Thursday, January 20, 2005

insult to injury

return to sender ...

Several days ago I wrote an email to Sen. Feinstein, posted on this blog, in which I told her that I felt she should ask tough questions at Condoleeza Rice's confirmation hearings, rather than speak in favor of her nomination. Usually a staff member reads letters from constituents and responds accordingly, but Sen. Feinstein does not even bother to provide this basic service. Instead she uses a little Internet technology to generate form letters. I guess she's become so close to the Bush Administration that she's adopted their noblesse oblige attitude toward governing. You don't have to listen to your constituents when you're political royalty. The form letter let me know that she a) supports the Iraq war effort, and b) is still implying that they had WMD's!! Not a word of criticism for her friend Condi or Condi's boss for getting us in this mess, nor any ideas on how/why/why we should get out.

This began when I composed my letter and went to the Senator's website to post it. There, you are forced to select from a predefined menu of topics before submitting email. I picked "Iraq", which seemed to be the closest option. I assumed this meant that the email would be directed to the appropriate staffer. Instead, it created an auto-generated response. From it, I learned that Sen. Feinstein is not just bullish Condi, but on Iraq, too. Here's what it said:

(Continue reading on Permalink Page)

Thank you for writing me regarding the future of Iraq. I
appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Throughout the majority of Iraq, the regime of Saddam Hussein
has been defeated and removed from power. Despite our success in
freeing the Iraqi people, our military continues to encounter resistance
throughout the country and must maintain a presence until an interim
authority can be established to restore order and begin helping the Iraqi
people reconstitute their basic social services.

So, as the fighting stops and as the remnants of the regime are
removed, we must take the lead in rebuilding the Iraqi nation, in
stabilizing its new government, in providing interim security to prevent
the emergence of tribal hostilities and to see that Iraq is no longer a
producer of weapons of mass destruction. (emphasis mine)

I am hopeful that all Iraqis of every ethnic and faith group, large
and small, will be engaged in the process to establish a new Iraq. I
firmly believe that the U.S. should work closely with the United Nations
and our allies in the reconstruction of Iraq.

It is essential to demonstrate to Muslims everywhere that the
United States, while a powerful nation, is motivated by a sincere desire
to one day see the entire world safe, prosperous, and free.

Again, thank you for writing. I hope you will continue to keep
me informed of your views and concerns. If you should have any further
questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my Washington,
staff at (202) 224-3841.

Sincerely yours,

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

It's an evasive letter in some ways, but here's how I read it: we've kinda sorta mostly won, in parts of the country anyway, except that we haven't. So we need to keep fighting. We should work closely with the UN and our allies (ah yes, those allies - don't forget Samoa), but we have to be in charge of it all. That means the the UN will tell us to go Cheney ourselves, so we'll have to do everything on our own - include rebuild the basic social services that we destroyed. We have to make sure Iraq is "no longer a producer of weapons of mass destruction" - which, of course, it had ceased being before we invaded. She doesn't say otherwise. She just lets the implication hang there, the way the Bush people do, and lets the voters draw the obvious conclusion. Slippery and legalistic, but misleading, like Bush's own statements on the matter.

The war is ours, says Dianne, and we need to keep fighting. No, Dianne, we should turn it over to the UN and support their efforts to rebuild the nation.

Dianne disagrees. It's a matter of face. She says we have to show "Muslims everywhere" how much we care - apparently by continuing to kill them. We wanted to show this child how much we care, but unfortunately - according to the military, anyway - her parents ran a checkpoint ...

Sorry about your parents, kid. And that trauma of having their blood all over you. I know you'll live with that forever. But remember, it's because we care. Maybe when you're older Auntie Dianne will explain it all to you.

It's trivial by comparison for me to ask Auntie Dianne when she will explain to me how she expects me to "continue to keep her informed of (my) views and concerns" when no living human being reads her emails. Trivial, but not unimportant, if we want to practice that "democracy" we are so eager to export to this little girl and her fellow Muslims everywhere.