Living up to ones responsibility is often a difficult task, even more difficult when the responsibility is shared. That’s because each person can point to another and say they should take care of it. Let’s look at some responsibilities each and every American shares. First let’s look at what we owe Iraqis. I know just the phrasing of that last sentence has put some hackles up, but we invaded Iraq as a preemptive move for our own protection. You may or may not agree with the assessment, but as a country that is what we did. As citizens we are responsible for this action, whether we supported it, protested against it, or didn’t even know about it. The reason is simple: it was done for you.
So, what exactly was done on our behalf? We dropped bombs, blew up structures, and injured and killed people. Infrastructure was damaged, both physical and organizational, which resulted in looting. So like it or not it we now have an obligation to fix this. This is not an action movie where at the end we can ignore the consequences of the damage incurred. We simply cannot shirk this responsibility. The damages are ones that we have to pay, just like any other debt. We need to make sure that it is worth it, and do this right. There may be options less expensive in the short run. But not building a prosperous Iraq will cost our children and grand children far more. This is not to say there could not have been a more effective way of dealing with Iraq, just that given what we have done the rebuilding is our responsibility.
I want to take a moment to point out that our own troops were killed and injured. We owe them our gratitude. And, we must be responsible to them and their families as well.
Another responsibility we all share is the national debt. The debt was borrowed on our behalf, as well as our parents’ and grandparents’. But it is now our debt. Each year we pay interest on this debt. Currently about 20% of our tax dollars goes to pay this interest. This means that the money we borrowed in the past effectively raised our current taxes by 20%. Any money we borrow today goes to raise our future taxes, and of course the taxes of our children. This debt is ours as much as the tax dollars are ours.
Responsibility is not easy, and often deferring it seems appealing. However shirking responsibility is only a temporary fix. In the end it just makes those future problems more difficult.
A Madman has spoken…