Mission Accomplished?

** FILE ** President Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, in this May 1, 2003 file photo. Democratic congressional leaders on Tuesday, May 1, 2007 sent Iraq legislation setting timetables for U.S. troop withdrawals to President George W. Bush and a certain veto.  On the fourth anniversary of the president's "Mission Accomplished" speech, Senate Majority Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that Bush "has put our troops in the middle of a civil war. A change of course is needed."  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

1. The preface references the forgotten stories of the Kurds in 1993. The Western media was relatively silent on the “young democracy formed within Iraqi Kurdistan”, and it went unrecognized by politicians. This suggests a global forgetfulness or perhaps a willed ignorance of the events in other nations, which either suggests that the reporters and institutions had either simply not found these events significant, or chose to ignore them for some broader, perhaps conspiratorial reason.

2. Segall writes that while teaching English and creating a program for new English teachers to be educated from amongst the Kurdish, “tensions over controlling the borders, especially the illicit oil trafficking, led to conflict between two Kurdish political groups”–perhaps conflict within the PKK? It appears that by being invested and embedded within the politics and day-to-day struggle of this nascent democracy, the author was able to gain a more nuanced perspective on “political voicing”.
(I read one question was “chosen” but wasn’t sure what that meant, I assumed it meant I made it up myself, so here it is)
3. How can literature be an important source of cultural development, especially as it regards democracy, in a war torn country which has lived under a different system (perhaps totalitarianism)?
Literature, unlike other sources of culture, is quite durable (as it is easily spread through an indiscrete and reproducible medium, books) and allows the voice of the author to come detached from the author’s personality and appearance. This is important because it allows the reader of the work to judge with an unbiased perspective the words that are being read. The grieving process and the development of the inner support of democracy and democratic feeling then comes as a natural outpouring of thoughts and logical conclusions about what is being read. This isn’t what always happens, which is why literature is versatile; it works on the emotional spectrum as well as the cerebral, presenting facts along side personal experience. It is so convincing precisely because it invites, rather than forces, thought.
I chose this image, of George W. Bush giving a speech to soldiers on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003. It became a sort of symbol afterwards of the lack of honesty the administration was showing towards its efforts in Iraq, and the mishandling of the war in general. I like this image especially because it seems to represent much about the administration through the placement of Bush in the photo’s settings. He stands confident, a picture of old American values and conservatism, with his head halo-ed by the steel battlements of American power, the “big stick”, among a crowd of passive Americans. Above is the ironic banner which is an excellent visual symbol for the self-congratulating, brash, and above all self-absorbed nature of our foreign policy at that time, and probably now.

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