Yes, the US has placed sanctions over Iraq, and yes, I'm sure that it's worse than it would be without them. However, this doesn't make me feel bad about the sanctions. What it makes me feel is that we pulled out too early, that we should have pushed our way into the place until we had taken over, found Saddam Hussein and mounted his head on a flagpole outside his home, and installed a puppet government in its place with us in control, and then attempted to help the people, set up schools, distribute food and supplies, etc.
Face it, we didn't force Saddam Hussein to be a psychotic power hungry mother fucker, he chose that. To use a variation of someone else's story, if some punk comes up and steals my friend's car, and I'm big enough and strong enough to beat the crap out of him and return the car, and have the strength to then shun him and refuse to let him in my store, and tell my friends to do the same, I would. Should I feel guilty if he eats his little remaining food himself and lets his children starve? What I'd do in that case is report him to the cops and expect them to take him away in chains for child abuse. Why should a leader be any less responsible towards his people? The UN needs to grow some balls and start enforcing some order upon the world - put up or shut up. It's not the US's responsibility to go around conquering every two bit madman and bringing peace and democracy to the world. We've done more than most countries have towards those goals, and it's never going to be enough. The UN was formed to be a government above the rest, right? Let it start acting like one. Sometimes I'm tempted to say the US should take over half the world and run it ourselves. We may screw a lot of things up, but not nearly as much as some other countries do. But, then, we'd be denying them their freedom, even if it did mean they were fed and educated, and the US, more than anything, is about freedom. So that would be wrong. And no, I'm not being sarcastic. Consider it to be said more in a resigned tone of voice. I don't know what we can do directly. We're only one country, no matter how people treat us, and we only have so much influence.
Yes, I care very much about the fact that there are probably thousands of people dying around the world every day. It horrifies me. But there's not a whole lot I can do about it. The attack on the World Trade Center happened in the place I consider my home, the place I was born, and happened to people that I know. It hit me directly. I don't have the capacity to go around the world helping people. I'm not Mother Theresa, I can't selflessly devote my life to helping others. I do what I can, and I mourn for those I can. Maybe this is one of the few times any Americans have shown any pain, but the reason for that, frankly, is because we run our house a lot better than most. No, we're not perfect, but from having read what I've read about other countries, and from what I've seen with my own eyes (which has been admittedly limited) and from what I've heard from my friends in other countries, I'd never choose to live anywhere else.
Maybe I'm being an insensitive jerk by saying this, and maybe it means I'm a bad person, but you know what? I don't give a damn. There aren't enough hours in the day to mourn all of the dead and dying in the world, and there aren't enough hours in the day to help them all. Some days I feel like I can barely keep my own life moving forward, like I can barely keep up with what life throws directly at me. So excuse me if I try to live my life, and if I mourn for those I've lost, and if I don't stop to constantly mourn those who have been lost by others. I feel for them, but it's not my pain, and I have enough of my own to deal with.
I live my life as best as I know how, and I help as many people as I can, and I do believe that for the most part my fellow Americans do the same thing. Maybe we're spoiled, and maybe we're arrogant, but we've worked our asses off to get to this point.
So flame away, people. I'm sure you're dying to. Just remember... for all everyone talks about how we should feel for everyone dying around the world, can one of you, just one of you, say you'd honestly care about anyone else in the world if you held the dying, dusty body of a friend or loved one in your arms, if you saw their last breath escape their mouth as you watch, powerless, if you heard their screams and were helpless to save them? At that moment, no, I bet you wouldn't. We, as a collective people, did just that on that fateful Tuesday.