Sunday, March 23, 2003

In this morning's hate mail came the suggestion that I "go live in Iraq." I guess that somebody was offended by my posting of the Pope's anti-war comments yesterday. I realize that while I've posted several anti-war links, it has been a while since I've clearly articulated my position here. So, to recap...

1) I'm not a supporter of Saddam's. I agree that he's an evil dictator. I agree that his eventual displacement would be a good thing. What I disagree with is the idea that it is in our immediate interest to force that displacement.

2) The upholding of international law and conventions is a force that has prevented many wars in the last fifty years. (Yes, even with those that have been fought, more have been discouraged). World opinion does matter, and without the approval of the U.N., this war lacks legitimacy. We have shifted the world away from a standard of requiring international backing for war, to a standard of anybody can initiate any first strike that they believe is in their personal interest.

This is already biting us in the ass as Turkey makes offensive moves against the Iraqi Kurds against our wishes. Why? Because they see it as a preventive move to keep their own Kurdish population from demanding independence. We'll soon be caught in battle between these two "allies" of ours to keep the war from devolving into total anarchy. Israel, too, has announced their intentions to retaliate should Iraq launch any scud attacks into their territory, as happened 12 years ago. Last time, when international law and coalitions were the norm, Israel understood the larger interest in keeping them out of the war. In the new world lack-of-order, thanks to W, it's every country for themselves.

3) Yes, I'm sure we can crush the Iraqi army in a relatively short time. Which, of course, shows that they never posed any real threat to us, but that's another point. What terrifies me is how many decades are we going to be stuck in Iraq to keep some sort of peace after the war? Does anybody really believe that the Iraqi's can hold free and open elections just a few months after the war ends and come up with a leader they can all rally behind (and will be friendly to US interests)?

As pointed out in point 2, the Kurds are already rumbling about autonomy and their own state. Other groups within what we call "Iraq" will also demand independence as their payback for "helping the US overthrow Saddam." Think the rivalry of warlords in Afghanistan led to democracy? Think the break-up of the former Yugoslavia was pretty? Wait till you see what happens here. To keep a peaceful single unit (which is in our interest in terms of control), the most likely bet is an Islamic fundamentalist take-over (see next door to Iran to see how well that works with American interests). The best possible scenario is to install a dictator who is on the CIA payroll. Not so good for the Iraqi's, but at least there'll be some stability. Just don't kid yourself that this has anything to do with "bringing democracy to the Middle-East."

4) There was never any convincing tie between Saddam's Iraq and Osama Bin Laden. Powell tried to sell the flimsiest of links to the UN, and failed. We have never been a country to deliberately, publicly, and proudly, make a first strike in a war. That point has given us a certain moral high ground to stand upon, even while we've set up situations that forced others to make first strikes. "Preventive war" is a new doctrine for us, and a dangerous one that places ourselves closer to the terrorists we claim to be fighting than the peacekeepers we claim to be.

We could not get UN support, because we have no clear justification to make an offensive move against Iraq at this time. And don't give me the crap about our just enforcing the orders for Saddam to disarm. First of all, we haven't proven that they have weapons of mass destruction. Second of all, any armistice that tries to disarm a nation permanently is doomed to fail. At some point any sovereign leader has to push the limits of that armistice. A sovereign nation has a right to prepare for its own defense. Sorry, but that's just the way it works.

5) Eighteen months ago, following 9/11, we were in our strongest position in the world community we could ever hope for. Any nation who was ever going to be on our side, was on our side. That's power. We could have accomplished much to bring about world peace from that position. Yes, world opinion matters and it gives one strength. W's "leadership" has squandered that position, and turned allies into enemies. Rather than protect the American public and our interests globally, this has made the world a much more dangerous place for us. This first strike action, against the wishes of the UN, is the greatest recruiting tool Osama bin Laden could have hoped for. We have proven his point.

We are creating terrorists with this one-sided, "we don't care what you think" policy. We will be paying the price for W's stupidity for the next 25 years. Rather than lead the world against terror, we've destroyed coalitions, made enemies, isolated ourselves, hurt our business interests, and encouraged similar cowboy behavior in other nations.

6) I am a patriotic, Constitution-loving American. I love that I have the right to question the leadership skills of our president. That's something worth fighting for. Replacing one evil dictator in Iraq with another (or worse), is not worth our blood.

I could go on with more points, but you get the idea. Wrong war. Wrong time. I will not take the reader up on the suggestion that I "go live in Iraq." I will continue to speak out against unjust wars because I love this country, and believe in the essential goodness of our people - despite temporary lapses in reason and leadership.

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