also scathingly reviews the grand deception of the Bush administration when it presented its case to Congress and to the world, as up to now not a single weapon of mass destruction has been found. For all of these faults by the Bush administration, the editorial does not stand simply to oppose the war and demand the pullout of troops, as it recognizes how responsible the United States is for the current surge of violence in Iraq that it cannot simply turn its back and leave. It understands that calling for a US troop pullout per se will never solve the woes of the Iraqi people nor lessen US accountability. As such, it supports all the efforts by different interest groups from all sectors and sides of the political spectrum to continue securing Iraq while gradually diminishing US troops in Iraq.

On the other hand, the Boston Herald was as critical of the four years that passed by highlighting the depressing socio-economic and political situation in Iraq at present. There has been no end in Iraqi immigration to other territories with 9,000 people leaving every month, notwithstanding the surge of criminal activity in the cities which has already blurred the lines of sectarian violence and the continuing insurgency against US occupation. More so, the Iraqi economy has been long in shambles with hyperinflation up to fifty percent, unemployment reaching sixty percent and full electricity not reaching Iraqi homes even in the cities. All of these factors occur at preset despite the Bush administration’s relentless assurances that the profits of oil and energy resources will be shared by every Iraqi. As to how it will ever be done despite the continued bombings and killings of Iraqis and Americans, it is yet to be seen.

In all of these, the Boston Herald stands on the same footing as the Washington Post in terms of its criticism of the four-year American occupation of Iraq. Both understand the necessity of leaving Iraq soon without compromising its commitment to the Iraqi people to enforce greater security and establish a working legitimate government recognized Iraqi people. The only difference between the two editorials is their articulation and description of the depressing situation in Iraq at present and how to best make the most out of the situation without the United States losing face in front of the Iraqi people, the international community and the American public. Nonetheless, the editorials from the Washington Post and the Boston Herald provide the American public continuing wake-up calls to reconsider our true role in the building of democracy in Iraq. Such critical commentaries are essential to balance the smoke and mirrors propaganda by the US government in covering up much of the destruction and deaths in Iraq. While the two editorials came from different parts of the United States, geographic location did not preclude the newspapers from critically writing the way they did as it only proves that the overwhelming opposition and discontent of the American people is now country-wide, with the exception of course of solid conservative circles in many parts of the country still.

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